My girlfriend and I are fans of photo booths and try to get photos taken whenever we see one. There’s something about the experience that brings out joy and nostalgia. Getting into more electronics projects and researching into some of my own devices we decided to look into how they’re made.
I’m still amazed at how simple the core peices are, but it gets more complicated the better the usability gets. We wanted a smooth usability with a cool housing to keep everything in. The idea of a tiki mask popped up and we decided to run with it.
Rough sketches led to many places for the core pieces. Camera hole, User response window, start button, lights, etc. The mouth was the largest area to hold the response window. A nose ring and chin piercing made for good spots for the camera hole and start button. We did think of putting photo-flash lights in the eyes, but decided to keep it "1.0" for this first tiki photo booth.
The tiki booth mask needed a good solid structure, so we decided to use 2 large panels of pine wood and hand carve it. There were a few minor adjustments to the design when scaling the drawings larger. Mainly to read better or fit/fill the space more.
The final drawing was then transfered to the large boards before carving.
2 pine boards were used, but ended up with 3 layers to get more definition in the nose.
The carving out of the form was initially a "need to do" step. After doing some test areas and getting a bit of the backing texture pulled out I realized just how much I enjoyed wood carving.
I’ve since dived in really deep into woodworking, but that just means there will be many more projects blended with woodworking.
The hardware/software components took a few iterations to get how we wanted, but was really fun to work out.
I decided to use a PICF690 as the main brain to control the separate functions. One chip to control them all.
The PIC16F690 handles status checks, data transfer to control the lightshow running on a PIC16F777 which sequence to play, debouncing checks for the main button, telling the rPi when to take the photo and start processing, etc.
A Raspberry Pi Zero was used for photo processing and handling the printer. Since everything was created custom to fit a need, we decided to have it optional to run on battery power to be carried around. Only 1 battery set was needed, but fluctuations on the PICs and photo processing made it simplier to separate the source power.
A box and back pack straps were added to be able to travel around with it. We wanted it to be a standard photo booth, but also be able to do more and look cool. It can function as a stand-alone photo booth without an attendant, mobile photo booth to roam around with, and ease of carrying. All while also being a fun hand-carved tiki mask.
Custom printed circuit boards and better sourced wood will be key focus points for the next iteration. I also want to design more dimension and depth in the face. Using a tablet or monitor with touch options instead of a simple mirror would have better usability too.