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Step 2: Design your piece

I won't get into any depth regarding designing stencils or graffiti pieces. I will also not go into detail on designing circuits for driving and sequencing LEDs. I will direct you to online and print resources where this information can be gleaned from reputable sources. I will also explain the specific design we implemented with the first two prototype electro-grafs.

Links to stencil design examples and tutorials:
Stencil Revolution
Visual Resistance
Wooster Collective
Street Crimes
Banksy

Links for basic electronics for non-experts:
Tom Igoe's Physical computing online resources
Physical computing in print by O'Sullivan and Igoe.

Electro-Graf V1

The first prototype electro-graf, executed in the lab at Eyebeam is a mash-up of images of the state-of-the-art in military robots combined with quotes from soldiers, officers and military bloggers. Marine General, James Mattis, said," It's fun to shoot some people," when discussing his service in Afghanistan where US forces have killed over 3500 civilians. That's a lot of fun. More fun that even Bin Laden had on September 11th I bet. The image in this design was taken from promotional material about Foster-Miller's robot TALON. The weaponized configuration is called SWORDS. SWORDS was developed, in part, in a suburb in New Jersey at a place called Picatinny Arsenal.

"The TALON robot is the only mobile platform currently certified by the Department of Defense for remotely controlled live firing of lethal weapons." Read: the first robot licensed to kill.

For this piece we used a Stencil Revolution tutorial to create the stencil in Illustrator CS1 and cut them on a laser cutter. The control electronics were designed, built and programmed by Twin A in collaboration with a very good and up<a/> LED and video artist named <a href="http://www.villareal.net/">Leo Villareal. It is currently on loan from A for our experiments in the lab.

Electro-Graf V2

The first prototype outdoor electro-graf is currently up on the facade of Eyebeam. The design was intended to be minimal and entirely functional: to test the electro-graf capabilities in terms of size, weather-proofing, theft patterns, and public feedback.

