Holocraft is a 64-bit Windows application that enables the creation of specular holograms from 3D geometry by algorithmically choosing points across a model's surface to be depicted as glints of light reflected by groove "optics". The holographic effect that results is similar to that of "scratch holograms" which instead use circular arc grooves that result in a hologram which becomes distorted outside of a very narrow viewing angle. Specular holograms remedy this issue and produce a much more convincing holographic effect than scratch holograms can.
Holocraft outputs simple Mach3 compatible G-code and SVG vector paths for a hologram's reflective groove optics, and accepts 3D model formats such as binary Stereolithography/STL and ASCII Wavefront/OBJ model files. Generating a hologram is computationally intensive and models should not have excessive numbers of vertices and triangles.
Here are some older videos of holograms created using Holocraft:
Here are holograms that have been created by Matthew Brand which comprise the Light Grooves art installation at the Museum of Math in New York. These were not made using Holocraft and are only shown to further demonstrate the concept and effect produced by specular holograms:
Holocraft is an ALPHA version that's sold AS-IS. It is used for carefully crafting a specular hologram from 3D model geometry and does not automagically "convert" a model into a hologram. It is a tool for artists who are willing to take the time to figure out what makes a good hologram, through trial-and-error, with the software itself and the means and materials they are working with. It is not for the faint of heart!
To fabricate a hologram its optics are scored at high feed rates using a 3-axis CNC machine with a tool that has a very finely rounded point (e.g. radius < 0.005" or 0.125mm) onto metals and plastics. A finer tool will allow for holograms with more densely packed optics. No spindle is required, the tool is simply dragged across the surface. Diamond-drag bits may not work as well for producing a reflective groove due to their lack of roundness unless their tip angle suits the intended illumination angle for the hologram (see the included readme.txt for calculating tool tip angle for a given illumination angle). Holocraft allows for an illumination altitude angle of +90 to +30 degrees above the direction that the hologram is facing, with +90 degrees representing a light shining down onto the hologram from directly above - which produces the optimal holographic effect. Aluminum plates (1100 and 3000 series alloys) yield optimal reflectivity after a bit of polishing over the hologram surface to bring out a brighter shine from the optics.
Excessive optic density will muddle the holographic image so it's important to find the balance between many and few numbers of optics for your machine, tools, and hologram's material. Illuminating a hologram is best with a point-light source that's placed far enough from the hologram so that the incidence angle of the light is nearly uniform across the hologram's surface. The ideal light source is an infinite distance away to ensure that light rays are parallel across the hologram surface. A ceiling light can work well provided it is far enough (~10 feet / 3 meters) from the hologram and there are no other brighter light sources to cause other glints.
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