Sure, you may have seen LED cubes - they are everywhere;even I made some.
But have you seen an LED pyramid?!
Spectrum is an easy to make, easy to use, and fun to look at pyramid that can glow in ANY COLOR IMAGINABLE!
Put it on your desk, put it on your bedside table, put it on your shelf - put it anywhere! (where there is power)
The cost for a single Spectrum is roughly $15-20
basic electronics knowledge of Neopixels is assumed.
Step 1: Video
Be sure to watch the longer BUILDLOG video to see how it's made (instead of reading!). You can also see extended footage of the end result. Watch it embedded above or link here.
Subscribe for extra exclusive content and (usually) early videos.
Or don't subscribe - that's fine...
Note: The photos are lower quality screengrabs from the videos as the SD card was formatted.
Step 2: Materials & Tools
- Corflute (corrugated plastic) Sheet ($2)
- Plywood sheet ($3)
- Arduino UNO ($6)
- WS2811 Neopixel Strip ($5)
- Power Adaptor (same voltage as Neopixel strip) ($4)
- Wires (free)
- Hot Glue
- Mitre Saw (required for angled cuts, a sliding one helps too)
- Soldering Iron
- Rotary Tool + Healing mat
Step 3: Corflute Triangles
The main basis of the project is the corflute pyramid.
This is made up of 4 triangles that measure 35 tall (at the centre) and 20 wide at the base. Make sure that the triangle follows the grain of the plastic.
The best way to cut corflute is to use a rotary cutter with a healing mat. Make sure to cut straight and cleanly.
Step 4: Lights & Electronics
For this project, I used a cheap strip of 12v WS2811 Neopixel's.
They came in a strip of 1m but for this project I decided to it and make a 3x3 grid of LEDs, cutting 3 sections of 3 LEDs each and then removing the waterproofing. Then it is just a matter of following the data flow, connecting all the Power tabs and the GND tabs, and making sure that you connect the Data pins in the right order, flowing from the DataIN to the DataOUT. Leaving some wires at the first cutout for the connection to the arduino.
Testing is important, even I found I had shorted a connection. So do it!
Step 5: Wooden Baseplate
The wooden baseplate is just the bottom of the pyramid that holds the Arduino and LED's. To make it, cut a 200x200 piece of plywood (not too thick). Make sure that this piece is square.
After that, using the mitre saw adjust the angle to near 30 degrees and cut down the edges. The angle helps the corflute to sit easier on top of the base (as the corflute will be leaning)
Step 6: Assembling It All! (pt 1.)
Now for the fun part, assembly!
Grab the baseplate, the Arduino, and LED modules; and most importantly: the hot glue.
Position the Arduino and the LED modules in their places, with them evenly spaced apart. Then find a spot for the Arduino. I realised that there wasn't much space and so I moved the middle LED strip off center a little bit so that the Arduino didn't block the light.
Position the Arduino with the board and the ports facing away from the edge of the baseplate so that you can make a cutout in the corflute (later) for easy access.
Then once their are positioned, glue down the LED strip and then the Arduino - if the wires are in the way (or are blocking the light), glue them down too.
With the baseplate done and dusted - let's move on to the corflute pyramid (next step).
Step 7: Assembling It All! (pt 2.)
The corflute pyramid is relatively easy to assemble, it just takes quite some time as you have to constantly wait for the hot glue to set. So to accelerate this process - I used a little bit of water on my finger to run over the hot glue and accelerate the initial setting (just enough for it to hold the boards).
When glueing the edges together, it is best to glue the top and bottom parts first: to hold it together. Then fill in the sides.
NOTE: Don't forget to make the cutout for the Arduino on a board BEFORE you glue it on as it is probably much harder.
Be as clean in this process as possible - as errors show easily when the lights are turned on.
We won't be actually glueing or attaching the pyramid to the baseplate - as we need to be able to access the wiring and such if something goes wrong.
Step 8: Code
The code is super simple for this: it is just comprised of examples from Adafruit's Awesome Neopixel Library.
Download some cool effects here:
Be sure to have the Neopixel library installed (it's in the library manager on the new arduino IDE).