Introduction: Blade Runner Workstation Magnifier Lamp
If you could see what you need to see.
More human than human.
Not for only if you just make eyes, this Voight-Kampff machine magnifier lamp will improve productivity.
Step 1: Beat Boxing...
This project came about on that snow day and I started rummaging through miscellaneous things that I had around the house. I do have a third hand device that I use in soldering things but it has a few design weaknesses that I always wanted to improve upon. And working with electronics, parts seem to get smaller and smaller making them even harder to solder.
Looking in my bin of all the dollar store stuff I got thinking that would come in handy one day, I found a magnifying sheet - a plastic fresnel lens. That round magnifying glass which came with the third hand was too small and adjusting it for proper viewing was too limited. It was also tipped over the whole stand when positioned too far out. Hmmm, a quick project could fix that.
I only needed to make some kind of stand that would be able to position the magnifier in position and thus it evolved into making the stylish stand based on the Voight-Kampff Replicant Detector machine from Blade Runner. Might as well make it light up and do the "breathing" thing too.
Research details and grab some reference photos to work from. My version is not an exact replica as I did not make things to scale - I didn't measure anything and I placed my swing arm differently for utility purposes.
It was easy to grab an empty cardboard box from the recycling pile.
Start cutting pieces and glue them together. Glue on another piece of cardboard to stiffen it up.
From there, just keep on adding with pieces made from popsicle sticks, wood, pencils and clothes buttons.
Create compartments or spaces where your electronic components will be mounted.
To give the piece some heft and to weigh it down to prevent tipping over, I used some electrical bracket mounting pieces which are heavy steel.
I just put a red LED in the eye scanner piece for demo purposes but you can replace it with a neopixel for brighter light.
The device is powered through a USB cable from an external rechargeable lipo battery pack or wall adapter for many hours of use beyond its incept date but nothing lasts forever.
Step 2: Off World Electronics...
I dug up the headband I had from the Necomimi Arduino Cat Ears and removed the servo attached to it. I will be reusing the Arduino UNO and the neopixel stick I used for the KITT Cat Neopixel Plushie. I will throw in another Neopixel stick and a few LEDs + resistors for the other lights I need.
I will also use a digital photo keychain I had from the Blade Runner Harajuku Light Up Sandals. This simulates the display for the closeup of the eye. It uses the slideshow viewer mode a 5-sec change interval. I had to prepare a few images of the closeup of the eye to load into the photo viewer.
When I first thought about how I was going to light this up, I knew I could get some Neopixels to use as the bar indicators and a servo to drive the breathing motion.
What I found out is that the Neopixel library does not usually play well with servo control since Arduino timer/interrupts conflict. I would have to rethink what I was going to do. I already wired up a little breakout board with resistors to power the LEDs which remain constantly on. I already wired up two Neopixel sticks for control on individual data pins. I also had the servo wired up to the Arduino.
But to the rescue is the Adafruit tutorial on using Neopixels with a servo.
It seemed that it would not work with two instances of the Neopixel strip declared so I had to go back to wire up the two Neopixel sticks as one long strand.
Once I had the 1 servo, 2 Neopixel sticks, and 4 LEDs with resistors wired up, it was a matter of getting all the timing down to make it look good. Since Neopixels are individually addressable, I gave the left bar display a reddish orange glow to look a little bit different and was able to program the split green/red bar display above the main viewer display.
Step 3: Fabrication...
This is all made up as I go along.
Use popsicle sticks to reinforce any parts that need structural strength or will be a bearing surface where you screw into like the bellows flap attachment or the pivot for the boom arm.
The eye scanner piece will be bolted to the boom arm cap piece. A round knob covers the nut and bolt that protrudes through. There are washers inbetween to make it pivot/adjust easier and a washer/lock washer to hold its position when moved.
Incorporate things like a pencil when you don't have a dowel handy or a bit of wire to shape the curved hook in the eye scanner piece. Cover with paper and glue to build it up the shape. That is also to have a good paintable surface for finishing.
You can smooth out some of the seams by filleting with glue or using wood filler. Wood filler is easier to use because it sands out easier when dried.
Step 4: Skin Job...
I used black and silver acrylic paints to cover the project.
It took 2-3 coats of paint to cover well.
I used E6000 glue to layer two round plastic coat buttons to serve as the spindle wheels on the boom arm. I also glued a metal nut in the center as a finial for the object to look like the mounting screw.
When attached, a couple of wraps of black thread secured by a drop of glue at the cut end will look like the belt drive mechanism on the boom arm. I also coated the strands of thread with glue to make a thin solid drive belt.
The bellows is just some black cloth that I pleated sewed together. You could go all out and make some kind of rubber latex or silicone casting of a proper bellows.
You can screw the bellows flap cover on to its mounting plate.
I used double-sided tape to secure the magnifying sheet to the L brace which keeps it flat and supported.
Screw that to the eye scanner piece.
Cover the LED openings with white paper or printed graphics.
Using clear packaging tape over the openings will serve as the plastic lens.
Insert the digital photo viewer keychain in its compartment. I secured the top cover with double-sided tape.
Step 5: Next Is...
Figure out how to stuff all the electronics, weight bar and servo inside the housing.
If you plan things out beforehand, you will not have to cut access holes to be able to fit everything in.
The LEDs were secured in their mounting holes with a dab of E6000 glue.
Of course, the Nexus model of this magnifier lamp could be improved or expanded upon.
Increase the lighting with more Neopixels at the lamp end or use a high output LED.
Use RGBW Neopixels for a pure warm or cool white light.
Put a lens on the Neopixel on the magnifier end to focus or spread out the light.
Animate the arm with more servos.
Build in a fume extractor system for soldering.
You can have the unit display environmental stats and analysis. Need a timer or clock?
Implement real push button switches for all the functions.
Incorporate other OLED displays for the separate monitor screens.
Have it run with a raspberry pi or something micropython capable.
Grab the fresnel lens off of an old rear projection TV for a really large magnifier.
Move your soldering iron mechanics into your base. Have the soldering iron cleaner and holder there.
Replicate your own.
"You're reading a magazine. You come across a full-page screenshot of EAGLE CAD 8. You show it to your husband. He likes it so much, he installs it on your bedroom computer..."
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