Introduction: 10" X 10" LED Infinity Mirror

Picture of 10" X 10" LED Infinity Mirror

This covers building the 10" x 10" Infinity Mirror Kit from Chromation Systems. But the included plans could be used to build one from your own parts and supplies out of acrylic, hardboard or similar. The kit's frame is made from Polystyrene plastic and holds 32 LEDs(8 per side). The kit includes all the frame parts, glue, LEDs, wire, power supply, power supply jack and controller, everything needed to complete it excluding tools and spray paint.

The kit features an 8 Channel LED Controller v.3, which is used to control 8 channels of LEDs, with up to 5 LEDs in parallel per channel.(100 ma per channel) It utilizes a PIC12F1822 and a TPIC6C596 power logic shift register, with each channel current controlled with a single 0.5w resistor, allowing different colors of LEDs to be controlled with various currents. The controller runs at 32 Mhz, each channel is 8-bit(256 levels) PWM controlled at 370 hz. It can interface with TTL serial devices, such as a MAX232 or a USB to TTL Serial Adapter. The software, MonoMotion, can interface with the controller and is used to create, order, and upload patterns to the device for it to run on its own. Or the outputs can be controlled with live serial data from a computer or other serial device. Perfect for small Infinity Mirrors or other creations requiring intelligent LED animations on a small versatile, platform.

The finished Infinity Mirror is 9.5" x 9.5" viewable and 13.5" x 13.5" x 2.25" overall, with 32 LEDs, 8 per side.

All the diagrams used in this are available for download in the ZIP below the video.

Kits are Available for Purchase from The Chromation Systems Store.

Limited Time Coupon for $5 off purchase, use "Infinite40Instruct" during checkout to redeem.




Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools

The 10" x 10" Infinity Mirror Kit, Full Kit comes with all the parts needed to a Infinity Mirror. Just supply the tools listed below. Or use the included parts diagram for creating your own.

Contact Us if you would like a custom kit with only the parts you need or for Custom Infinity Mirrors and Kits.

Frame:
  • 4x front parts, trapezoid shaped, 13.5" x 2"
  • 4x Outer walls, prepared, ready for LEDs 13.4" x 2.1"
  • 4x Inner walls, 10.1" x 2"
  • Rear Mirror. 1/8" regular glass mirror
  • Front Mirror, 1/4" glass two-way mirror, brand name in the U.S. is MirrorPane
  • Testors Polystyrene Glue, with 2 tips
  • 46" of stranded picture wire, 20lb.
  • 8" Aluminum Tape

Electronics:*Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Cool White, UV, Purple, Pink, Turquoise, Aqua-Green, Cyan, Magenta

Or if you are building your own get a 32 pack of Mix-and-Matched Colors of 5mm Diffused LEDs

Tools and Supplies: (Not Included)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Stripper
  • Razor Blade
  • Diagonal Cutters
  • Painters/Masking Tape
  • Spray Paint for Plastic, color of your choice, preferably Krylon Fusion
  • Isopropyl or other mild solvent, surface prep and cleaning.

Step 2: Front of the Frame

Picture of Front of the Frame

Frame Front: If any glue oozes out, wait til it is dry and scrape it with a razor. Do not try to fix it til it is dry. 
  • Starting with the 4 pieces with the 45 degree angled ends.
  • Using a glue tip, apply a very small bead of glue to one of the angled ends.
  • Take another front piece and press their angled ends together.
  • Hang them off the edge of a table or elevated work area, so the glue doesn't ooze out and stick to the table. Which will leave an ugly seam.
  • Carefully align them, and leave it to dry, still hanging off the table or work space.
  • Repeat with the other 2, so you will have 2 halves of the square.
  • If they need any adjustment, wait til the glue gets tackier and readjust them.
Once both halves are dry, which should take a few to several hours.
  • Apply some glue to an angled end.
  • Press the 2 halves together and align them carefully.
  • Hang the seam off the edge.
  • Wait till that seam dries then repeat with the final seam.

