Introduction: Flower of Light

About: ... using laser cutter, PCBs, 3D-Printer and whatever i get into my hands to build things

As part of my two-way-mirrors and LEDs are fun projects, and as a nice eye-catcher for our Personal-Photonics or Freie Maker exhibits i made a Flower of live art piece, might work especially well for our outdoor camping trip next month (CCCamp 2019, yay). Special thanks to Laserkatze, having a laser cutter is big enough to cut 90cm diameter pieces :)

Material is just an arduino at the moment, a bunch of WS2812 strips (60 LEDs/m, 5m each, slightly below 6 strips in total) and a 5V powersupply which can deliver a bunch of Ampere for the electronics. A ESP32 NodeMCU module (or an Arduino) control at the moment the strips.

I used a 90cm circle of spy mirror acrylic for the front, and another circle of (cheaper) mirror acrylic with difusse acrylic inserts for the back. A bunch of laser cut 3mm cartoon sheets works as distance holder and support.

Finally, the borders are covered with a flexible Slatelite real stone verneer, such one would have a nice big mirror with stone frame if turned of.

While some layers are glued together for stability, at the end the mayority mount is done with M3 lens head screws from top and bottom, with 5mm diameter, M4 threaded sleeve in the middle, holding both screws togehter.

Step 1: Design

Since we just stack a bunch of lasercut pieces together, the whole design can be made in 2D, e.g. in Inkscape. Designing the Flower is rather easy, make first just one circle in the appropriate smallest diameter (just fill, no stroke), then add a stroke in the corresponting line with (the diffuse acrylic part (6mm) or 12mm for the LED-strip channels below). Since we want to have just the border at the end, we perform the stroke into lines operation. Afterwards we segment it into 6 parts by first dividing it into two halves (intersection/difference with a rectangle), then rotation by 60 degree and an intersection of both halves. With two duplicates rotated another 60 and 120 degree the circle is complete again and can be - after a break apart operation - grouped into on circle.

Afterwards the circle is duplicated and move it in diameter/2 steps in one direction (9 times), then grouped an duplicated/rotated by 60 degree two times. Then ungroup and duplicate/move in diameter/2 steps until the base form is complete.

Finaly, design the outer ring with circle in the bigger diameter and corresponding stroke size again and center it in the middle. Afterwards, ungroup all smaller circles and delete unnecessary ring segments (might need some rotations of the circles beforehand).

Complete! Final wrap ups: Holes for the screws in the edges, dividing into smaller parts for cartoon cutting etc. Then lasercut the parts and start assembling.

Step 2: Assembly

We start with the bottom circle and glue stacks of triangles and lenses on top, making at least 10 cm deep canyons for the strips, the mirror flower of live (or the diffuse acrylic counterpart) might work as position guide (which means: Milling would be also an option).

Afterwards the strips are inserted, just starting in circles from outside to inside such that you get a strip in each canyon. At some points you will run into dead ends (a good point to just end the strip and begin a new one at a different position), but with 6 strips in total everything should run relative smooth. Data and power lines are then guided to the backside through holes, and the strips are fixated especially at the beginning and end with hot glue.

On the backside, power and datalines are connected with each other and the power supply and controller.

The next part is the mirror/diffuse part. here we place first the mirror inlays into the diffuse acrylic flower of life, then fixate everthing with transparent glue tape (on the backside of the mirrors). The whole plate is then put on top of the led/canyon structure.

Time to insert the threaded sleves in the acrylic and screws from the back, then start putting distance rings at the border on top of each other.

Finally, add the last plate of spy mirror acrylic on top, as well as the screws. While that will already work in the dark, we added an additional layer of stone verneer as outer ring on top as well as corresponding verneer on the sides.

Step 3: Enjoy!

... surpisingly, the Colorpalette demo of the FastLED library already works fine (just make sure to insert the right pin and number of LEDs).

Next steps would be individual control of each strip, mapping of the LEDs postions and then try to add video camera control (displaying a colorfull shadow of a person on the mirror) as well as sound control and other fun stuff. But for the moment, this first test already looks nice.