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This Star Wars-inspired display shows volumetric objects in 3D space

Arduino TeamJune 19th, 2023

A little over a year ago, Maker Mac70 set out to build an inexpensive DIY version of a volumetric display — a system which enables users to view objects in 3D, without the need for special glasses or extremely fancy components. But unlike in the Star Wars series, this system relies on a projector that can refresh hundreds of times per second, a moving projection screen (swept volume) to show the image, and some way to synchronize everything, as the ultimate goal was a 3D persistence of vision presentation.

After modifying a standard DLP projector to output faster, monochrome images by moving the internal color wheel, Mac70 introduced an LCD shutter which either allows or blocks light in less than 1ms and could be used to precisely select the subframes being projected. Because a solenoid or motor would be too slow to move the swept volume back and forth, a pair of old speakers were repurposed, and when combined with an Arduino Mega 2560, were able to move in sync with the projector once calibrated.

The last steps involved creating a Slicer utility for transforming 3D models into 2D images, using a LattePanda single-board computer to drive the projector, and making an elegant Star Wars-themed case to house all of the components. For more details about this years-long project, you can read Mac70’s excellent write-up here on or watch the videos below!