Have you ever wished your bongos lit up when you hit them? I know I have. The sensational feeling of light massaging your eyes can be yours with the single press and release of the leathery bongo chest. Indeed, the artistic design, carefully orchestrated, helps to illuminate your surroundings with a bold, yet subtle touch. Without these bongos, the world abolishes its essential coordination between the visual, auditory, and extrasensory world. Nevertheless, there is solace in knowing that percussion is vastly superior to other instrumentation due to a combination of simplicity and elegance. Imagine that you are at a party, with a ginger ale in your hands and the buzz of conversation slowly snaking through your consciousness. Suddenly, you feel the need to accentuate the vibrant euphoria with the mixture of quivering vibrations and the dazzling glare of colored LEDs. The flashing of the starlight matches the beautiful rhythm of the dance floor. Now you can be the life of the party too with these Flashy Bongos.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
Wooden bongos, preferably larger than smaller, although it is possible that small bongos may still be able to hold a certain number of LEDs. Of vital importance is the ability to drill through the sides of the bongos, so be sure to get professional quality, with the sides roughly half an inch thick and acoustics not heavily dependent on the bongos' contour. While it is possible to get high quality bongos for twenty dollars, make sure that you do not accidentally get bongos designed for children, as this may contain plastic siding instead of wood siding. The plastic siding will definitely be more difficult to drill through, and the possibility of already included electronics will introduce some complexity in the circuitry.
36 to 54 LEDs, varying in several different colors. Suggested colors include auburn red, yellow, forest green, and sky blue, although darker hues of blue may also be acceptable. It may also be acceptable to use violet or orange, although it is of utmost importance to differentiate between warm and cool colors. The reason for this is the necessity for the warm set to have a different circuit and resistor than the cool set, since there are differing heat resistances for each one. Nevertheless, the color choice is ultimately less important than the necessity of making sure the LEDs in each branch are from the same supplier.
Drill, which should be handled carefully and used after marking the holes to be drilled. The holes will have to be large enough for the LEDs to fit through, so make sure that the included drill bits are on the larger side. Keep in mind that this drill will be working with wood, so avoid using bits more suited for metal or plastic.
70 inches of wire, preferably in two different colors, red and black. The red wire will be used to wire positive terminals to other positive terminals while the black wire will be used to wire negative terminals to other negative terminals. It is always better to have more wire than less, so it may be best to use more than 35 inches of wire per strand. That is, when tying the LEDs to one strand of wire, that strand may be longer without any detriment to the placement of the circuit into the bongos themselves.
Soldering iron, which come in several assortments. While the cheapest iron will do just as well as a more expensive brand, care must be taken to ensure said iron has a reputable origin of manufacture. Safety is dependent on several factors, such as care in handling instruments, keeping handy a cold, spongey surface, and the quality of your products.
2-4 Resistors, which ensure that the LEDs do not receive too much current and blow out. Resistance may vary between voltage sources, but if you happen to be using 19.5 voltage source, such as with an AC adapter, it would be best to use a _ ohm resistance.
2 Sound-Activated Switches, with one functioning for each bongo. The ones used for this project have a 9 volt requirement, so if you are using a different voltage source, it will be necessary to also use a different switch than ours. The switch is one of the most important components for this project, as they determine at what times the LEDs light up. Be sure to note down the frequency that it activates at.
19.5 volt ac adapter, such as a laptop battery modified to take DIY circuitry. The end connecting to the laptop should be cut off and stripped so the wires can be soldered to other wires leading up to the LEDs. While the voltage itself is not dangerous, keep in mind that the LEDs can only take a fraction of the current the battery outputs, so it is necessary to use appropriate resistances. Alternatively, using another voltage source is a feasible option, but see the other material descriptions for potential pitfalls should you choose to do so.
Step 2: Drilling Holes
Around the equator of the 7 inch diameter bongo drum, wrap a sheet of paper around for planning purposes. On the sheet, make 10 marks with a handy writing utensil, with 2.2 inches between each. Consider incorporating some sort of design that still leaves enough room between each hole. Then, wrap the paper around the bongo and use a sharpie to bleed through the paper onto the bongo. Remove the paper and accentuate the preexisting marks. Plug in the drill and attach a tip that makes the hole big enough to fit an LED through, especially if the tips come in a set. Have one person hold the bongo drums steady while the other person pushes down the drill into each mark. Exercise should be taken to ensure the drill does not accidentally crack the bongo or injure anyone involved in the project.
Around the equator of the 8 inch diameter bongo drum, wrap a sheet of paper around for planning purposes. On the sheet, make 10 marks with a handy writing utensil, with 2.5 inches between each. Consider incorporating some sort of design that still leaves enough room between each hole. Then, wrap the paper around the bongo and use a sharpie to bleed through the paper onto the bongo. Remove the paper and accentuate the preexisting marks. Plug in the drill and attach a tip that makes the hole big enough to fit an LED through, especially if the tips come in a set. Have one person hold the bongo drums steady while the other person pushes down the drill into each mark. Exercise should be taken to ensure the drill does not accidentally crack the bongo or injure anyone involved in the project.
Step 3: Wiring LEDs According to Circuit Diagram
Strip half an inch of wire on two inch intervals, then tie the LEDs to the wire. The negative ends of the LEDs should tie into the black wire while the positive ends of the LEDs should tie into the red wire. Make sure the spacing between the LEDs is more than the spacing between the holes in the bongos. Of vital importance is that the wires leading outside to the battery must be about arm's length, to make circuit testing and wiring to the battery easier. See circuit diagram for additional info on wiring LEDs to the switch and battery.
Step 4: Soldering the LEDs
Solder each LED to the wires. Make sure the LEDs are stable enough that they won't come off. After every couple of LEDs, be sure to test the circuit so that any short circuits can be immediately fixed. In the case there is a short circuit, test each LED individually to determine the source of the problem.
In the 7 inch bongo, thread the warm colored LEDs through the holes, alternating between red and yellow at certain points. The specific arrangement of the LEDs depend on the design. Similarly, in the 8 inch bongo, thread the cool colored LEDs through the holes, alternating between red and yellow at certain points. The specific arrangement of the LEDs depend on the design.
Step 5: Creating The Lightning Bolt
Once the holes are drilled and the LED's are in the right shape and pattern, creating the lightning bolt is not to difficult, although it does take some patience. First, take a wood filer, or a thin saw, and connect the drilled holes into the shape of a lightning bolt. This will create a thin outline of what the lightning bolt should look like. From here, take a drill, and with a bit the size of a LED, enlargen the groove previously created. You will have to make the original groove a little bit deeper, but not so deep that it goes all the way through the wall of the bongo, and a little bit wider (the width of the bit.) When you are done engraving this outline, take a hot glue gun and fill in the holes, while LED's are in them, so that the LED's still fit in the holes. Also put hot glue in the outlined groove you have created. when the holes and grooves are all filled you are done, wait for it to try. This groove and hot glue combination will allow the lights from the LED's to reflect in the shape of a lightning bolt when the lights in the room are off.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
After attaching the LEDs to the circuit, thread the LEDs into the holes drilled into the bongos. Make sure that the LEDs fit snugly inside so that the holes light up. Consider using pieces of tape to help secure the LEDs, but don't fasten the tape tightly lest the LEDs on other parts of the wire unthread. Attach the switch and battery pack to the circuit and solder them in the same way as the LEDs. Upon figuring out the frequency in which the bongos operate, program the switch to that frequency and plug in the bongos. Turn off the lights, play the bongos, and watch them light up!