Cut Music Rolls With Laser Beam
by Paul Ward, in 991228 MMDigest

In MMD 991223 Tom Meijer said, "What do you think of a punching machine
that operates not with metal chisels, but that can burn the holes with
a laser into the cardboard!"

I have had an idea boiling around in my head for a while.  Laser
perforation for music rolls.  I think that this can be a reality.
The reason I am sharing this idea with the rest of the list is because
I have other priorities (three of them call me Daddy) that require my
time and maybe someone can take this idea and run with it.

Let me see if I can describe this idea clearly.  Using the following:

  An X/Y table
  A computer
  A light pen
  A low power laser (5 watt)
  A computer

The X/Y table is a computer-controlled table that uses stepper motors
to advance the table.  I believe this may only need to be an X table.
A mechanism moves the music roll (source) to the table.  Mounted
vertically on the table is a light pen that recognizes either white
or black, similar to a bar code pen used in market checkout lines.)


A computer advances the light pen across the paper using small steps.
At each step the light pen is queried for status (either white or
black).  If black (a hole), the computer fires a laser beam to a prism
also located on the opposite side of the X/Y table and creates a hole
in the (target) paper.  The steps are repeated until the end of a read
line and then the paper is advanced using stepper motors until the end
of the roll.  In this manner the original roll is duplicated with
extreme precision.

The nice thing about this concept is that it doesn't care how many
keys your tracker bar has.  It should be able to "copy" Wurlitzer 105
rolls to whatever.  The down side is that if you have a mediocre roll,
it will give you the same result on the target roll.

Conceptually, this should work.  I have priced out much of the
equipment and it is available today for about $5,000 plus patience.
Anyone game for the challenge?

Paul Ward
Tue, 28 Dec 1999 12:12:52 -0500

28 December 1999