In this instructable I explain and carry out processes such as cutting and using various equipment, by imitating any of the processes in this instructable you do so at your own risk and make sure you follow any safety information for any equipment used and be careful.

I am the type of person who loves being able to have an idea and being able to turn that idea into a physical working product, this probably explains my passion for CAD (Computer Aided Design) software and 3D Printing which when both are used in conjunction with each other can turn a virtual design into reality. I currently 3D print a few designs using Shapways.com (and try and sell some of my designs in the process) however this Instructable is not about 3D printing (most of my other Instructables are) as with this project I had access to techniques far superior in quality (be it with a lot more effort) than 3D printing and more functionality than can be made possible with 3D printing (until 3D printed circuits can be made); with this project I joined both my passion for design and electronics to create a fully working prototype product, the functionality is quite difficult to explain in words so please watch the video below and it will make the functionality very clear and then read my explanation beneath the video.

This is a project I recently endeavoured on as part of an 'Electronic Products' qualification, it seemed a bit ambitious at first but thankfully it all worked perfectly in the end.
I could design any electronic based product I could imagine (within reason and time constraints) and this is what I made, every aspect of this project is my own original design and original conception of function, which i believe to be the first of its kind ever created, which was improved throughout the duration of the making of this project. The entire project was made by myself.

Below is a demonstration of the device in action (a video speaks louder than words):
Unfortunately the project has to stay at school at the moment so this video had to be taken on my phone however I will record a better quality video when I am allowed to take this project home. The room was very loud at the time of this video so please ignore the bad sound quality as my phone's microphone is not the best so I have dubbed the original music track on top of the video. Unfortunately my phone's camera's frame rate is also not high enough (and exposure is to long) to appreciate the full effect of this device due to the low lighting. View the video from half way if you want to see it working finely tuned.

So what is it? Simply put, this device has three functions:
1. Firstly this device is a audio amplifier which can plug into your iPod/iPhone/Phone or anything that has a headphone socket (3.5mm jack) and it will amplify the audio with the control of a volume knob on the side of the device, this audio is then outputted through two 10 Watt speakers.

2. With the help of a Picaxe 18M2 microcontroller, this device, while amplifying your music, also flashes rings of LEDs to the 'beat' of the music playing, similar to a 'VU Meter', the sensitivity and brightness of the LED's response to the music can be controlled using two control knobs (potentiometers). This light from the LEDs is projected through a layer of dense fog which is being produced by an Ultrasonic Atomiser fed by ordinary water in the separate box at the back of the unit which 'pours' the fog into the bowl.

3. Using the LCD display and the two push buttons, the user can also navigate a menu system to select 1 of 4 preset LED patterns and adjust their speed using one of the potentiometers, this can be an alternative to having the LEDs being controlled by the music. This makes this device functional even if there is no music playing.

Equipment I Used:
Easy PC (Software)
Light Box
PCB Etcher
Pillar drill with 1mm bit?
Soldering Iron + Sponge
Wire cutters (for the components after soldering)
Laser Cutter
Blow Moulder
Drill + Countersink drill bit
PIXCAXE Programming Editor (PC Software)
PICAXE Download Cable
Autodesk Inventor (Software)
Corel Draw (Software)

Materials I Used:
Blank Photosensitive PCB Board
Picaxe 18m2 IC
Picaxe Download Socket
Capacitors of various capacitances
Variety of Resistors
16* 5mm ultra bright blue LEDs
Low Power Diode
Audio Amplifier IC
3.5mm Audio Jack
3* Potentiometers (100K ohms)
2* Push Buttons
LCD Display
On/Off Switch
Battery Box for 3 AA Bateries
3* AA Batteries
Ultrasonic Atomiser
24v Power Supply
2* 75mm diameter 10 Watt speakers

The total cost of this project was £43.77

Step 1: Conception of Idea

Firstly, I knew that this would probably be the only time I could create something using all the brilliant equipment and facilities available to me at my school so I decided I wanted to create something really ambitious, useful and cool with this opportunity. So after many weeks of thinking I decided I wanted to create a music amplifier that as well as amplifying the music, it housed LEDs that 'danced' to the beat of the music similar to a 'VU meter'. For me this instantly brought to mind the image of concerts where lasers responding to the music are projected through fog so their trail can be seen, this made me now want to recreate this within my design. I had recently seen ultrasonic atomisers on YouTube and I knew these would be perfect for the fog effect within my design as they use ultrasonic sound waves to literally rip apart ordinary water molecules producing a dense cool fog which my LEDs could then project through, this also meant no chemicals were needed or heat was produced for the fog effect.

Below is a video I made of the testing out the ultrasonic atomiser (fogger) with a laser:

With this inspiration, I started to design the electronics within the design, followed by the casing...
I've thought about using one of those foggers with some LED's and lasers. Mine was mounted in a CD spindle though... bit more ghetto. :) Good work!

About This Instructable




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