Instructables
Using MIT's controller boards used for their Disco Dance Floor, I've created a computer controlled Disco Bar using 128 RGB LED's, 250' of cable, and a built in fridge! Learn how to make your own and impress your friends!

Or if you just can't wait, watch the final video of my bar in action on YouTube:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=jkqoPkuJaMI
 
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Step 1: Introduction

I wanted to keep this document focused on the hardware and software aspect of the bar, so I will not be talking about any of the woodwork. It is up to you to come up with your own unique idea!

I will be going over the following topics:
- What equipment I used
- Model #'s of all the parts and components I used
- How I soldered MIT's controller boards
- How to put the firmware onto the Atmega8L chip
- How I made the cables, and what connectors I used
- Installing the cables into your design.
- How to use Clint's controller software.
- How I made the animations

The first step is to buy MIT's controller boards! You can purchase them here:
http://www.dropoutdesign.com/products/ddf.html

You have three options when ordering your boards:
1. Buy an unpopulated board and purchase the components yourself.
2. Buy a kit which includes a bare board and all necessary parts.
3. Buy a premade board. Expensive, but saves you a ton of soldering.

Step 2: Equipment

electricaltape.bmp
Picture_020.jpg
Picture_019.jpg
These are the tools that you will need to complete this project.
cyber72 years ago
Too bad the dropout design company does not exist, else I would have jumped on the bandwaggon :(
rowenatrue6 years ago
This is incredible!!I love it I need disco dancefloor made for a video Im working on in the UK. It needs to be miniature 3/4 of the size of this bar. Anyone know anyone capable? I tried contacting the MIT guys at dropout design but no response. Ideas?
gps6 years ago
It looks amazing, that is why I ordered the components to make a floor myself, I am waiting for to components (and on a e-mail from Dropout Design, if they still supply unpopulated boards)and in the meantime I downloaded Clint's controller software, but I can't find a executable file. How do I start the program?
I can just picture how badass this would look with an ice flue on top for shots! Otherwise I can only offer some ideas for practicality: if you use this alot, why not include a bottle carousel (holds bottles inverted and dispenses shots) on each corner and a condiment tray/caddy on the side? Also, you could include a single/double home tap for a mini-keg - that would be awesome!
led2356 years ago
I think that this should be sold in a kit , because I would but it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You forgot tetrus in your disco animations:( Great project though: 10/10
led2357 years ago
very impressive!!! :)
skeegan7 years ago
great work... does anybody know any links with some suitable DIY bar designs?
crapflinger7 years ago
you need to add one of these http://www.barmonkey.net/ to make it as awesome as it could be...nothing like disorienting flashing lights and automatic drink mixing...
CrazyNick7 years ago
Damn, I wish I wasn't so electrical / engineerical inexperienced (I think I may have just made up a word).... I have a bar almost identical to yours (minus the unbelievable light show) that I would love to convert into this. Now (honestly) can someone with little experience in this create one of these? And did the 900 - 1000 include the bar or just the electrical equipment? Thanks for your GREAT post!
stevyn8 years ago
I'm in the process of designing one of these for myself. I was amazed at the video and now I want one of my own. The only thing though, do you have any problems with power? The resistors for the LEDs are pretty low valued and have you run into situations where the components heat up or your power supply can't deliever the needed current? The datasheets for the MAX7313 say to only sink about 50mA on each port, but with a 68 ohm resistor you're up to about 80 mA. Has this been a problem or am I just mistaken on how this operates?
xonazon8 years ago
do you think this same design would work if i were to make an entire floor out of it? and how about if i wanted this floor to be interactive...do you think it could be done?
Superb! and real fun to watch ;-)
This is kinda stupid: make the matrix tilted, so that spilled drink could flow into a container and a conductivity censor on the container, so that a message could be displayed to scold the spiller.
thediscobar (author)  Junkyard John8 years ago
Sounds interesting, but I would rather try to prevent spills. I can see someone spilling their drink on purpose just to see what happens...
if the table top was titled all the drinks would spill
thediscobar (author)  radiorental8 years ago
good point
ebs168 years ago
what were the costs involved in this? not including tools. thanks!
thediscobar (author)  ebs168 years ago
I'd say close to $900-$1000 with all the extra parts and accessories and stuff.
alceste8 years ago
Awesome. I actually have the board and the parts, am making a coffee table! What are the dimensions of the "tiles"?
thediscobar (author)  alceste8 years ago
each cell is 3"x3"x3" with a 16x8 cell layout, that gives me a total surface area of 2'x4' The same size as a piece of Plexiglas :-)
thediscobar (author) 8 years ago
Any other suggestions for Disco Bar v2? I would love to hear them!
trebuchet038 years ago
"Otherwise, go pay a poor college student to let you use an engineering computer lab at a college campus. " Hahaha.... I would have never thought that I could get payment to let someone use matlab (or painfully try on their own if they have no experience....) Very cool (still)... I saw your blog posted on hackaday awhile back - even if someone else did a floor... it does not take away the coolness factor (besides, a disco floor is far from a novel idea :P). If I were to ever do a bar (or any type of table), I think I would add light around the edge... It seems easy enough to animate that properly with the way it is setup....
thediscobar (author)  trebuchet038 years ago
Its funny you mention that. I'm currently making a little circuit with UV LED's that will be located underneath the overhang and will shine down. It will be like those knightrider lights, so they'll fade back and forth around the overhang.
maybe you could rig in a barman/cocktail recipe to light up specific bottles and the table top could be a gauge for the amount to mix??
thediscobar (author)  radiorental8 years ago
Thats a very creative idea. I'm picturing it looking kind of like a bar graph where each cell represents a shot, so if an ingredient needs 3 shots, 3 cells would be lit up in front of the bottle so you know how much to pour.