Both electro-grafs are just technology demonstrations. I do not claim to be a writer, a bomber or an artist. I am a graffiti engineer. My intention is to develop and demonstrate tools that enable parity between the establishment and the graffiti writer w/r/t the ability to garner and direct attention.
could you use that conductive spray to make cheap printed circuitboards
thats a good idea
This is nice, the LED are now more appreciated than ever. It is the new cool thing. Thanks to all new colors that have been added to the palette. <a href="http://www.ionizerairpurifiers.net">Ionizer air purifiers</a> use them too, not only for display, but for air purification purposes.
OK weather or not soldering the LED to the magnet, damages the magnet - IDK-<br>I have never managed to get solder to hold to anything outside of copper and the leads of the electronics... I've tried to solder (carefully) to those 3volt button cell batteries and I couldn't get the solder to hold, I have also tried to solder to steel and couldn't get that to work either.
A much cheaper way to do this would be to use glow-in-the-dark spraypaint in the areas that you would use LEDs.<br />
Brilliant- Great Idea. But how can one so well versed in science such as yourself throw political BS into an instructable? Totally unrelated and irresponsible.
&nbsp;&nbsp;I agree. I was looking for an Instructible not an opinion. &nbsp;
you repeat a lot of pics
Congrats and nice piece of work.
Haha, congrats on being on <em>I Want to Work For Diddy.</em><br/><br/>The one redeeming quality to that show! Lol.<br/>
By the way, you can save time and do away with the mess of having to use epoxy and/or conductive epoxy by simply soldering your wires and LED pins directly to the magnets. Solder bonds very easily to nickel plated magnets (and likely silver plated magnets too.)
Do not solder to magnets, especially rare-earth magnets. Temperatures over 80C will damage the magnet and reduce or eliminate its magnetic field. I have tried using various heat sinks, fluxes and techniques to accomplish the task mentioned above and each has resulted in a damaged magnet.
It works amazingly well for me. There's no damage to the magnet or reduction in it's magnetic field. I've only tried this with nickel plated rare-earth magnets - but I imagine it ought to work work with silver plated magnets too. Here is what I use to solder wires or LED pins to nickel plated magnets: -multicore solder -250 watt soldering gun with a tinned tip -a metal surface or any other way to keep the magnets in place Pre-coat the wire with solder first so that it will bond quicker when you solder it onto the magnet. Preheat your soldering gun. Hold the wire and some solder over the magnet, then quickly touch the gun to the point you want soldered. It takes less than 1/4 of a second. The magnet barely even gets warm.
1. Anecdotal evidence is the enemy of science. How are you measuring the magnetic field before and after soldering? I would suggest, though the magnet still &quot;sticks&quot; to things, that you ARE damaging the magnetic field significantly enough that it will no longer be useful w/r/t the magnetic field needed to adhere to the magnet paint used in the electro-graf project. <br/>2. The <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curie_temperature">Curie Temperature</a> of rare-earth magnets is 500 degrees F. This is the point at which the magnetic field of a magnetic material will reach zero due to heat excitation. The magnetic field will be significantly decreased with temperatures greater than <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.kjmagnetics.com/neomaginfo.asp">176 degrees F</a>. Due to the high thermal conductivity and the small size of the magnets, you WILL damage them if you solder using any technique. No soldering technique will prevent this damage. You must introduce heat to the magnet to cause the solder to flow. I will note I have a hand soldering certification from NASA and from Mi-6, which is to say I have a good deal of experience with current materials and techniques. <br/>3. Sockmaster you're beaking rule #2: don't damage the hardware.<br/>
Just to be fair, the way sockmaster is using a metal surface to hold the magnet creates a heat sink. A heat sink helps prevent temperature damage when soldering. The problem is, depending on the impurities in the materials used, NdFeB can be as thermally conductive as steel, tin and impure nickel. And the melting point of solder is typically around 300F and this is about the median temperature between damaging and destroying your magnet. Sockmaster keep inovating. There is plenty of room for improvement in the design. The attachment method and location of the magnets is an area ripe for innovation in this project. I am only suggesting that the soldering iron is not the right hammer for this non-nail.
One of my all-time favorite quotes: <em>In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.</em><br/><br/>(I'm sorry guys, but I just have to post this--meant in fun!--or my head will explode!)<br/><br/><strong>YOU CANNOT DO x.</strong><br/><em>look! look! i'm doing x!</em><br/><strong>NO, x IS IMPOSSIBLE.</strong><br/><em>but i've been doing x for some time now.</em><br/><strong>YOU ARE MISTAKEN.</strong><br/><em>(posts picture inflagrante-del-X-o)</em><br/><strong>YOU ARE VIOLATING THE LAWS OF NATURE (BUT KEEP PRACTICING)</strong><br/><br/>(all humor aside this is still a way-cool project and very inspiring!)<br/>
"But I've been doing X for some time now" *stifles laughter*
sorry but I don't believe that a short exposure to temperature change will reduce the effectiveness of a rare earth magnet. its not like your using a bloody blow torch are you? are you?
"Anecdotal evidence is the enemy of science." So you're going to discourage experimentation? Even if it damages the magnetism somewhat, if it still achieves the ultimate goal of sticking to the magnetic paint, what's the problem?
I'm wondering if I can get a copy of the schematics or find out if Twin A is selling his boards? I dig the patterns and It'll sure save time putting together my piece.
i can't give out those schematics/patterns, sadly, BUT i will be developing a totally open-source AVR-based 32-LED controller board this summer, and an open-source system for controlling hundreds of lights in 16 RGB LED modules.
I can't wait to see that. I so got a project that needs that kind of lovin. We love you A!!!
I'm using a Tiny2313 into either a STP16CP05TTR (doing the PWM in the AVR) or for more PWM channels I use a few of the TI TLC5940 PWM chips. If you're running patterns in the microcontroller, you'll probably want more flash memory...The larger chip on the electro-graf board is one of the ST chips, and it's being driven by a PIC18F242.
Hey TwinA.. Can you at least tell me which chips you used? I have been tinkering with a 2313 but I can only drive 12 channels with it.. it looks like you might be using an AT90WPM but I cant figure out the larger chips role.. Email me if you can I have some questions.
I think the idea is genius and execution is possible (for rich people) but maybe a combination of standard spray paint ing and conductive epoxy could be more effect, think no magnets, no magnetic paint and as long as it keeps its conductivity over distance. Another experiment or two could be based around EL wire (if you could get really fine stuff) or maybe a computer that is thinner than any other in existence (think the 2D computer, stencilled on sheets of paper, then folded to make your laptop that can be recycled with the daily paper. (oh and high tech business cards (for made at home ones anyway...) Final idea ould be doing a brick wall and lighting all the mortar lines making a magice wall (plus having it in the crevices would make a handy electrical grid and make it way harder to remove)
oops. on closer inspection they look about 6mm. But still...
That qty of ultra bright 10mm blues would have drawn a fair amount of power for somthing so exposed. I would have used an AC sorce for somthing this big - is there a large battery hiding under that pile of stuff?
Adding a third trace and a &quot;one-wire&quot; network to this would greatly expand the possibilities. Imagine being able to individually address the leds from a central point, or add a light sensor to turn everything off during the day. Heck even a proximity sensor so the thing only lights up when someone gets close. <br/><br/>See <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.maxim-ic.com/1-Wire.cfm">http://www.maxim-ic.com/1-Wire.cfm</a> for the list of one-wire products. I don't work for Maxim, just thought this would be a nifty addition.<br/>
i was wondering if anyone knows if there is such a thing as like a "blacklight led" if you had a few and used flourecent spray paint i bet that would be pretty cool
There are, indeed, blacklight LEDs. I have a bag of them on the desk in front of me, as a matter of fact. If you look on ebay you can find these being sold cheap directly from China (search for ultraviolet or UV LED). Just don't use them for any application where they point right at people's eyes!
Check out <a rel="nofollow" href="http://johnbokma.com/pet/scorpion/detection-using-uv-leds.html">this</a> fine tutorial on building a scorpion detector with UV LEDs. I think <a rel="nofollow" href="http://lsdiodes.com/">LSDiodes</a> is the best name for an LED company I have ever heard.<br/>
way too expensive. just buy led cristmas lights and take them apart. real cheap.
this would be incredibly cool if someone used capacitive sensor pads to create an interactive electrograf
This is a beautiful idea. Great project.
Yes, I bought a UV LED from LSDiodes and it works great. Although we didn't find any flourescent rocks with it. And only some species of scorpions flouresce under UV.
soldering certificate from Mi-6 now that I would like to see?
woah woah woah 5 words bread-board-on-the-wall a little bit of breakout board+magnet setups and you can do anything on the wall just tape lines and have sections of conductive and non-conductive wall in lines like breadboards
This is so cool... And very well documented: Well done...

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Bio: I made weapons for the British government for over thirty-five years. Now that I am retired, I have gotten involved in outfitting graffiti writers and ... More »
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