n00tron needs a home in a museum near you!
Please contact us if you can help: dan at MonkeyLectric dot com
As seen at: Maker Faire 2010, SigGraph 2010, Maker Faire 2011, Maker Faire NYC 2011
Step 1: What is it?
- it is a true 3-dimensional display (also known as a Volumetric display)
- the display volume is spherical, about 550mm in diameter
- the display is created by spinning a bicycle wheel with rows of lights inside it
- the bicycle wheel is spun in 2 axes simultaneously
- n00tron is great for making light art, but it is not possible to make 3D bitmaps.
- n00tron is controlled interactively from a control panel
- n00tron draws colorful patterns using simple parameterized drawing algorithms (also known as Generative Art)
- the control panel has lots of knobs that set the basic parameters of the drawing algorithms
- participants of any age can easily create their own amazing 3D light sculptures!
Read on for more information!
Step 2: The Wheel
Mounted inside the wheel is our MonkeyLectric Video Pro display hardware. We're using standard Video Pro hardware with custom firmware to generate the art. The display hardware has 256 full color LEDs arranged onto 4 sticks.
Step 3: The fork
We welded a heavy-duty custom fork to hold the wheel. The fork is perfectly straight (no rake like a normal bike fork). A motor mount is welded in. The fork tubes are cro-moly with 2mm wall thickness. Total fork length is about 400mm to the headset, plus a 350mm head tube. The motor plate and axle mount plates were cut with a cnc waterjet from 4.5mm steel.
Step 4: 1st axis drive
The 1st axis drive motor is mounted to a plate in the center of the fork. The mount slots allow us to shift the motor a bit to get the chain tensioned as well as balance the fork weight.
After the wheel, chain and motor are attached and ready-to-run, we balance out the axis further by bolting small weights to the motor plate.
The 1st axis uses a standard bike chain.
Step 5: The 2nd axis
Instead of a full bike frame attached to the fork, there is just a simple tube. It's like the head-tube on your bike but without the rest of the bike. We started with a 12" long tube of 6061 aluminum, and used a lathe to machine the headset bearing grooves. We put in the beefiest bike headset we could find. The aluminum head-tube is 2" diameter with 3/8" thick walls.
The 2nd axis motor is mounted on slots similar to the 1st, allowing chain tension adjustment. Stock drive gears and chain connect the motor to the end of the fork tube.
Step 6: Main mount plate
- the head tube bearing assembly
- the base mounting tube
- the 2nd axis motor
the main plate is 6mm thick 6061 aluminum. it is a 2D cutout shape using a CNC waterjet cutter. size is about 300mm x 400mm
Step 7: Motors
Step 8: Slip ring
The LED display itself has lithium-ion batteries mounted on the wheel, in the future we may add a 2nd slip ring so everything is powered from outside.
Step 9: Base Pyramid
Most of the tubing is schedule-40, "1.5" guage size, meaning the OD is 1.9" and the walls are about 0.1" thick 6061 aluminum. The main central tube is thicker schedule-80. The pyramid base is 5 feet on a side, putting the bottom of the main mount plate about 5 feet off the ground.
Under the 4 corners are solid rubber blocks, and we add about 100 lbs of sand bags around the base of the frame. The pyramid is very rigid, but the forces at the mount plate are extreme and capable of visibly bending the central tube. Hitting the right motor speeds can make the entire exhibit walk across the floor due to the vibration!
Step 10: Control panel
We bought most of the knobs, the switches were scavenged from old government hardware.
The 3 arduino's connect by USB to a Macbook running Processing. A simple Processing script reads the knob and switch values and sends them to a Zigbee radio on the serial port.
The spinning display hardware has a matching Zigbee receiver on board.
Step 11: Power supply
Step 13: Do your Homework - Gyroscopic forces.
The gyroscopic forces rotate along with the axes, this results in considerable vibration of the entire structure. This is the reason for the overall beefyness of everything and the large pyramid base.
Calculations are attached.