Masking and Painting: The front is painted first because it makes final painting later easier, and the mask will protect the front while the rest of the kit is assembled.
  • Pick the best side to be the side that will show.
  • Use some double sided tape(or loop regular tape) and tape the now finished front frame, good side up, onto a scrap piece of cardboard from the back, not on the edges.
  • Wipe all the exposed plastic surfaces down with some isopropyl alcohol or other mild solvent(most other solvents will melt the plastic, test on a hidden spot first), any oils and dirt need to be removed for the paint to adhere well.
  • Using some plastic spray paint, color of your choice. Paint the part, making sure to get the inside edges really well. The outer edges can be painted as well, but they are not as important now as the inner edges.Try not to get the paint on the other side(that is why it is taped down to cardboard) or the glue won't adhere well later.
  • Repeat with a second coat if need be.
Wait til the paint is completely dry, the longer the better, otherwise the masking tape could ruin the finish.
  • Get a piece of paper, that is a bit smaller than the now painted frame front.
  • Use some painters tape and tape the paper down, making sure to hang some tape over the all edges. The whole front part should be covered. 
  • Flip the front frame over, and use a razor to trim off the excess painters tape.


Step 3: Inner Walls

Picture of Inner  Walls

If You Purchased A Kit, Skip This Step, the inner walls come drilled, painted, and ready for the LEDs to be installed.

If You are Building Your Own
  • Cut the inner walls sized as in the diagrams.
  • Stack them, and tape them from the sides
  • Mark the center line and draw it with a pencil.
  • Print and use the drill diagram, to mark the LED hole locations.
  • Drill out the holes using a 3/16" or so sized bit.
  • Cut some 0.25" x 0.5" or so blocks.
  • Place the your rear and front mirror down on a flat work space.
  • Glue one side(rear or front) of blocks on in approximately the correct place.
  • Stand the wall next to the piece of glass and press the blocks down onto it, so the blocks will be in exactly the right spot.
  • Repeat with the other side of the wall and other piece of glass.
  • Repeat with all 4 inner walls.
  • Clean off the surfaces to be painted with some isopropyl.
  • Paint with a plastic spray paint.
  • Then paint again with a Matte Black spray paint. It has to be Matte black, other finishes will reflect and ruin the effect.

Step 4: Prepare Inner Walls

Picture of Prepare Inner Walls

Colors and Patterns: Either 1, 2, 4, or 8 colors of LEDs can be used. They can be arranged in a pattern, such as every other, but the pattern has to be the same all the way around, so the same colors are in the same channels, see "squareLEDdiagram.png"


Mount LEDs: Warm up your hot glue gun for this step.
  • If you are using a color pattern(blue-green-blue-green ect) figure out how it will be laid out. Mark where the order.
  • Starting with one inner wall, insert a LED from the black(inside) side.
  • Hold the LED case tight to the front, and from the back squirt a drop of glue into the hole.
  • Twist the LED around a full rotation. While holding it flush to the black side. To spread the glue around.
  • Make sure the flat side on the LED case(also the short lead) is pointed down (towards the pair of blocks that are closer to the center)
  • Hold it or ensure it stays flush to the black side while the glue hardens.
  • Install all the LEDs on all four walls this way. It is very important all the LED's flat sides(short leads) are pointed the same way and the LEDs are glued in tight to the black side. Maintain the correct order, view the diagram for details.

Solder Anode Rail: All the LED's anodes(positive lead) are connected in parallel using solid strand wire. View "inner-walls-diagram.png" in the project files for a clearer diagram. Focus on the bottom red line.
  • Layout the inner walls, with LEDs glued in, arranged like they will when they are in the mirror. The blocks on the inner walls are different for the front and rear mirrors, use those to arrange the inner walls correctly. Then make sure the LEDs flat-side are all facing the same way as well.
  • Start by stripping a 21" section of the included solid strand wire bare.
  • Starting at one end of a inner wall, bend over a LED's anode lead so it is parallel to the inner wall, 1/4" up.
  • Hook the LED lead around the wire and solder.
  • Work your way down the wall soldering all the LED anodes to the wire.
Once the first wall is wired...
  • Position the next inner wall 1" away from the wired one.
  • Ensure that it is positioned correctly, the blocks that hold the mirror should be the same, as should the position of the LEDs flat-side. See diagram, inner-walls-diagram.png
  • Solder the wire to the remainder of the LEDs just like the first inner wall was.


