Sequential Lighting LED Disc




Posted in TechnologyLeds

Introduction: Sequential Lighting LED Disc

Using a motor, some LEDs, a battery, and a few other things, it is possible to create an amazing device that serves no purpose aside from decoration and learning. LEDs on a small disc will light sequentially as a motor spins. This is a fine alternative, if I might say, if you do not wish to go through the process of buying/building, and programming a microcontroller.

Step 1: Parts

Part list:
K'nex (can be substituted with any other structure-building thing)
Wire (Hookup, and stranded wire)
Cardboard, Plastic, or similar
Aluminum Foil (Conductive ink of some kind is a preferable substitute. I didn't have any.)
Wood or something to form a base

Step 2: Foil

This disc will spin and complete the circuit to light the LEDs on the other disc.
If you are using conductive ink, skip this step.

First, trace a circle in the foil.
Next, cut it out (carefully as foil has a tendency to tear).
You will need to cut two out.
Then, cut out a hole in the center of each circle.

Cut out two smaller ones to fit inside the larger ring (leave some room between the smaller one and the ring).

Step 3: Disc 1

Now, it is time to make the conductive disc.
Cut out a circular piece of cardboard (or plastic, or whatever you have).

Aluminum Foil-Mount the foil to the disc by poking wire through each side and twisting it to secure the foil.

Conductive Ink-If you are using conductive ink, just make a thick ring around the edge of each side, maybe a centimeter thick depending on the size of your disc. Make a thick circle in the center as well. Then put a piece of wire through one side and out the other. Secure it there to make the ring on each side one conductor.

Step 4: Disc 2

This is the LED disc.
Cut out another disc about the same size as the first one.
Poke a hole in the center and some around the edge.
Put the LEDs in. Put the anodes (Positive End) in the center and the cathodes (Negative Lead) in the outer holes. Twist the center leads together to make sure they all touch in the correct spots.
Twist the cathode on the other side to form a protrusion to which the spinning wire will make contact wit later.

Step 5: Base

Make yourself a base to hold the motor. I used a block of wood and hollowed out a piece of it with a drill and a Dremel. Drill two holes for the wires. Run them through and attach them to the motor.

Step 6: Motor

Fit the newly connected motor into the base, and put "Disc 1" on it.
Next, mount two wires that will touch the foil (or ink) on the bottom of the disc on the base.
Bent them to touch the foil while the motor spins, but not so far as to have it apply too much pressure to prevent the disc from spinning. Position one to touch the outer ring and one to touch the center one.

Step 7: Wiring

From the wires connected to the motor, strip a piece off of one and connect another wire to that. Then, leaving the new wire alone, connect a battery clip to the originals. If desired, you can add a potentiometer to adjust the motor's speed into the mix. Connect it between the motor and the battery clip.

Step 8: More Wiring

Connect a wire to the piece that connects to the positive end of the battery to the wire touching the center foil thing.
From the negative wire that was spliced in between the battery clip and the motor, hook up the wire touching the outer foil ring.

Step 9: LED Disc Structure Thingy

Using K'nex or whatever you choose, build something to hold the LED disc.
I taped the top of the disc to a crossing K'nex piece with electrical tape. Make sure it is low enough to connect to the wires that will be completing the circuit as the motor rotates.

Step 10: Finishing the Thing

Attach a wire to each of the rings on the top of "Disc 1". Make sure it is stiff enough not to swing out of the way, but pliable enough that it won't stop the disc from spinning when it hits the LED leads.
Position the center one to touch the Anode Lead, and the outer one to touch the Cathode leads as it spins.


Connect the battery and it should work. The disc will spin, touching the anode of the LEDs. The outer lead will touch the cathodes as it spins and it will light the LEDs in sequence as it spins.

I will have a video up soon, hopefully. (I accidentally damaged mine and I'll record a video as soon as I fix it up)



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    Dear sir,
    I need a simple circuit with a single LED which will blink at a rate of 10 times per second.
    But it will blink for three different times duration with three different interval. For example;

    -------------------- (20 times blink in 2 seconds, then 2 Second gap/pause)
    ---------- (10 times blink in 1 second, then 1 Second gap/pause)
    ----- (5 times blink in 0.5 second, then 0.5 second gap/pause)
    then the process is repeated continuously until disconnecting from power.

    1 reply

    I would suggest using a microcontroller such as an Arduino for that kind of project. Without a microcontroller, I can't think of a way to implement that without a very complex circuit.

    Sorry about the blurry pictures. My camera isn't very good.

    awesome 2 get the LED out contestants in knex section. I got a circuit kit once (awesome snap circuit set) i wasnt much of a fan with the led light..

    interesting. you should put knex as a key word.