Everyone loves the holidays! But sometimes, your home may not have enough festive imagery. But, that is an easily amendable issue. By shining this holiday-spirit increasing machine, you can add some festive imagery to any party, celebration, or get-together! You can even re-purpose this for a child's birthday party, or as a birthday gift! The lenses are extremely customization, and the pattern on the lens will be reflected onto the surface it shines onto!
Step 1: GATHERING MATERIALS
You will need an assortment of tinkering materials to complete this project. You will need a plastic cup, (I used a 7 cm diameter cup), 16 male to female wires, 8 bright LEDs (you can use whatever color, I just think white is a good neutral), a bread board with an Arduino nano, a battery bank with an Arduino adapter cord, some thin Plexiglas, and access to a laser cutter and laser cutter software.
Step 2: SETTING UP THE FLASHLIGHT BASE
To build the flashlight you will be projecting out of, you will need to poke holes in the bottom of your cup. Use something small, and sharp, like a needle. I used a screwdriver, as I didn't have much around. Poke 8 holes in the bottom, in a square pattern, as shown in the picture.Use the LEDs as additional support, and push them into the already open space, to make the space the right size. DO NOT PUSH THE LEDs ALL THE WAY THROUGH! THIS WILL RESULT IN THE BULBS MOVING AROUND,AND AN UNEVEN LIGHT! WE DO NOT WANT THIS!
Step 3: WIRING THE BULBS
Our next step is to wire up the LEDs so we can actually shine a light. First, wire up a simple LED light up on your bread board. Then, test that it does, in fact, light up an LED. Then, instead of putting the LEDs in directly, put 2 male to female (M-F) wires that are roughly the same length in the places where the legs would go. Then, put the posotive leg into the posotive M-F wire. Then, put the negative leg into the negative wire. Plug your battery bank into the Arduino, and make sure the LED on the end of the wire lights up. If it does, the repeat this with the other 8 LEDs in the same row as the first. Then, plug in the bank again, and test to make sure they work. This should look relatively similar to the picture.
Step 4: MAKING THE LENSES
Now, this is the step that will vary the most person to person. It really depends on what kind of laser cutter you have, as the programs and their mechanics can be drastically different. You are going to want to make a perfect circle one millimeter smaller than the diameter of your cup. Then, import a picture onto the software, and put the picture into the circle, making sure it doesn't get cut off by the edges. Then, engrave the image onto the circle, and cut out only the circle.
Step 5: CUSTOMIZING YOUR PROJECTOR
After you finish all of the other steps, feel free to customize you projector. Color your lenses different colors, decorate your cup, or even find an inventive way to hide the bread board! This is your project, make it your own! Feel free to do anything you want with the project. You could use it for a new years party, Christmas, or really anything! Whatever you choose to do, is your choice.