Step 5: LED Wiring

Picture of LED Wiring

Wire the LEDs, First(A) Inner Wall:
  • Lay out the now connected inner wall pair down on your workspace. Figure out which end the controller will be on. And label the LEDs by their channel number. See "squareLEDdiagram.png"
  • Start bending the LED cathodes down parallel with the inner wall and pointing towards the end where the controller will be.
  • Bend all the leads that way for the wall pair. See images.
  • Take a piece of 8-strand ribbon cable, use a razor to separate all the strands on one end. It is easiest to place the ribbon cable down on the table, push in the tip of the razor between 2 strands and pull the ribbon cable. Should cut easily and straight. 
  • Strip and solder the first wire to the LED cathode that is farthest away from where the controller will be.
  • Trim off the excess cathode lead.
  • Pull the next wire strand down, so it can be soldered up to the next LED, it should seperate from the other strands easily, if it doesn't try starting it with a razor again.
  • Trim the strand, strip it and solder it to the LED cathode, trim off the excess cathode lead.
  • Continue down the inner wall connect all 8 LEDs on that wall.
Wire The LEDs, Second(B) Inner Wall: Connecting the ribbon cable to the LEDs is done a bit differently.
  • Pull the slack on the anode wire, between the 2 inner walls tight.
  • Position the ribbon cable next to the next LED cathodes, lay the cable flat. 
  • View the diagram, "inner-walls-diagram.png", for the connection order.
  • Align the ribbon cable with the LED's cathode, and carefully cut the correct strand(not the ribbon, a single strand, be careful not to cut into other ones) on center with bent over LED cathode lead. It needs to be on center(or close to) so it will be easier to solder both wires onto the LED lead, it helps if the wires can be soldered apart from each other, its extremely difficult to solder a wire onto a wire that is soldered onto a lead. So space out the solder joints along the lead and soldering will be easier.
  • Strip both ends an 1/8" or so, and solder both ends onto the LED lead, with a small separation between the joints.
  • Work your way down, separating and cutting strands apart then soldering both ends to the LED cathode leads.
  • After all 8 LEDs on that wall are wired, there will be 3" - 4" of ribbon cable that hangs off the end.
  • Mark the LED 1 strand with a marker.
  • Using a razor separate all 8 strands, about 1" down, then strip off 1/8" of insulation off all of them. These strands will connect to the controller later.
     
So that should complete one inner wall pair. The other pair is built the same way except the LED channels will be reversed, that does not matter now if using all one color of LEDs, but if you are making one with a color pattern(such as the one shown in this Instructable) Take care to make sure you have the LEDs in the correct order, please view all the diagrams for details.

Step 6: Attach the Inner Walls

Picture of Attach the Inner Walls

Note: If you are doing a color pattern(not all the same), test fit the walls and double check the order of the colors, it is difficult to make changes later. If you feel you need to, you can connect the controller now or use a LED tester and see it all in the correct order.

Attach the Inner Walls: This should not get moved when the glue is setting, so assemble it somewhere it can be left for a few hours.
  • Place the front frame face down on your work space.
  • Take the two-way mirror, remove the protection film and place, shiny side up, onto the front frame.
  • Ensure it is centered, there should be a 1/4" overlap all the way around.
  • Test fit the inner walls around the glass, make sure the walls are right side up and everything is lined up correct.
  • Carefully apply a bead of glue to the two-way mirror side of an inner wall pair, which is the side with the blocks closer to the center, 1/4" from the edge.
  • Without disturbing the two-way mirror, place the inner wall pair down onto the front frame
  • Slide the inner walls right up next to the two-way mirror, the blocks should fit tightly over the mirror, holding it down against the front frame. It is going to move and slide, but don't worry about that now, more glue will be applied later, the walls just need to be tacked in place while they are aligned. 
  • Rip off a few pieces of masking tape and stick to your work space so they will be easy to grab.
  • Apply a bead of glue down the the same side on the other inner wall pair.
  • Place the inner wall around the two-way mirror and slide it up next to it.
  • Use some of that masking tape to tape the corners together temporarily. 
  • Push and slide the inner walls around so they are tight to the glass and the their ends offset each other, see diagram. Make sure that the mirror stays centered and does not move. Readjust it if it does.
  • Once the inner walls are placed and aligned, use some more tape to keep them tight, and maybe some heavy objects(like a big battery, pictured) to keep the walls tight to the mirror while the glue dries.
  • Let it sit without disturbing it while it dries
  • Once it is dry, Apply a bead of glue to the outside corner of the inner wall to strengthen it.
  • Wait for that to dry cut off 1" sections of the included aluminum tape.
  • Wrap the a section aluminum tape vertically around all 4 corners, try to get it on tight and smooth. This tape was chosen because it doesn't stretch.

