TENEX - Solid State Volumetric OLED Display

35,764

386

27

Introduction: TENEX - Solid State Volumetric OLED Display

About: I'm a content creator. I make open source projects and videos for said projects. My goal is to create free and open knowledge for everyone.

When we think of our future, we see floating holographic displays, screens and neon everywhere, and the most ridiculous technology. Now we just have boring flat high definition displays from TVs down to our phones and watches. We need to bring our true future forward, the one we always wanted starting with the ridiculously cool mono-colour displays and in this case, a solid state volumetric display.

Volumetric displays come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they generally rely on high frequency moving or spinning parts. Fast enough to cause some damage to humans if they were to come in contact with them. A solid state display uses layers of displays and pixels to give depth to the user.

Follow along if you want to try and build your own. This Instructable is not overly complicated but there is reflow soldering, and the connectors like to cook more than everything else and break. A steady hand is also required. Good luck!

Step 1: Watch the Video

To get you hyped up and see what this thing can do, check out the video I made of it.

Step 2: Parts and Tools

Parts

  • Custom TENEX PCB (Buy on PCBWay I get a percentage of the sale here too, so thanks!)
  • 10 x Transparent OLED Displays (CFAL12856A0-0151-B) (CrystalFonts(no affiliate) or Alibaba)
  • BOM for Circuit board - FindChips
  • M3 Heat Set Threaded Inserts (McMasterCarr)
  • M2 Heat Set Threaded Inserts
  • M3 x 18mm Flat head Screws
  • M3 x 8mm Round Head Screws
  • M2 x 6mm Round Head Screws
  • M2 x 6mm Flat Head Screws
  • Adafruit Feather M4 (Adafruit)
  • 12V Power Supply (Amazon Affiliate Link)
  • Black PLA Filament (Amazon Affiliate Link)
  • Acrylic 3mm (For lasercutting, Optional)
  • Solder Paste
  • Solder

Tools

Step 3: Start the 3D Printing

There are 4 parts to print(3 if you have a lasercutter). Start printing them while you work on other stuff.

Step 4: Build the PCB

I would suggest you buy a stencil when you purchase the PCB. The solder paste can be applied by hand, but much easier to use the stencil, especially because of all of the display connectors.

Semi-Pro tip: If you're using an infrared reflow oven, try to avoid the display connectors from getting direct IR light. They are black and will get much hotter, faster, and might burn before the board is finished reflowing.

Step 5: Assembly

Prints done? Check.

Time to install the threaded inserts and screw everything together.

Work your way from the bottom up. The displays go in last, and be really careful installing the ribbon cables...

Step 6: Programming

I have made some demo programs on the GitHub page for the project.

https://github.com/IdleHandsProject/volumetric_display

The basic principle is that each display operates the same way they would if you were using a single OLED display with the SSD1309 driver. The key difference is that they each are connected to the microcontroller with an individual Chip Select Pin. The displays are connect via SPI pins, and they're all connected together. So if you have to disable all the displays except for the one you are writing data to.

Step 7: Now What?

Ideally you're a better programmer than me and can come up with some really cool demos. I get by, but I'm barely scraping the surface of what is possible with these. There are some other potentials to improve the visuals like embedding them in clear resin, or removing polarizers. Need testing though.

If you build it, be sure to share it on my twitter. @idlehandsdev

I will also be giving one away there too.

Step 8: Support These Open Source Projects

These projects are free and open source. If you like what I do and want to support me, consider becoming a patron on Patreon.

SeanHodgins on Patreon

If you enjoy my videos make sure you subscribe and turn on notifications.

youtube.com/seanhodgins

Microcontroller Contest

First Prize in the
Microcontroller Contest

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
    • Science Fair Challenge

      Science Fair Challenge
    • Home and Garden Contest

      Home and Garden Contest

    27 Comments

    0
    RANDOM KNOWLEDGE
    RANDOM KNOWLEDGE

    Question 1 year ago on Step 1

    ONE THING I DONT GET,
    WHY DID YOU NOT USED AN 3S LIPO POLYMER BATTERY THAT COULD EASILY BE FITTED IN THE HANDLE? TO MAKE IT PORTABLE. A LITTLE 3S 450mAh WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT OR IS THIS PROJECT POWER HUNGRY?

