This is my instructable on building a simple LED table that works and responds in an analog manner. It was to be built of individual pods with 4 LED's with there own photo-transistor to detect movement, or rather a disturbance in the light/wave patterns above them. It seemed simple at first, hook up a couple LED's & a resistor to a power source that is interrupted by a photo-transistor to act as a switch and voila, right? place foot in mouth here.

Please rate me, it just takes a click.  Thanks!

Weeks later of googling, and reading forum after forum I came up with a circuit that I was happy with. Realistically this would have been easier using a micro controller but I was rich on time "or so i thought" and low on cash. Total cost of this panel including the wood frame has been around 35$ Now of course I did have to scrounge, look for freebies and of course use eBay. I live in a quite remote section of Northern British Columbia, so sadly there was no quick run to an electronics supply store. This table was to go to my best friend for a Christmas present but sadly, I ran out of time. He got an radiant ceiling mounted heater for his garage instead. So the LED pods I built, sat in bin being bounced around for a year and a half. They looked so sad and neglected, all they need was a home, some 12V juice and a little love, See what they needed for a happy home on the
next pages

  1. I forgot to mention, this table was built as a panel. That is why the power is on the side. The panel can easily be moved about, it can be placed on my coffee table, kitchen table or even the wall as interactive wall art. I believe this is important as my family likes to be able to mix up our furniture arrangement and may not always want such as large piece to be hard to move around . In pictures and videos the table is sitting on top of my living room coffee table. It would be simple to add permanent legs or even cheat a little and pick up a cheap used table and buck the legs to the desired height
  2. I have added a new circuit diagram in step 4, feel free to comment, give advice and poke holes - its how we all learn, and I have a lot of learning to do!
  3. Added the write-up on building the frame, guess I didn't save it properly when I wrote it the first time.  Live and learn...
  4. See step 11 for some pictures with a paper diffuser added!  This optional but it does soften the look.  This is fire resistant paper, the kind used for lamp shades, I thought this prudent as the power source could potentially spark or heat up
  5. Wife's friend they sell similar tables to parents with children with sensory seeking Autism.

Before building this table, remember your are using dangerous power tools, exposing yourself to potentially lethal doses of electricity, cutting yourself with broken glass, burning yourself with solder, dealing with nasty paint fumes and in general annoying the crap out of those you live with, and danger unto its own! So be warned!


Step 1: Supplies, supplies, supplies

Supplies needed

*Most of the panel supplies can be skipped if you all ready have a ready built glass table with enough space below to contain the electronics.

  • One 48"x30" sheet of tempered or laminated safety glass
  • Two eight foot 2"x4"s
  • Four eight foot 1"x4"s or 2 eight foot 1"x1"s if you can find them cheap
  • Two 1/4" thick pieces of wood paneling/plywood one being 48"x30", other one 49"x31"
  • Wood screws, 3/4", 1-1/2", 3-1/2
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Stain & corresponding sealant or paint

  • 240 Leds
  • 300 12v 470 ohm resistors
  • 60 22k resistors
  • 60 3 leg photo transistors
  • 120 transistors (2N 3904 -J05)
  • Spool of bailing wire
  • Small spool of thin non stranded copper wire
  • Ethernet cable or equivalent
  • Simple SPST switch
  • 12v DC bulb and holder
  • Converted computer power supply
  • Electronics grade solder
  • Hot glue
  • Electrical tape or shrink tubing
  • Thins sheets of semi flexible clear plastic, I used the replaceable plastic face inserts from a face guard I no longer had the base for, "waste not want not"
  • black silicone tubing, similar to kind used for fishing gear, or sling-shots
Tools used
  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Router
  • Hand held power planer
  • Soldering iron
  • Other tools used for the wood frame are up to you, its just matter or preference or budget.

About This Instructable


212 favorites


Bio: See some of my work here and as always accepting orders for custom design and fabrication as featured on Discovery Channel, Wired Magazine, Gizmodo, Engadget ... More »
More by iminthebathroom: Béchamel - White Sauce Supa Dupa Slow Chilli How to be a Cylon, or The Excitable Glowing Cylon Spine
Add instructable to: