Arduino Paraffin Oil / Water Dot Matrix Display




This was a demo project for the Maker Faire Hannover 2016. The project was inspired by the work of the artist Julius Popp.

We are using a transparent hose, 2 peristaltic pumps and an Arduino Uno with motor shield to build a simple display. The pumps pressing a pattern of water and red paraffin oil in the hose. In the end a text will be visible.

Please visit our website for more information.

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Step 1: Materials & Tools

- wooden panel

- 10m transparent hose (diameter 3mm)

- 2 peristaltic pumps with stepper motor

- Arduino Uno

- motor shield

- closed vessel

- cable straps

- 12V power supply

- t-junction for hose

- 5 control buttons

- optional Arduibox enclosure

Step 2: Functional Principle

The pumps pressing a pattern of water and red paraffin oil in the hose. In the end a text will be visible.

Step 3: Prepare the Reservoire

The reservoir was an old vessel for instant tee. Paraffin oil is easier as water and will swim on the top. You have to place 3 lead-ups to the vessel with different length of hose inside:

  • to the bottom for the water pump
  • to the middle for the paraffin pump
  • to the top for the reflow

Step 4: Prepare the Control Unit

Stick the Arduino Uno and the motor shield into the arduibox protoboard. It's useful to mount the arduibox and a 12V power supply together to a din rail. Connect 5 push buttons to the A0 - A4 pins of the Arduino.

Step 5: Mount the Peristaltic Pumps

Drill 2 holes in the wooden panel and mount the pumps in this holes. Connect the hose as in the picture above. You have to connect the cables of the parafin pump to stepper out put 1 of the shield and the water pump to stepper output 2.

Step 6: Mount the Transperent Hose

You have to fix 5 rows of transparent hose with the cable straps to the wooden panel. The minimum lenght of each row is 80 cm. Connect one end of the hose to the t-junction and the other end with the reflow junction of the reservoir

Thats all. You will find the firmware for the Arduino on our website.

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Good work, I like it gives me some good ideas.

    Eric Brouwer

    3 years ago

    This is indeed one of the most interesting display methods I have seen.