Picture of How to Build a Wiremap
The Wiremap is a project that builds digital 3d objects in real 3d space. To create digital 3d objects in real 3d space, a projector is placed in front of a custom designed projection surface made up of an array of vertical wires.

If you'd like to learn more about the project in general, you can do so at the Wiremap website.

This instructable will show you how to build your own Wiremap from scratch.

Before we begin - let's just make sure that your computer system will run the programs that I've built. For windows users, download the following:

For mac & linux, download the following:
Then, go to http://www.processing.org and download the program. Processing will allow you to run the programs in the zip.

Windows - open calib_64 -> application.windows -> calib_64.exe. If you see a bunch of multicolored lines going across your whole screen, you're good.

Other OS - open calib_64.pde with processing. If you see a bunch of multicolored lines going across your whole screen, you're good.

Press escape to exit the program.

Step 1: Understanding the Main Concept

Picture of Understanding the Main Concept
Before we dive in, let's take a look at the anatomy of a Wiremap. The diagram below is a bird's eye view of a projector throwing it's light.

In regular situations, the projector hits a surface at a given distance. Pretend there is a screen at the line labeled "mapline" that the projector is hitting. Now, take that screen and cut it up into a bunch of vertical strips. By moving some strips closer towards the projector, the projector effectively projects in 3d space.

The projector is fed by a computer that has the depths of all the vertical strips memorized. Through this, we can build digital 3d objects in real space.

The Process

Learn about your projector.
Figure out how many wires you want in your wiremap.
Trace out the layout of your projection on some foam core.
Mark where you want your wires to go on that foam core.
Drop thread through those spots
And run your program
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dpiano11 year ago
is there a specific pattern i have to use for fixing the wires? for example how far they are away from each other or do they have to be in a steady net?can i choose how many wires i want to use?do they need to have a specific length?
phedhex (author)  dpiano11 year ago

Yup, those are steps 6, 7 and 8

Skyriam5 years ago
This is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, congratulations and thanks for posting! So... were you able to render cityscapes or other 3d objects like rotating cubes and such? The first thing that popped into my mind was rendering of 3d objects using SolidWorks and AutoCAD, it would be awesome to display it. Thanks! 
phedhex (author)  Skyriam5 years ago
 Thanks Kal!

Actually, one of my colleagues rendered out a car - take a look:

Skyriam phedhex5 years ago
How was he able to do that? Lets just say I have the system ready, How would you "export" images or 3d objects into your software?  Thankss!!
phedhex (author)  Skyriam5 years ago
Hey there - 

Sorry it took so long for me to reply.

