I was chatting with some close friends of mine who DJ this last summer about building some sort of an interactive DJ booth that would create a light show based on the music being played,much like the artist Pretty Lights. Their interest along with my own inspired me to finally come about building such a beast.
What we have here is a series of 5 LED panels that correspond with different beats, or decibels(dB), to create an instant light show. Some people have referred to my build as somewhat of a visual equalizer at times, it all depends on the type of music you like to jam to!
The trick was to build something that would have a grand appearance without a large cost that you would normally pay for at DJ or lighting stores while remaining lightweight so one can easily transport.
Overall I took roughly 25 hours for the project from designing to building. Once your done, it's as simple as selecting which mode(s) you want to use along with your iPod, smartphone, stereo, or in my case- turntables.
Here I'll walk you through the steps to build your own! I built mine to a specific size for my purpose but feel free to change it up and create your own dimensions.
Step 1: What Your Going To Need To Create Your Masterpiece
The first group of materials you can purchase directly from us, Elemental LED!
- 4 Spools - High Density RGB LED Strip Light by the Spool
- 1 - Apollo Jammer
- 5 - DMX Decoders (I have 6 pictured, due to the fact that I purchased clearance decoders I needed to purchase a non-clearance one to adapt between the Apollo Jammer and the clearance decoders as the Apollo doesn't have an RJ45 output. I would advise sticking with decoders that have XLR ports as it will make your install much easier)
- 5 - Waterproof RGB Extension Cables
- 5 - Waterproof RGB Solder Connector Pairs
- 1 - 300 Watt 12vDC Power Supply (This can vary depending on the size of your build, mine was 220 watts total and it's advised to use a power supply that is at least 20% larger than your load to relieve stress and prolong life)
- Wire - The AWG or "Wire gauge" will also depend on the LED load attached to each DMX Decoder, in my case 18/2 was just fine.
- RGB Wire - Not much is needed, just a couple to a few inches per corner. It's color coded to assist you with wiring. You can also use RGB Strip-To-Strip Bending Extensions but soldering is always a more permanent and reliable solution.
- DMX 3-Pin XLR Cable - You can either make one from the XLR ends provided with the standard DMX Decoder or you can purchase a pre-assembled one from Elemental LED as well.
- 50' - 1"x1" Square Acrylic Tubing (I had mine pre-cut to size by TAP Plastics, they're great! Reasonably priced and pretty fast at getting your finished product to you as well.
- 40 - Flat "L" Brackets
- 70 - 6/32 x 1 1/2 long Truss Head Screws
- 70 - #6 Lock Washers
- 70 - 6/32 Hex Nuts
- 20' - 1" Wide Velcro
- Canvas Material of your choice, I used a king sized bed sheet and cut it to the dimensions I needed.
- Safety Glasses! It's never a bad idea to cover those valuable assets of yours!
- Power Drill
- Soldering Gun or Iron, I recommend using one with a wattage of something between 25-45 watts as it will prevent you from damaging the solder point on the strip.
- Solder, using a thinner solder is recommended.
- Drill Bits, this will depend on the size of the hardware you chose, I sized mine to work with the 6/32 Truss Head Screws
- Vice, it's always nice to have something to hold things still as your working on them. *Not required though.
- Tape, the stronger the better, I'll explain this when we get to it.