Picture of Another board of many ping-pong balls
2012-11-05 23.12.39.jpg
What do you get when you add one Arduino, some shift registers, a few transistors and a handful of LED's to somebody with way too much time on his hands?
The simple answer is Another board of many ping pong balls!

Although this is not completed yet, read on to find out why....
But to give you a head start I thought I would show you where I am at and give tips where I can.

This was inspired when The Much Larger Board of Many Ping-Pong Balls by DaShroom was featured on the main page of instructables.

The only problem I had, like many others who frequent this site is that I didn't have a laser cutter to hand, I do have a CNC that I but many years ago but that has a small bed so this would end up as a small scale replica, and one thing I don't do is small scale!
So rather than try and show this as a new idea I am trying to help make this available to the masses by showing some "alternative" short cuts and how to's.

I looked at various options, polycarbonate triple wall sheets because they are very light and quite rigid but the wrong stock size and then rather expensive once you get the correct size, the other issue here is if you try and use 25 or 35 mm polycarbonate to hold the LED's and act as a diffuser you end up with the light diffused only in the vertical strips. You would have to adjust your spread from 40 mm to around 10 mm. I called in to a local supplier and once I explained what I was doing they gave me some offcuts to experiment with. Very nice people and well worth a mention at Nick Gray Plastics if you need any sheets.

PCB sheets with the tracks cut in like they used on the Solderlab site, looked very expensive and I could not find a local supplier that did anything near big enough, I even looked at using small panels that could be bolted together, the problem there is stability once you assemble the unit, then it becomes too heavy with all of the stiffening bits in place.

The simple answer (for me) was a trip to B&Q and to buy one pack of end of line laminate flooring for just under £10, then use some flat softwood to build a frame. I used glue to assemble the base so it was good and solid then spent some time making a template for the holes. It is worth spending the time because if the template is wrong so is the finished article.

I used 5mm LED's so to give a clean hole I drilled everything through the template with a 4mm bit, then once they were all done I opened them up with a nice sharp 5mm bit. Its worth noting that I had to keep changing the bit because they went dull quite quickly. On the back side I used a standard countersink on each hole to ensure that the LED protruded from the front by around 4 - 5mm.

ImLloyd2 years ago
Excellent build! I'm assuming the resistors on the matrix are led specific, but what are the values for the pcbs? DaShroom's site is down at the moment :-)
dashroom66.com is down, but will be back up in soon,
my non-commercial blog with projects is online at dshroom66.org

Djandco (author)  DaShroom2 years ago
Shameless plug there!
You forgot a bit there www.dashroom66.org

Now you got me plugging your site!
Haha :-D
Djandco (author)  ImLloyd2 years ago

Yes, the ones on the matrix were specific to the LED's, however the supplier gives you the resistors based on your supply voltage, I think they simply have an abundance of 510k because they sent them for all colours at 5V and 12V! The 8 resistors on the PCB's that feed the transistors are 1k.


DaShroom2 years ago
Nice project :-D
Glad to see that it all went ok :-)

Just incase there is any confusion, my kits and solderlab's kits are not the same or compatible with each other. However, you can use a modification of the solderlabs controller with my kits if you want to use their firmware (and apparently I haven't uploaded mine, so you don't have much choice :-P)

Great instructable btw (love the copper tracks) :-D
Jakob28032 years ago
Very interesting project and a nice alternative to solderlabs' LED boards. :)
Djandco (author)  Jakob28032 years ago
Thank you!

I try and use things I have around to get the same end result, sometimes it works and other times.... well :-)

By the way, where did you get all those ping pong balls? :)
Djandco (author)  Jakob28032 years ago
I have also added more information and a hyper link in the balls section.
Djandco (author)  Jakob28032 years ago
I got mine from Sports Directory UK


(I have noticed the price has come down, I wonder if that is to do with an increased in demand?)
qquuiinn2 years ago
would it look any better/worse to use colored ping pong balls?
Djandco (author)  qquuiinn2 years ago
The light emitted would be filtered depending on the colour of your balls, if you want true RGB you would need to use a neutral colour like white.
oross2 years ago
How much would it cost on average ?
Djandco (author)  oross2 years ago
Now that all depends on how you want to do it,
The cheapest way to build one of these would be to buy all of the parts yourself and either make the PCB's yourself or use breadboard.
There are no exact lists anywhere for all of the parts but I can give you components and quantities to help you along.
I bought 1000 RGB LED's for this and other little projects that cost me £116, the kit from Dashroom cost about another £164 and the ping pong balls are £24 per box of 144.Wood for the frame and other bits etc...

So this one cost around £400
Plus the Arduino, and the power supply :-(

Come to think about it, this was quite an expensive project!
If you cut out all of the niceties and solder directly to the breadboard and use stranded cable to link it all together you can bring the price down a bit.

But we don't do things like this for the money, we do it for the love of creating stuff.

(that's what I am telling the bank manager anyway!)