Step 7: Attach Outer Walls

Picture of Attach Outer Walls

Attach Support Ribs: Each side needs 2 bottom support ribs and 2 upper support ribs to make the frame stronger.
  • See diagram on where to place the bottom supports
  • For the bottom supports apply a bead of glue to the bottom and one of the ends.
  • The end with the glue gets pushed up against the inner wall, bottom gets glued to the front frame.
  • Wait til the glue sets.

Attach The Outer Walls: The glue can ruin the surfaces of the plastic so be very carefully and use small amounts. If it oozes or gets on anything, leave it til it drys, trying to remove it will only make things worse.
  • Take the 4 outer wall parts, one of them has 2 holes in it for the button and DC jack.
  • Position the part with the holes so the holes are in the same corner as the controller. The holes are off center so the side that is farthest from the holes is the side that will be glued down to the front frame.
  • Test fit the outer wall, if the mirror was not centered the support ribs may be to long, trim the support rib down with a razor blade and use the outer wall as a gauge to get it the right length. If it is to short, when you are gluing the outer wall on, remember to position the outer wall flush with the edge and fill in the gap with glue.
  • Once its position is figured out and prepared, carefully apply a thin bead of glue down the long side. Not to much or it will ooze and make the seam look bad. If it does ooze, leave it alone til it drys. And scrape with a razor blade.
  • Apply a small bead of glue onto the exposed end of the support ribs for that side.
  • Position the outer wall onto the front frame, and make it flush with the edge.
  • Slide it down so it is flush with one end, since all the corners are offset.
  • Repeat the process with the next side, test fit the outer wall, possibly trim off excess support ribs, apply the glue but the rest will also need a bead on the end that attaches to the next outer wall.
  • Once all outer walls are attached, and the glue gets tacky, carefully work your way around sliding and pushing the walls so they are flush with the front frame and also to themselves.

Top Support Ribs:
  • There is one top support rib for each side, 4 total.
  • Apply a bead of glue to both short ends of a support rib.
  • Estimate the center of the walls and wedge the support rib between the inner and outer walls.
  • Squeeze tight
  • Repeat with rest of the sides.

Paint The Outer Walls:
  • Prop the frame up on a box or something to elevate it.
  • Clean the surfaces with some isopropyl alcohol. Clean off any lint or dust.
  • Apply a good coat of paint on all 4 sides, making sure to get all the exposed surfaces.

Step 8: Connect the Controller

Picture of Connect the Controller

Prepare the Controller:
  • Follow the 8 Channel LED Controller v.3 Instructable to complete the assembly of the controller.
  • Solder the DC jack onto the controller's power wires, as per the image/diagram.
  • Trim the buttons perforated board if it is too long.
Connect the LEDs:
  • Open up all of the terminal positions all the way, careful not to go to far and the screw will fall out. This will require a really small flat-point screwdriver, eyeglass size.
  • Separate the ribbon cable strands and twist the exposed wire to make it neater and easier to insert. Tin it if you like.
  • Find the first channel strands, one from each wall pair, and twist them together.
  • Insert into the terminal block, position 1. Check to make sure no stray strands of wire are sticking out, then screw it in.
  • Continue with the rest of the ribbon strands, make sure to put them in the correct order.

