In theatrical lighting, a gobo is a thin metal, plastic, or glass template that blocks light, allowing a pattern or image through. Like a slide in an old slide projector.
The issue is heat, which is usually too much for straight-up plastic.
Classic gobo’s are cut out of quite thin steel or other metal. Newer ones are cut onto glass. I’ve heard of acrylic being used with LED spots, but not sure if it’s a special type of plastic.
What materials could the GF cut that could be used as Gobos? I’ve heard how bad aluminum is, so aluminum foil’s out? Metal HVAC Tape? Really thin steel? Could it etch away a paint coating, but leave a clean surface below? Is there a cuttable acrylic that can handle high(er) temps?
Mylar melts at 260C, we’ll below temp of the gate location where gobos are placed for best focus. IIRC, Gels are placed outside the lamp after all the optics and are thus not subjected to as much heat.
Of course, for non LED bulbs, that’s still a ton of heat at 700-1100 watts a bulb(I think that’s the range I worked with). Even if the gels don’t melt/ignite over time, they can burn off the coloring and thusly are still damaged.
As an ex-“squint” I will note that even the steel gobos we used to use eventually warped and oxidized under the heat. It is seriously hot in the focal range of the gobo. I can’t think of plastics other than PTFE that could even come close to that heat. I am betting that even PEEK would sustain damage there. I mean steel has a very, very high melting point and given the amount of warping, plastic will never sustain that.
So I’m working with 60W LED Spots. They don’t make nearly the heat of incandescent lamps. It’s the only reason I’m considering DIY gobos like this.
But apparently 60W of LED is still way too much for transparency film - it warped after only a few seconds at full brightness. Looked GREAT for a few seconds though. Wikipedia puts Polyethylene melting at 120 to 180 °C.
I don’t have a clue what sort of temps are reached in there, but I sincerely doubt it gets >250C. There’s no heat dissipation other than a fan in back, and it’s in a really tight space with rotation gears around it.
So I’m trying to find something cuttable that can handle some, but not unreasonable heat. Maybe 200C?
Update, I spoke to a tech at Chauvet, and while he couldn’t find any tech specs on it, his best guess was 200-210C. So maybe mylar? Now where to source some reasonably rigid mylar…
Or is there something else that might work at those temps?