'The Light Box' is a wooden, desk accessory designed to react to the music being played and is ideal for drum pads and DJs. Composed of a oak frame, the music box uses an Arduino Uno in combination with an MSGEQ7 chip and two audio jacks to brighten your musical experience via a matrix of NeoPixels. These NeoPixels are hidden under a one sided mirror, which acts as a mirror when the NeoPixels are off and acts as a protective shield when the lights are on.
Music & Performance by iMC.
Step 1: Parts
2 x 100 nF capacitor
1 x 10 nF capacitor
1 x 33 pF capacitor
1 x 1000 μF Capacitor
1 x 200 kΩ resistor
1 x 330 Ω resistor
Step 2: Tools
Drill Bits (in Inches):
Step 3: Solder the NeoPixels
The first step of the project involves soldering the NeoPixels together. As an intermediate solderer I can let you guys know that it was pretty difficult and time consuming to get all the 36 pixels to join together. This is because of the size of the pixels and how tiny the soldering plates are. However I can tell you that the result is extremely rewarding ! For this you will need a soldering iron and a series of helping hands. For this process make sure that the pixels are connected with the cables going in the direction of the arrows. Incase there is any doubt, the straight end of the arrow is the IN side and the arrow end is the OUT side.
Step 4: Create Neopixel Circuit and Test Your NeoPixel Circuit
Before starting the neopixel circuit, read the following guide and then create the circuit shown above. After you wire up your circuit, test your neoPixels to ensure that they're working using the following script. This has two options - All white and a rainbow pixel test, to check that Adafruits rainbow script works for all pixels.
Step 5: Add Audio Elements + Test Circuit
The next step is to add the MSGEQ7 and audio jacks to the circuit shown above. I advise to do this without power and to only put the power on when the circuit is done. Additionally, a neat way to ensure that your audio inputs are working is to put them on the same line of the breadboard and playing music through a cable and checking if you can hear the music through headphones. These audio jacks are breadboard friendly, but will be needed to be soldered for the final product. Above are images to explain the audio elements and the soldering process.
Once this has all been done, check that the audio is working using the test script that is attached below.
If all is well, you are now electronics ready !
Step 6: Create Sides
Create the sides using the table saw and a miter saw. For those that don't have access to a miter saw or table saw, you can get these things done at wood workshops or alternatively, the whole process can be done using a miter saw - which can be rented or requested at HomeDepot. Please note that the precision is greatly reduced when using the miter saw. Additionally, it is recommended that you make extra sides as it is more than likely that you will make mistakes (as shown later in later images) which may be hard to correct.
The first step is to measure out the pieces and cut the pieces of oak using a miter saw.
The second step is the is to set the table saw to 45 degrees (shown in the picture. After this, create a jig to make sure that your cuts are accurate and that all the sides are the same length. An example of a good jig is demonstrated in the images above
Finally, make the cuts, flipping the wood to ensure that the shape is consistent.
I have attached the mechanical drawings and solidworks parts of the box, incase anyone wanted to know what dimensions I used or wanted easy access to the parts.
Step 7: Router the Steps
The next step is to router the steps on the sides, this is done using a 0.25 in. router piece. For this step, ensure that you are running the wood slowly, to avoid friction burns and as shown use a support for safety.
Step 8: Drill the Holes
Using the mechanical drawings, measure out the parts and drill the holes.
Step 9: Create MDF Base
Create the base out of MDF using the tablesaw. Make two of them, one small enough to fit within the box that will sit onto of the arduino using steps made in a later step.
Step 10: Cut Down One Sided Mirror to Size
I bought a 12x12 in. one sided mirror from canal plastics and cut it down to size using the table saw. For precision purposes, cut down slightly bigger than intended and make micro cuts until its the right size.
Step 11: Sand Sides Down and Glue Parts Together
This step involves using 120 sandpaper to take away any friction burns and glueing the sides together using corner clamps. This step will take 2 days to ensure that the all the parts are well stuck and wont fall apart. For those seeking a stronger connection, the use biscuits is recommended but due to time restrictions this step was skipped.
Step 12: Make Inner Steps
The first steps of making the inner steps of the light box involves measuring out the pine wood, this is down to the user but for those interested I made mine 0.75 inches tall. After measuring the pieces, cut them down with a miter saw, sand down to size and glue them to the box using clamps.
Step 13: Solder Pushbutton and Glue Elements to the Box Using Epoxy
Solder cables to the pushbutton. I chose to have the power on when the button is in and used ground connected to 'Common' and Power to Normally Closed (NC0). Following this, glue all the elements to the box using Epoxy and clamps. To ensure that the clamps don't get glued on, place a piece of tape between the clamp and the element. A picture of the process to this stage is shown above.
Step 14: Glue the NeoPixel Matrix to the MDF Frame
Please note that I have glued the neopixel matrix to the side to reduce the stress on the first wires, as I am seeking to improve on this version.