Button and DC Jack:
  • Use a razor blade and make the hole for the button square, the hole is pretty close so, not that much needs to be cut off.
  • Apply a big drop of hot glue on the perforated board, on either side of the button, carefully not to get any on the button.
  • Insert it into the squared hole, hold it in place til the glue hardens.
  • Remove the bolt and washer from the DC Jack, don't loose them.
  • Insert the DC jack and attach the washer and nut.

Connect Anode Wire:
  • Connect a wire from the LED+ position on the PCB(or the V+ on the DC jack) to the LED anode wires that are on the inner wall pairs.
  • Either use the anode wire itself if you have slack, or use a scrap of wire to make the connection.
  • Optionally, connect the inner wall pairs anode wires together in the corner opposite of the controller.
  • Stuff the controller in, you can cover the bottom with electrical tape if there is a chance it will touch any of the bare wires inside, also if you want to, hot glue it in position, but for the most part the wires will keep it in place.

Rear Mirror and Close it Up:
  • Clean the inside of the two-way mirror, remove all dust and finger prints, a can of compressed air helps to get the dust out.
  • Clean the rear mirror, get it perfectly clean, you will notice dirt and smudges later.
  • Optional: Cover the outside edges of the rear mirror with black enamel paint, fingernail polish works well.
  • Place the rear mirror into the frame.
  • Cut 1" wide sections of aluminum tape, and tape the rear mirror in, try to get the tape on tight.

Step 9: Final Touches and Troubleshooting

Picture of Final Touches and Troubleshooting

Picture Wire: If you are not going to hang your mirror, skip this.
  • Take the included picture wire and loop it around the outside of the inner walls, under the top support ribs.
  • Where the wire meets, leave a little slack and hook both ends around each other.
  • Twist the wires around themselves.
  • Tape with some aluminum tape and squeeze tight.

Vinyl Decal: A round vinyl decal covers up the button making it look a lot nice. Kits include silver and black, but if you would like a different color just ask.
  • Remove the decal from the paper backing, use the flat end of a pen or other similar and stretch out the center of the dot a little bit
  • Apply it over the top of the button, the stretching should allow the button to still be pressed to click and still rebound back to off, if it doesn't remove the decal and stretch it a bit more.

Finish It Up:
  • Remove the front mask.
  • Plug it in and enjoy!

Troubleshooting:

LEDs don't light up:
  1. Ensure that the anode rail is connected to +5v / LED+ on the PCB
  2. Ensure the DC jack is wired correctly.
  3. Ensure the ICs are seated correctly on the controller PCB
Some LEDs do the same thing or are constantly on, but others work correctly:
  1. Check for frayed wires near the terminal block
  2. Check to that no wires are crossed
  3. Check for solder bridges or shorts on the controller
If you are still having any trouble please Contact Us

Step 10: Serial Interfacing

Picture of Serial Interfacing

The device comes with 8 patterns loaded, so connection and software usage is optional.

The 8 Channel LED Controller v.3, can interface with either the MonoMotion Software or through custom written software. Patterns can be created, ordered, and uploaded to the device for it to run without a computer. Or the Live Mode can be used to control the output's levels in real time from a computer or other serial device. This controller requires a RS232 to TTL adapter to communicate with a PC.

Serial Connection:
  • Connect the 3 pin jumper from the USB to TTL Serial Adapter to the controller,  look at the labeled pinout on each PCB and connect them correctly. RX -> TX, TX -> RX, GND -> GND
  • The USB Serial Adapter has a male USB end, so it must be plugged in directly to a USB port or through a USB extender(male to female)
  • The adapter does require drivers, please Visit The Manufacturers Website to obtain a copy. Windows, Mac, and Linux versions available.

Software: The software the device was made for is Chromation Systems - MonoMotion, and is Java based, so your Java must be up to date. There is also some sample interface code available written in Processing, it can be used to write custom software.
  • Once the device is connected to the computer through the USB Serial Adapter, start up the software.
  • Click the Auto connect button in the upper left hand corner, or select the correct COM port.
  • The device and software will communicate and should display its name and firmware version on the top center.
  • Please read the MonoMotion Manual for directions on how to use the software.
If the software doesn't connect, or doesn't list the COM port, close the software, remove the USB adapter, and plug it back in. Then restart the software. Read The Manual for more Troubleshooting.

