The GLOWPAD is an RGB Backlight Mousepad that can be any color you can imagine!
The design takes advantage of the fact that sanded acrylic diffuses light, this allows an even spread of light around a perimeter with only 1 LED. It uses 1 LED and an Arduino Nano to power it and change the colors.
Enough reading, let's get started!
Credit to this video for the design, I modified it quite a bit though.
Don't have the time, but have the money? For just $18USD (less than a tshirt!) you can buy the GLOWPAD at my store, here. It comes with everything you need to get it up and running in no time, and if you use the code "%SEVEN" you get 7% off your order (yes, 7%) no minimum and free shipping on orders over $75.
Step 1: The Stuff
This is a pretty simple project - so grab your supplies:
Acrylic Sheet (you choose the size you want)
1x WS2811 LED
3x Female Breadboard Wires
Step 2: Prepare the Acrylic
First off, grab that LED - and sand the round part down into a rectangle shape piece - make sure it is flush with the acrylic you are using.
Next, you need to cut the acrylic into your desired size, I cut mine into a 245x210mm sheet because the acrylic I used already had a cut there so, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Note, you shouldn't try and cut the acrylic with a normal wood saw blade because it chips it, you need a grinding blade (I got to try out my new shiny diamond saw blade!)
After I cut the acrylic, I sanded it back so that the edge was nice a smooth so you don't cut your wrist (yup) - make sure to sand all the sides too.
Now you need to cut a spot out of the acrylic at the top for the LED to fit into (see pictures) Don't worry if this is messy because it will be covered in the final product - just make sure the end of the LED is flush with the cut - this makes it so that the light is transferred from the LED to the acrylic as effectively as possible.
Step 3: Electronics
So grab your Female breadboard wires and strip off one end, and connect it like this:
LED -> Arduino:
5v -> VIN
GND -> GND
DataIN -> Pin 9
Note! You aren't soldering the wires to the LED, they are breadboard wires so you can remove them later if you wish. The connections should line up though.
Also, make sure to solder a row of 3 male breadboard pins to the LED (as seen in the pictures).
Now, you can grab your hot glue gun and hot glue the LED to the cutout in the acrylic. Make sure the front tip of the LED is as close as possible to the acrylic so that the light gets spread out evenly.
You should also put a dab of hot glue on the 3 female breadboard pins so that they are held together well.
(Be sure to put them in order corresponding to the LED)
Step 4: Packaging It Up
A small step but it makes all the difference.
Make sure to cover the Arduino in something to stop it shorting, I used cardboard because that's what I had with me, (you could possibly 3D print a case too).
Use a but of hot glue to help with the cable management too.
Step 5: Cardboard Covering
Now for the mouse to actually work you need something for it to be on that's close, not just clear acrylic; as most optical mice don't work on clear acrylic.
I chose to use black card that I got from the local newsagent for a dollar, it contrasts very well with the light coming from the side of the acrylic.
To apply the card to the acrylic, simply stick it on - using hot glue, PVA glue, etc - making sure the card is tight and there aren't any ripples. Then you can just cut the excess off the edges.
Step 6: Programming
There aren't many effects you can do with a single LED, so I chose to just go with a rainbow fade, luckily, adafruit's Neopixel library already has code for a looping rainbow so I just went with that.
Neopixel Library Here or in the arduino IDE's library manager
That's it - you're done. If you made it here you obviously liked the project, so make sure to vote for it in the contests.
Also while you're at it, you should check out my website at pixelsworkshop.tictail.com. (p.s. It's pretty cool)