How We Put Laser Graffiti on the Most Famous Building In The World

1 month ago PUBLIC WIKI 0


How We Put Laser Graffiti on the Most Famous Building In The World


Take one part self-controlled drone, one part high intensity pen laser, some expansion foam, one part high speed micro-motor with a mirror mounted on one end, an Arduino mini-computer PC board, five parts of Banksy, a hundred parts of moxie and a little math, and you just painted the words:


On the most famous building in the world.

Nobody could stop you from spray painting, with light, in front of the whole world, and the network news cameras. You made your point in one of the most epic ways possible. Your text graphic switched from your statement, to the URL of your website where you reveal all of the crookedness.

Here is how it worked:

You had multiple drones that you purchased, with cash, off of Craigslist. You selected ones that could carry the most weight. You are never going to see them again, after your project so you bought the biggest, cheapest ones you could find.

You bought an easy to program mini Arduino computer-on-a-board, at the Maker Faire. It comes with detailed online instructions. There are also tons of YouTube videos about how to set it up.

You got a bright green laser that looks like a fountain pen. It’s spot of emerald green light can be seen for miles.

Your little server motor, that the Arduino computer operates, is humming like an angry bee as it moves its spindle arm back and forth so fast that you cannot see it moving. You bought some little front surface mirrors and mechanically mounted them to the spindle via slots in the spindle that you cut. This is your light pen scanner.

In the old days of laser shows, the laser machine used brainwave scanners, these were little electric motors that came with a mirror already mounted on one end. They were fast and durable and acted as the hand of the digital laser paintbrush. Brain wave scanners are large, heavy and expensive, though. Now, you can do better just building it yourself.

You took some high resolution aerial shots, from Google maps, of the exact location of your “canvas” building. These are so detailed that you can measure the route, from miles away, via the exact known lengths of each street, down to the inch. You don’t need GPS, or cell phone tower triangulation, although you could use those. ‘THE CROOK” might use his big bucks to have those cut off, in the area of your art performance. Use ground measurement. It is easier and more dependable.

You drive out to a field, at night and aim your rig, per its final display point. Then you spray 2 part expansion foam, from Home Depot, over everything but the mirror head and the laser opening. You now have every locked in place in a low weight, durable little package.

You can fit 6 drones, with their packages in your Volkswagen. You gave them all fresh batteries. You drove to the corner, 2 miles away that you measured from. You hold each drone, one after the other, in the dark, above the exact center of the fire hydrant that you took your measurements from. Up each one goes, and off the head on their little artistic mission.

You do not have a remote control box. You don’t need one. You told the drones which path to follow, and how high to fly. They arrive at the “Canvas”, at the same time, each one adjusted for height and with a 10 feet separation programmed into each drone, to put multiple messages on the façade of the building.

As soon as the last drone left your hand, you hopped in your Volkswagen, and drove the two miles to check out your handy work. There was no need for you to stand around and meticulously guide all of the drones with a little radio control geek panel. This is self-guided art.

As you arrive at the site, you park a few blocks away and walk in. The crowd is rapidly growing, thanks to your mysterious announcement Tweets. CNN is setting up at one corner, the cover photographer for WIRED magazine is rapidly clicking off photos. A stringer for Drudge Report is drooling with excitement and typing the story into her WIFI notebook Mac.


p class=”MsoNormal”>Any geek that goes online, to most websites that start with “Maker” or “DIY” or “Do It Yourself”, can see how to do this. All you need is a soldering iron and some basic nerdiness. Most of all, though, you need some audaciousness!