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Here is a rundown of our Red Bull Creation 2013 Qualifier Entry. Below is the finished submission video, but with it being only 3 minutes long I thought that readers would like to know a few of the details. The project was very fun and I would recommend you to keep an eye out for it next year.

Over the course of 2 weeks, we designed and built a Turbull Encabulator powered Ice luge / Rubens’ tube/  fountain of Red Bull. Here in the southern most edge of Oregon Ice luges are not as popular as on the east coast so most of the participants and makers in the video had no previous experience with it or the Rubens’ tube concept.

To see more submissions to the contest check HERE





Step 1: Design a Rubens' Tube

Most of our time was spent on the Rubens’ tube and programming. There are a lot of YouTube videos on Rubens’ tubes and at least one Instructables.  But nothing gave the exact recipe for pipe length, diameter and hole spacing. Well today I can give you that information.  We used a 1.5 inch PVC pipe wrapped in reflective aluminum tape and a hole spacing of 1 inch, Now I can hear you say “But the PVC pipe will melt then burn” and you would be right if it wasn’t for the tape. Without the tape the pipe softened and burned in about 30 seconds. With the tape it was still cool to the touch after 3 minutes. Just be sure to get the thick tape. We used PVC instead of galvanized or steel pipe because of the price and it was faster to drill the holes. The subwoofer sometimes blew out the flames close to it and when the spacing was too far apart they would not relight themselves.
We had to perform many experiments and of course we started them outside so that we wouldn’t burn the house down.  The problem with Rubens’ tubes is that the slightest breeze makes it impossible to see the effect of the speaker, so we had to put it in the garage so that it worked better which was fine because that’s where the party was anyways.
We also experimented with bending the tube and found out that the tube can be bent. However, it does lose its effect faster. Maybe with a larger diameter it could be bent in a circle.

Step 2: Program the Turbull Encabulator

We started by trying to interact our light with midi files. We could us a midi song from the computer or attach the Arduino to an electric keyboard, but we couldn’t get the effect we wanted. Instead we found this cool little gem where he uses a program called Processing to interact his lights with music. We did have to modify the code to get it to work with the Turbull Encabulator shield. On the Arduino side of the program we assigned pin names for the LED pins then we watched the pins and when the pins turned on so would our LED ribbons.  We could only get the code to work with version 1.5.1 of processing not the newest version and it only works when the Arduino is plugged in. We had the Rubens’ tube plugged into the headphone jack on the computer using large computer speakers.

We also wanted the lights to flow with the waterfall. After alot of trial and error we found out how to get the strip to interact properly. Below is the additional code that you would add to the beet wire zip file. At first we used a delay but then the other code stopped working while it was delayed, then we used a wait and it gave us less problems. Our final code just uses an if else statement.

Attached is the code we changed you will want to add to the code from HERE.
I'm not sure how much I can help if you have problems with the code.

Step 3: Assemble the Project

Assemble day went well, the blocks of ice we tried to freeze the day before were not frozen in the center so we used the void instead of drilling for the lights. There is a fountain that squirts red bull. We made a handle similar to ones on a tap to turn the fountain on and off. The water pump was water proof with no switches so at the end of the power cord for it we added extra wire so that we could use a momentary push button to turn the pump on (see picture). We put the Rubens tube by the wall so it was away from traffic.

Step 4: Video

We had a lot of help from Oregon Technical Broadcasting, a student-run video production program at Oregon Tech, who helped us use their green screen and expensive video editing equipment. We used Adobe After Effects to make the interviews, and Adobe Premiere to edit the clip together. For the narration we recorded and edited using Audacity. We didn’t want the background song singing until the end so we also used Audacity to cut out the parts of him singing and add it to the end of the video.

click on the links for some instructions we referenced.

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