Yeah, I'm actually more a lighting and hardware geek than that.  I actually don't really know how he accomplished it.  I'd say get in touch with him.  He likes this project, so he's pretty responsive about that sorta stuff.  You can hit him up over at that Vimeo page or just message his Vimeo acct, i'm sure he'd respond.
Skyriam phedhex5 years ago
No worries my friend... Ok, I'll get in touch with him and ask him how to export 3d objects, thanks! all the best. 
ex-use me could you tel me how he did it if he responded i could not view the page
tinker2343 years ago
hmm this would make a awsome ceiling in a nightclub
ekuhlkamp6 years ago
KathyHOrn3 years ago
I am building a wiremap for my science fair project, so i wanted to know what's the science behind this because i have look for it online but i can't get information about it.
KathyHOrn3 years ago
I am building a wiremap for my science fair project, so i wanted to know what's the science behind this because i have look for it online but i can't get information about it.
KathyHOrn3 years ago
I am building a wiremap for my science fair project, so i wanted to know what's the science behind this because i have look for it online but i can't get information about it.
cub cub4 years ago
I had to move the projector temporarily so I just have a picture of it without the projector shining on it. It does work though! This one has 100 strings.
Ogredude4 years ago
I want to build one of these and hang it over the conference table at my company. I'd have a motor-driven winch to raise and lower the bottom platform to fold the screen up when it's not being used. Figure out a way to display meaningful data on it, and we'd have some really cool looking meetings!
cub cub4 years ago
I made one with 100 wires and it works great. I will put some pictures up next week.
phedhex (author)  cub cub4 years ago
That's awesome! I'd love to see how you put everything together. Please do post photos : )
tinker2344 years ago
hey could i form a box and make the wires in a image for a holgram
Is it possible to display more succinct objects, such as a person or ball?
joxer156 years ago
ill go build this. ill maybe use 640 wires (=
positioning of wires is randomly?
phedhex (author)  joxer156 years ago
Hi there Joxer - Projector's are designed to focus on a plane, not a field, so when you shoot a projection into a field of wires, many of the wires are out of focus. It took me 3 solid days to do my first calibration with 256, so I'd suggest starting small and working your way up. The wire positions are pretty close to random - I weighted the 'randomization' to the wider side of the trapezoid to get a more even distribution. After that I manually changed a few that were right next to each other. I was going to upload this code also, but some of it is in Ruby and I didn't want to confuse people. If you're interested in it, gimme a holler and I'll find a way to get it to you.
Phedhex. I'm a little late to the game but really interested in this project. You mentioned that you have the Ruby code for the randomization. If you don't mind can I have access for this? Perhaps posting on github would be an option too. If you do my username is imarichardson.
idmism phedhex6 years ago
how do you sequence the sine surface and runs as one continuously loop in processing??
phedhex (author)  idmism6 years ago
Hi idmism - I'm don't know if I understand your question. Could you please be more specific?
joxer15 phedhex6 years ago
i am very interested in this. So i have other idea of ... In mine 3d projection each wire has exactly one position and each colum of pixels from projector will lighting on one wire in 3d table. Could you writte your email please? I would to write you. Thanks
jerickson4 years ago
im thinking about doing this for a school project but for us to get credit it would have to look like yours in the video. im not getting how you lay out the strings or is it random to a point?
phedhex (author)  jerickson4 years ago
I use a computer algorithm to place the strings that is designed to keep the strings as far away from one another as possible.
oppemi5 years ago
It's awesome. I'd like to build one my self. But, can you place the wires randomly around in the wire field? And what types of wires do you use, normal threads?
In the download file you'll find a file that has a sort of (x,y) coordinate system for marking and drilling the holes for the wires. I suppose it would be best to use a nice white thread for this.
They had something like this but much more advanced on the X-men movie, and they used ferrofluids instead of wires.

Remember the simulation table when the Professor showed what would happen to New York if that magneto wave hit the city?

That is similar to this, but yours has pretty colors, not all greyish.
mever6 years ago
WOW!, This is top notch! Great work on the Instructable and an awesome project. I haven't had time to work on much in a while but this is something I want to play with. Thank you for taking the time to post this.
userhck6 years ago
Could this be synced to music somehow?
pinhole6 years ago
Actually it's needless to say, but this is very cool! I wish you many more happy wiremappings !
You are strange. Thank god! We need more people with creative minds. Obvious, I know. Thanks for the hard work and well put together instructable.
frikkie6 years ago
Oh dear I thought of something else when I read the titel of the instructable. Well it looks nice.
dchall86 years ago
This takes me back to the 1970s when you could go to a company called Heath Kit and buy a computer that you had to assemble yourself. When you got it assembled and running you could turn on the LEDs built into the computer. That's all, turn on the lights. And they sold them by the thousands!!
There was a kit made for an electronics magazine based on an "SC-MP" chip that did 4 bit calculation with toggle switches and front panel LEDs, I think it was called the "Mini SCaMP" or something, I built one up and that was the first computer I ever owned... How times have changed...
Hmmm... Are you thinking about the EC-1? That was an analog computer, and could be programmed to solve problems, though nothing very practical by today's standards. :)

ref: http://www.heathkit-museum.com/computers/hvmec-1.shtml
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