Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How the wall got it's stripes

Baby is coming. I have known this for some time, but only now have I really started to do anything about it. I decided baby needed a room with a fresh coat of paint and some pretty pictures.

I decided on painting zebras. My instinct was to go for sled dogs, but that would just be about me, zebras seemed more neutral. All of a sudden I became very ambitious and wanted a photographic-looking, Banksy-like effect. So I needed to build an opaque projector, a gadget that projects pictures from a non-transparent source.

I found some old instructions on how to build an opaque projector. The people who wrote that booklet really meant business.

Fortunately, I had a lens I could cannibalize (temporarily) from my old slide projector (below):

Then it was mostly a matter of cutting cardboard into two boxes, one slightly smaller than the other. Necessary equipment below:

Most opaque projectors use mirrors, otherwise your image gets flipped horizontally. I solved that by just printing out the picture I wanted projected the wrong way around.

I didn't need to make a super fancy projector, I thought. I just needed it for this one project. (And, typically, I didn't have time to take a picture on film and wait two weeks for processing so I could just use the slide projector.) Sliding the two boxes in and out adjusts the focus. A print of the picture I wanted on the wall was pasted upside down inside the rear box.

I added some battery-powered LED-lights into the box to see if I could make it work, theoretically, up at my off-grid cabin. And it does work, but it creates a very, very small image, just three or four inches across.

I added as much light as I could (below):

But in the end, I simply couldn't add enough light for the image to be projected intelligibly on the wall six feet away. If I had done this properly, and in wood, I might have been able to cram enough fixtures into into it. Also, the slanted mirror found in most conventional opaque projectors might help in directing the light towards the lens.

Invariably, people write mostly about projects that went really well. Maybe this will be my niche: documenting projects that don't pan out the way I hoped.

I ended up using a digital projector instead (sigh), but here's Big Zebra:

And Baby Zebra:

Speaking of African animals, take a look at Siissisoq:

"The lyrics are sung in Greenlandic and deal mainly with African animals."

If that's not a good idea for a rock band, I don't know what is.


Steven Cain said...

What can't you do? That is so cool... Best of all, I learned something new!

I could use you and Old Fool over here, helping me build this shingle machine!

Love the Zebras... sure the little one will too.

Animal Metal... hmmm. 'Jungle Book' on steroids.

Northmark said...

What a dream team. I can't speak for you or Oldfool, but I can almost guarantee that I would be spending a lot of time looking for my tools.

Anonymous said...

That's a great project. In a way it's more encouraging to hear about things that didn't go to plan: this way I don't feel quite so bad about my own less than successful attempts. Finding tools seems to occupy most of my time as well...

The Zebras are beautiful too. And a great change from the ugly cartoon characters most people have in their kid's rooms.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Wow ... you are Good!!!

...made the machine... I'm blown away.. and did the painting.. I hope you feel great.. you deserve it!!!

Sara Outdoors said...

I'm back on blogger! Had to check out your recent posts today! So cool! I want to do that!

Sara Outdoors said...

I'm back on blogger! Had to check out your recent posts today! So cool! I want to do that!

Steven Cain said...

Haven't heard from you in a while...miss your posts and wanted to wish you a merry Christmas. Has that baby come yet?



Spokes... said...

I miss your posts...I hope all is well with you.

Anonymous said...

We haven't had post from you in a long time. How goes things? Hope all is well!