    0
    seanhodgins
    seanhodgins

    Answer 1 year ago

    It is possible. You need a boost converter to get the 12V, but you need one that can handle the 10 displays. Maybe I will do that V2.

    0
    JirkaJ03
    JirkaJ03

    Reply 2 months ago

    I take it that no two displays are displaying at the same time and you're just polling through them to display. If that's really how it works then it should have power consumption comparable to a single OLED + uController, no?

    0
    seanhodgins
    seanhodgins

    Reply 2 months ago

    They are written to one at a time but the pixels on all of the displays can be illuminated at the same time. So they will consume the amount of ten displays operating.

    0
    JirkaJ03
    JirkaJ03

    Reply 2 months ago

    Ah okay, then I can understand the struggle with powering it.

    0
    JohnB50
    JohnB50

    3 months ago

    The future

    0
    banman11
    banman11

    4 months ago

    WOW! Very cool.....

    0
    mill-art
    mill-art

    4 months ago

    FYI tenex is the name of a trademarked software product owned by Boeing and originally developed by kestrel. I would hate to see a cool product like this get swallowed up from suits over a name.

    0
    GlennM97
    GlennM97

    4 months ago

    its pretty cool...ignore the humbugs

    0
    codebeat
    codebeat

    1 year ago

    Hopefully these professional style of 'steve jobs' formulated productions will not overrule less well formulated, the less capable however still functional or great ideas. Hopefully this place does not become a "kickstarter second" that overrule really great ideas because of the way how it is presented to the public. This kind of a stylisch videos became a standard at crowdfund platforms. Don't get me wrong, really nice video however you can sell poop with this kind of 'storyboard' videos. That is fine if you want to but I don't think this is the environment to do this.

    What you have made, with a large amount of effort :-P (see the video - effort most people do with limited resources or capabilities), a tiny screen made of many tiny monochrome screens (using SPI) that can produce a 3D effect. Cool, but that's it. The connectors and cables where a struggle, a hassle to get it right. Hat off. Common, a design can be always a struggle, you don't have to mention this like the way you did. Order of video/scenario: Thinking/difficult, must be done, struggle, thinking, compose, briljant product, wow. Typical kickstarter formula.

    If you win because the way of how you present your 'product', i am out. I am not into competition, I don't want this will be a "kickstarter second" place. I like this platform because there is no standard, everybody can post their creativity the way they can and want.

    Hopefully you do understand, and others, my concerns.

    0
    themelispan
    themelispan

    1 year ago

    Everytime I see an instructable like this, the author tells me sth like: Darling, you've no idea what's possible. Thanks for sharing! I will make it some day (or at least I hope so it's very expensive). Also an idea for a future project: use these transparent OLED displays to make smart glasses it would be awesome!

    0
    jeans127
    jeans127

    1 year ago

    非常酷的instructables, 请问你能否提供其他关于OLED显示器的连接?

    0
    AlyssonR2
    AlyssonR2

    1 year ago

    WOW!

    What else can I say?
    My only complaint is that these OLED panels are tiny - Roll on the time of the 8" (and larger) panels! And colour ... Don't forget colour.

    0
    XTL
    XTL

    Tip 1 year ago

    red gel on top of the deepest display and reserve it for "Emergencies"

    0
    Entropismo
    Entropismo

    1 year ago

    Brilliant. Everything. Congratulations. Thank you.

    0
    tonyio
    tonyio

    1 year ago

    Fantastic work that will inspire a legion of empowered creative minds.

    0
    electronstogo
    electronstogo

    1 year ago

    Awesome!
    + this video is the coolest one I have seen in a long time.