DIY Friday: Create Your Own Stroboscope!

PBS has had some good new programming recently, and among our favorites is Wired Science — whom we turn to for today’s DIY adventure:

The invention of the stroboscope is frequently attributed to Doc Edgerton, but in fact stroboscopes go back to 1832: 

The term "stroboscope" comes from Greek for "whirling watcher".  The "whirling watcher" was simply a disk with slots at regular intervals.  As an observer looked at moving subject through the slots in the spinning disk, he could see successive stages of the subject’s motion.

When Edgerton began his electrical engineering studies at MIT in 1926, his research was focused on the stability of synchronous motors, observing the changes in angular displacement of the rotors as a result of disturbances to the system.  As the story goes, Edgerton noticed that flashes from the mercury arc lamps he was using made the rotor visible without blur.  This gave him the idea to build an electronic stroboscope which could be used to visually observe the changes in the motors angular displacement.

Bre’s instructions on how to build your own stroboscope can save you some serious dough, as professional stroboscopes can get quite expensive.

But when taking macro, still life shots, a stroboscope, whether hand-built or store-bought, is best used in conjunction with a macro studio.

Thankfully, the Strobist offers some tips on creating your very own DIY photography studio for about 49 cents:

 This is one of the most useful DIY gadgets you could make – especially when you consider the single-digit price tag.

What can you use it for? That’s pretty much up to you, and will be limited only by the size of the box you use. Shots of small objects in the studio, on location, items you are selling on eBay, flowers (even still in-the-ground-and-growing ones,) Absolute Vodka bottles for $50,000 ad campaigns, catalog stuff – whatever.

This little thingie does it all in spades – and with a lot of control, too.

Get clicking! 


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