No CGI, No tissue paper, and no Fooling around !
Ever since I First watched The Avengers I have wanted to make this Cube. Took me over three years to figure out how. You can View the Video on YouTube Here
With some help from Omni-Diy's Instructable on Rheoscopic Fluid I was able to Build my own !
I looked at building it with led's and tissue paper like most others did but I felt that it lacked the Depth, and Soul, that only CGI has been able to deliver.
This is my Entry in both the Remix 2.0 and the Epilog VII Contests. If you learned something, or just Enjoyed the read :), Please feel free to Vote for me ! :D
At it's heart, is a core made of 40 led's, a water pump and some water containing a suspension of Mica Powder. As the water circulates the Mica Powder shows how the fluid flows around the obstacles inside, and the Eddies that it creates.
Now let it be know that I like my Overkill !
Now, this build my not be the most user friendly project to build, if you take some of the techniques I have shown here you can adapt them to make your own :)
Rather then the Razor Mamba case that I used, stick with a Baseball display case. and try to keep the led's out of the solution to avoid having to waterproof them. you can also avoid using a pump by simply shaking it around a bit :D
Wana know how to make your Own? Keep Scrolling Down :D
Step 1: Water-Proof Led's
This is Not intended to be a guide on how to
Waterproof Led's. This is only how I chose to go about it.
Like I said before, it becomes much Easier to
build this project if you keep your Led's out of the solution it's self. You
may be able to overcome this by using non conductive fluids like the Fluid used in computer Liquid cooling !
I used two Methods...
First on the 3W led on top I simply attached
it to the heat-sink with Thermal grease and some drops of super glue around the
Edges. Then I Coated the whole thing in two-part Epoxy. (be sure to get some
under the wire leads too)
The WS2812's (Neo-Pixels) were a bit tougher...
For this I wrapped them around some black
plumbing PVC pipe. Use some Epoxy or super glue to hold them in place. Be sure
to clump them down somehow to stop them from moving around. Then slide a clear
plastic tube around the Core (Acrylic or Poly carbonate will work just fine)
When you are sure it is centered then temporarily secure it at one end with
some shims or just some hot glue. Push the other end into some casting silicone
(or something similar) to make a plug on one end so the Resin does not Escape !
** Be sure to let the Silicone cure overnight ! **
I made the mistake of pouring my Resin within
30 min. This caused the gasses released from the Curing Silicone to create
bubbles inside my Cast >.<
Remember to fold the resin over on itself
rather the stirring in Air bubbles. It may be a good Idea to make a practice
cast with a smaller mold before hand, just to get the hang of mixing it
together :) Pour Slowly and keep the flow Steady to avoid Air Bubbles in the
Weigh it down to keep the Resin from spilling
out, and let it Cure Overnight. The next morning Remove the Cast and use a Die
Grinder to remove the Cap the the bottom end of the Cast. Use some sand paper
to remove the rough edges.
Lastly Give it a Test !
Step 2: Attach Pump, Mount Core
I do love 2-Part Epoxy :D
Use the Epoxy to attach the Pump to the core,
and the core to the mounting Base. I chose to add shroud to create a fade
effect at the edge of the Cube. Be sure to use some shims to keep the Core
straight while the Epoxy cures!
Use some more Epoxy to seal off the hole that
you wires go through. Remember you won't be able to see this at the end. Go for
Function over Form; Leaks are a bad M-Kay?
Step 3: Electronics !
This is divided into Three Parts.
A) Power Distribution
I used a 5V, 5A Regulator to bring the voltage
down from 12V to 5V. This leads to the power distribution board at the top of
the Unit. It is where I have attached the leads for the 3W Led and the
NeoPixel's to. It also is where the Arduino, Fan, Pump and Potentiometer
receive their power from.
Like I said before I like Overkill :)
My go to transistor in the Tip 122 and I
attached some sizable heat sinks to them with some thermal grease, screws and
lock washers. They are attached "Dead Bug" style to the copper side
of the PCB to use less room. I also cut out an Vent for some air flow. This was
covered with some mesh I salvaged a few years back.
C) Controlling the Lights
I used an Arduino Uno to drive the Neo-Pixels
and the RGB led at the top. It is running the Adafruit neo-pixel library.
For the standard blue setting I just set the
pixels to blue and used the "rainbow cycle" for the party mode.
The RGB led at the top is
set to match the last pixel in the string.
Step 4: Warp Plasma !
This is what gives my Tessuract that look that only CGI can usually provide. Be sure to check out the link for a full description on how to Make Your Own !
I chose to use Mica Powder like Omni-Diy did in his Instructable. Just like him I also chose to use a product called "Pearl EX" It is normally used in art to make paint glimmer. The concentration of Mica powder is really up to you. It doesn't take much to get the effect; just use trial and error :) if you add too much you can always add more water to dilute it down. If you plan to use color changing lights the do not add coloring to the mix. if you only want one color then add the color of your choice and illuminate it with white light.
**Mica powder can be harmful if you inhale the fine powder**
Be sure to use a dust mask while you are mixing it to avoid inhaling the powder. At minimum, do it outside. Adding a small amount of Mica to some water inside a zip top bag will help contain the powder until is has mixed in. After it is mixed into the water, it is no longer a notable safety hazard :)
Step 5: Seal It Up; Remove Bubbles
Last step in to seal the bottom with some two-part Epoxy, and fill it up!
You will need two valves to bleed any air bubbles from the system. One will let the air out, the other will be were you fill it from. I used some aquarium air valves and epoxy to glue them in place. it works best to put the air venting valve near a corner.
**Before you seal the cube, add the fluid and do a final test run. this will be the last time you can do any adjustments before it's set in stone.**
Drain all fluid, clean the residue from the sides so the Epoxy can make a strong bond the the outer case. let it dry for a few hours too ! Set the Core were you want it and use your Epoxy to seal the edges.
Let cure for 24H
The next morning, use a funnel to add the fluid to the Cube. Tilt the cube so the air vent is higher then the filling valve. You may want to use some hot glue or silicone to prevent any leaking from the valves.
Step 6: Enjoy !
Now Turn that thing on and Enjoy your Creation :D