I'm hoping for Disco Bar v2, I'll impliment something similar to the BarMonkey.net where you can select a drink, and it pours it for you. Your idea would be a great way to show people what's in each drink.
exactly, you could have a preset number of drinks programed in. Predefined selaction of drinks and places for them. Either a slider on the side or a series of buttons for your party goers to select and make their own drinks

The bottle lights up from below, a corresponding bar graph lights up in front of the bottle to indicate how much... although there's a little too much resolution on the table, I guess it could be a 3 or 4 shot=level bar graph.

I like the idea of selecting and mixing your own drinks over the thought of some alcohol thats been sitting in a pvc tube for however long. You students have some pretty low standards (o;

It certainly would be a topic of conversation. Wonder what other applications you could apply this to?
"Predefined selaction of drinks and places for them. " that is, the table knows vodka is on 1, rum on 2 etc. Maybe each mix could have its own theme. A mix with tequila could set off some mexcian music and the mexican flag appears on the table. Can I get half the royalites on this? (o;
thediscobar (author)  radiorental8 years ago
I think you're right with the "sitting in a pvc tube for however long" comment. Unless I'm an alcoholic or have people over to my apartment all the time, the alcohol will probably be sitting in there for a while between uses.
radiorental8 years ago
way too much time on your hands, I remember way back when MIT sutdents could only squeeze 4 days off to go kitesurfing before their phd presentation. This must have taken you a couple of weeks... ohhh MIT.. what ever happened? but hands down the coolest instructable I've seen yet. I think we have a camera winner!
thediscobar (author)  radiorental8 years ago
Thanks for the comment! The funny thing is I don't even own a digital camera, so I would love to have one. I actually had to borrow my girlfriends camera to take all the pictures for this. lol. The whole thing probably took me around 6-7 months to build during the school year. I figured if 3 dozen MIT students can build their dance floor in a week, I can do it by myself in a half a year :-)
I wonder if you could add buttons so people could actually play that game on your movie.
thediscobar (author)  Junkyard John8 years ago
I definetely could. MIT's controller boards also support a sensor for each cell, so in a future design, I could impliment any type of sensor to make it more interactive. Maybe for Disco Bar v2, I'll make an interactive Tetris game or something.
sweet LEDS!!!