Introduction: DIY Fiber Optic Light Sculpture
As I mentioned in my previous instructables Fiber Optic and LEDs - a Wall Decoration and Fiber Optic LED Lamp, when I discovered decorative fiber optics I realized that they can be used in a creative way and in projects where I really didn't think they could work. This time I want to propose a very simple application, based on some articles here on instructables.com and on the internet.
but also on the construction of the so-called Fiber Optic LED lamps, on amazon.com for example (I think you all know them):
And I don't want to sound immodest when I use the expression "light sculpture" in the title of my instructable but the end result is really memorable, you just have to have the patience to follow my article until the end :)
Step 1: Materials, Components
- 3D printed parts - you can export and use the STL files from tinkercad;
- 3mm diameter decorative optical fiber, the amount needed depends on the construction variant but also on your artistic vibe :) ;
- WS2812 addressable LEDs, 36 pieces for variant 1 and 61 pieces for variant 2, from one piece of self-adhesive LED strip with 60LED/m;
- Wemos D1 mini module,
- DC Power Pigtails Cable, 5.5mm/2.1mm Female Plug,
- 5V/2A power supply. (1.5A is also working...)
Very few components, isn't it?
Step 2: Schematics and Other Info...
I designed two construction variants, one variant that uses 36 WS2812 LEDs and another variant that uses 61 LEDs. The electronic diagrams corresponding to those variants are very simple and you can see them in the pictures above.
You can also see how the pieces of led strip are positioned and how the electrical connections are made between them.
Step 3: Software
To animate the LEDs I uploaded the WLED firmware into the Wemos module.
WLED is an open source software written by Aircoookie (here you can find his github page). It is running on ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers and its only purpose is to control addressable LEDs like WS2812B.
When it is installed on an ESP8266, WLED runs a web server that can be accessed by an app (on iOS and on Android), but can be controlled also by MQTT, Blynk, Alexa and a few other ways.
WLED is the best addressable LEDs controlling application I saw and I’m sure it will continue getting better and better with time.
What I especially like about WLED is that I can try a lot of light effects, and the ones I like can be stored as a program, that can automatically change the effects I saved at a predefined time interval in an endless loop.
Moreover, these saved light effects, called presets, can be downloaded and uploaded later in another WLED installation. So, the effects I used for the two construction variants of my fiber optic sculptures are attached below, you can see them in action in step 5 (rename them to presets.json before uploading to Wemos D1 mini).
And installing it in a Wemos D1 mini module is child's play.
- Access the WLED installer web page with a Chrome browser as up to date as possible;
- Connect the Wemos module with a proper cable to a USB port on your computer;
- Click the "Install" button on the page and check the "Clean install" checkbox if it is not checked,
- Click on the COM port with the Wemos attached and on the "Connect" button;
- Wait a few seconds for the installation to complete.
Look at the pictures above too.
You can read more about this web server on the WLED wiki.
Of course you can use other effects, for example you can adapt the programs I used in my instructables mentioned in the introduction.
Step 4: Construction
I uploaded into the Wemos D1 Mini module the WLED web server for addressable LEDs.
Cut the required LED strip pieces:
- Var.1 - 6 pieces of 6 LEDs each
- Var.2 - 6 pieces of 6 LEDs each and 5 pieces of 5 LEDs each
Then stick the pieces from the LED strip as you can see in the photos above, make the connections between the Wemos D1 mini module and the first piece of led strip and the other pieces according to the electronic scheme. Pay close attention to the connections between the LED strip pieces, make sure the DATA OUT of one strip is connected to the DATA IN of the next strip. Then I connected the power cable. I mounted the WEMOS module at the bottom of the box, placed the support with the addressable LEDs on top and covered it with the optical fiber support plate. Cut pieces of decorative optical fiber, I used different pieces with different lengths as you can see in the photos. Then I inserted both ends or just one end of these fibers into the holes in the support plate in the most interesting way possible, give the artist in you a chance :)
You can follow these operations in the photos above.
Step 5: Everything in Action!
You can see in the video below how the Fiber Optic Light Sculpture is shining :)
A word about the background music in the video.
In recent months I have been looking for different sources to get as easy as possible, and if possible for free, original songs for my future videos. So I found that there are more possibilities to create music with the help of an AI. Among the most interesting services dedicated to this purpose that I have tried were:
- AIVA (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist);
- Amper Music;
- Loudly AI studio;
- Ecrett Music;
The background music in this video was generated using Mubert Render. I invite you to try it, the results are surprisingly good. An interesting article about how Mubert seems to work can be read here.
Step 6: Conclusions
I hope you have noticed that my construction is really inspired by the construction of the well-known fiber optic lamps that you can find on the net, but still the differences are noticeable:
- Simple and compact construction;
- Very affordable in terms of component prices;
- Practically infinite fiber arrangement patterns;
- Lots of light effects;
- Open source software solution,
to list the ones that seemed most important to me.
And the area of use? It can be a decorative lamp, even outside, a special chandelier, it can be a good exercise for beginners in micro controllers, especially children and ultimately, why not, an original toy.
I hope I did not bore you with this short article.
As always, I am waiting for your questions and opinions.
Second Prize in the
Lamps and Lighting Contest