Step 1: Materials
- 2 Pumpkins (One giant pumpkin, and a little guy for the controller)
- 128 10mm LEDs
- 1 Joy Stick
- 2 8x8 Grids/Backpacks
- 1 Arduino
- a LOT of wire
- heat shrink
- electical tape
- drywall anchors
- coupling nut/50mm extension bolt - 6mm diameter
- exacto knife
- heat gun
- wire stripper
- soldering iron
- drill - 1" hole saw, and 13/32" bit for LED holes
I also used a laser cutter to make a jig, more on that later
Step 2: Building the Circuit
I marked up the joystick with tape and a sharpie so I could remember the orientation of the controller before I jammed it in the pumpkin - I also machined out some slightly larger holes to make it easier to mount the joystick in the pumpkin.
The Arduino requires the following libraries from Adafruit:
And here is the sketch
A small understanding of how these microcontrollers function is helpful when building these kinds of projects. I had to do a little fussing in the sketch when the joystick wasn't communicating in the way I had initially anticipated.
Step 3: Jig for Assembling Matrix
The LEDs fit nicely in there, and didn't wiggle around too much when I moved the matrix around.
Step 4: Assembling the Matrix
Heat shrink every junction of wire to LED lead, as you don't want ANY MOISTURE creeping into your circuit. I heat shrunked (that's a word, right?) every LED, and then wrapped it in electrical tape.
It was helpful to use flux to get the wire junctions to solder properly together. I used a junky paintbrush to coat the leads as I was soldering. I also made hundreds of Jumpwires using my Jumpwire Jig.
Did I mention this part takes time? It took me like four nights of mellow music, and a few beers, to do this part.
Step 5: Carve That Sucker!
Don't try and use an electric carving knife for this job - I found that the best tool for the pumpkin carving was the cheap-o carving knives you get from the grocery store. Using a nicer knife proved to be unwieldy. The tiny serrated pumpkin knives were perfect.
For the LED holes, I used a 13/32" drill bit.
I used an exacto blade to carve out the front of it, and slowly shape allllllll the squares into the pumpkin. Be careful when using all of these sharp implements, I sliced the back of my thumb when the blade flipped out of my hand from applying too much pressure.
Carving delicately into a pumpkin is a lot like working with soft clay. A light touch goes a long way.
Step 6: The Controller Pumpkin
I soldered long extension wires from the controller pumpkin to the display pumpkin. Again, carefully moisture proof all your wires - they are going into organic material.
Step 7: Testing
Step 8: Exhibiting the Pumpkin
As a side note, a lot of the kids playing the pumpkin HAD NEVER EVER PLAYED OR HEARD OF TETRIS BEFORE!!! I got multiple asks if it was a mine-craft pumpkin. It was great to see parents explaining to their young ones what tetris is, and then crush it while playing the game on the pumpkin.