Step 11: Finished!

Picture of Finished!


To purchase the kit shown in this Instructable, Please visit The Chromation Systems Web Store

Custom Infinity Mirror Kits And Completed Units Are Available, Contact Us for Details

Thanks For Reading, and Please Visit My Instructables Profile or My Website www.ChromationSystems.com For More Projects.

Look out for future projects including a 18" Round Infinity Mirror Kit and Rainbow RGB Tube Light

If any Information is wrong or unclear please send a PM so it can be fixed. 


Comments

ChromationSystems (author)2015-02-10

Its not an Arduino, its a PIC, but either way the HEX and source code are not available.

C.tcatch (author)2014-10-04

any tips on the modifications i can make to connect the wires to an Arduino board?

There are 4 LEDs per channel, and the mirror uses 8 channels(80mA per channel). The controller would need to be current sinking, So you would need to either interface with a shift register such as TPIC6C595 or connect multiple GPIO pins to transistors to drive the LEDs. And don't forget a resistor for each channel.

vigneshwaranece (author)2013-02-18

can we use glass fiber insted of two way mirror

FeelX (author)2012-10-22

if i would want to power my infinity mirror by battery power, what kind of batteries and how many of them would i have to put in series to get the 5V @ 2A that the PSU usually provides?

ChromationSystems (author)FeelX2012-10-24

Well if you are using the included controller or similar, you will need to provide it with between 1.8v to 5.5v at 600ma, at most.So a boosting circuit, such as the ones for USB charging could work, or batteries with a higher voltage with and a linear regulator.(7805) The LEDs require at least 3.2v to operate and their LED Resistor values would have to be adjusted for the voltage used.

FeelX (author)ChromationSystems2012-10-25

after having done further reading i have discovered that using a linear regulator (though being an easy and cheap option) is quite inefficient. i might have to look into the booster circuit option, or maybe even opt for a switching regulator, which is a pretty expensive part, but considering a 5v psu would still cost me approx. $10 more id have to take it into consideration. however i am interested in your thoughts on the whole switching the psu for battery power business. is it a stupid idea? i mean itd obviously be great to not have to plugin the mirror, but if it means having to buy crates full of batteries, it wouldnt really make much sense.. i'm sure there's a reason you've opted for a psu.

ChromationSystems (author)FeelX2012-10-26

You are quite right, linear regulators are inefficient and would not be good choice, You could use batteries if you don't have your mirror in a position to plug it into the wall, but using the PSU is preferred if you can, so you don't waste batteries. Or perhaps invest in some rechargeable litiums.

FeelX (author)ChromationSystems2012-10-25

thank you for your response! i would be using the included controller. which one of those two options would be more efficient? let's say i'd decide to go for a 9v pp3 battery hooked up to an 7805 linear regulator. how long approximately would the battery be able to feed my infinity mirror? how can i calculate this?

XTL (author)2012-08-02

The rear mirror needs to be a plain mirror. The front mirror is easiest to create by using the partially reflective solar film applied to windows. This is partially reflective and works well to achieve internal reflections.

ChromationSystems (author)XTL2012-08-03

Sun film does work to create the effect, but not nearly as well as the two-way glass and eventually it will start to bubble and separate from the front glass, which ruins the effect.

axiesdad (author)2012-08-02

I'm not seeing any info on the mirror (mirrors?) used. Shouldn't there be something in the material list? Or did I just miss something?

SuddleD (author)axiesdad2012-08-02

If you look on the product page for the kit is has this listed:

- Front Glass Two-Way Mirror, 1/4" thick, 10" x 10"
- Rear Glass Mirror, 1/8" thick, 10" x 10"

Don't know how I forgot to include them on the parts list, I have since added them to the list on Step 1.

triumphman (author)2012-08-02

How much to buy this ? Finished and working of course!

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