Introduction: The Portal


NeoPixel Reel (60)

Arduino UNO

1/4" acrylic rods (~18')

1 3mm thick 12" x 12" acrylic sheet

1 power button (latching)

1 momentary button

1 microphone

1 2" x 6" x 2' wood


Wood glue


Two wire butt

Flat black spray paint (applicable for both wood and plastic)

9v batter clip snap with 2.1 x 5.5mm male DC plug for Arduino


Solder iron

Table saw

Wire striper

3D printer

USB cable


Arduino IDE

Jig saw


Measuring devices

The portal is a piece of electronic art. The artistic idea was to represent particles of light being drawn into a rip in sub space or a "portal" that traverses from dimensional plain to another which can also be described as a wormhole. This contains two modes, the first being a standard standby animation of the lights flowing towards the "portal (represented in the video as two different versions of this animation). The second mode allows the lights to react to music being played changing its colors based on the music while it follows the standby animation of moving towards the "portal".

I am still working on the code for the lights to react to music. Right now that mode is represented as just the lights changing colors as they loop back to the beginning after reaching the "portal". I will update the video and provide a picture of it fully assembled after this is completed.

Step 1:

Design the pillar tray and the box for the tray. In my case 10 rows of 4 pillar cups that are a 1/2" deep and are .26" x .26". Also a slot to accommodate a 3mm acrylic backing plate. The bottom of the pillar cups have a whole in them to accommodate the NeoPixles and the spacing was designed to accommodate the spacing of the NeoPixles I used.

Step 2:

3D print both the box and the pillar tray.

Step 3:

Paint the 3D prints black.

Step 4:

Strip the weather protectant off of the NeoPixles and cut the strand into 4 strips of 10 and 1 strip of 4.

Step 5:

Cut the acrylic rods into 4 sets of various heights. In my case it was in 1/4" increments going from 2" to 4".

For my design it required 40.

Step 6:

Cut a piece of 2" x 6" into 2 pieces of 2" x 6" x 1'.

Step 7:

Glue the two pieces together then put them in a vice until the glue is dry.

Step 8:

Rip off a little of each side of the block of wood to get a nice solid block of wood with squared edges.

Step 9:

Cut an angled edge all the way around the block of wood. I chose an angle that looked nice and left enough room for the pillar box on the top of the block.

Step 10:

Trace the plastic box onto the wood trapezoid with an 1/2 in on all but one side. Make one side long enough to accommodate the power button, the microphone, and the mode button. Then drill a hole all the way through the box to use as a starting point for the jigsaw. Using the jigsaw, cut out the inner part of the box.

Step 11:

Cut a piece of wood that is the same dimensions as the bottom of the block for the bottom.

Step 12:

Trace the top outside part of the wood box onto the piece of 1/4" veneer wood and then trace the inner top part of the wood box onto the piece of veneer wood. Then trace a smaller rectangle to allow for overhang onto the pillar tray. Then drill a hole all the way through the board to use as a starting point for the jigsaw saw. Using the jigsaw saw, cut out the inner part of the board.

Step 13:

Mark out the locations for the mic, the power button, and the mode button then cut them out.

Step 14:

Insert the pillars into the tray.

Step 15:

Solder the header pins onto the microphone

Step 16:

Solder wires onto each end of the NeoPixel strips

Step 17:

Solder a red wire to one prong of the mode button and solder a black wire to the other prong (does not matter which prongs). Then attach a () 330 ohm resistor to the black wire and another black wire to the resistor.

Step 18:

Cut the red wire for the battery connector in half. Then solder a wire to each ends of the wires. Then solder two wires to the two prongs and connect them to the other two wires.

Step 19:

Tape the lights to the bottom of the pillar tray.

Step 20:

Laser Cut the "portal".

Step 21:

Write the code for the standers animation and for the lights to react to music.

Step 22:

Assemble everything together and you are done.

Step 23: Video