It's been 50 years since the movie 2001 was released and in celebration of that event (and to hide the plethora of Amazon Echos in my house), I decided to build a Amazon Alexa Into a HAL9000 replica.
My first attempt was just to build the HAL9000 as a 'holder' for the Amazon Echo, but I decided that was not good enough, and wanted the HAL9000 to be the Alexa.
This is how I did it.
(sorry for the hashtags)
Step 1: Getting the Parts.
I purchased a HAL 9000 'kit' from Golden Armor (Golden Armor Website)
Step 2: Drilling, Ripping, Cutting, Sawing...
I am showing you pictures of my first HAL kit here. This part is universal, and informational.
The drill hole size is 80mm. You want it just a touch smaller so that the Echo Dot fits snugly.
What TRULY amazed me is that HAL9000's 'eye' is exactly the same size as the Amazon Echo Dot!
(I need to chat with Jeff Bezos and see if that was intentional.)
Step 3: Fitting the Alexa
Once the hole was drilled and dremeled, it was time to make sure of fit and snugness while also seeing the effect of the Alexa in the HAL9000.
Step 4: Tuna FISH?????
Yeah, call me crazy: I used a can of tuna as the lens holder (and lunch). It fit the Amazon Echo snugly. I wanted something with a 'shiny ring' around the base of the HAL.
While working on getting the can to fit perfectly, my assistant (my cat) helped me clean the cans thoroughly.
Step 5: The HAL 'eye' or Is OCD Hyphenated?
I am, AM, no, seriously, AM obsessed with getting the HAL 'eye' correct. I think I spent more money on the eye than I did for everything else combined.
The way they did it in the movie was they shone a light into the back of a lens, with a red filter to get that iconic glow. Today we have LEDs and other tech that I used to try and replicate with limited success. I ran into mounting issues, as well as having the glass 'eye' over it and having the wiring, etc., showing.
All in all, I tried 32 variations, till I hit upon one that was 'acceptable' to me (well, kinda sorta).
(Like Hamilton, I will never be satisfied)
Step 6: What I Ended Up Doing. . .
I turned to eBay to solve some of my issues, and discovered this GEM:
Glass Len Size: dia 77x H33mm Tolerance:+/-0.2mm Material: High Temperature Resistance optical glass Light transmittance: 96% Suitable Lighting Source: 20-120w Led Road Lamp Net Weight: 195g Features: High brightness, Uniform Light, No dark shadows
Reflector Diameter: 82mm Reflector Height:17.5mm Reflector bottom size: 26.3x26.3mm Beam Angle: 60degree Reflector material: PC with electroplate
The reflector part was the perfect size to fit inside the tuna can, and act as my mounting plate, and the domed glass (a Cabochon) has a rim that made it secure and easier to mount to the reflector.
Step 7: Intergrating the Alexa Into the Unit
*WARNING* you are about to void your warranty!
OK, you have been warned...
I opened the Echo, removing all the parts, and like a pine tree, used as many of the parts as I could.
I used the black rubber bottom in the reflector as that deep black background. I used the speaker
as the internal speaker for the HALexa. The heat sync was glued (silicon) onto the base, etc.
Step 8: Hybrid
The reflector was hiding the Alexa 'light show', and I wanted there to be a true hybrid of both, so I drilled holes around the base of the reflector (The glass rim hides the holes and lets the light from the 'ring' pass thru).
You can see it's starting to come together.
Step 9: The Eye Again? Huh?
Still not happy.
I decided that instead of an LED, why not try an EL Panel?
I can get a low power inverter, and EL has a Great glow that reminded me of HAL.
At this point, I was trying to add a Yellow LED as part of the design, but it was a fail. I had to come up with a more creative way to get the look.
Step 10: Achiving: NERDVANA
After all the variations, and after all the tests, I have DONE IT and reproduced the HAL eye precisely.
HERE IS HOW IT WAS DONE!
I found .20mm LED lights (there actually 6 red led's in a plastic housing, so there are no 'points of light'
Then drilled a .5mm hole thru the direct center and embedded a .5mm (I dremeled the edge) yellow LED in the center.
Everything is 3.3v—I used a resistor to drop the power down from the 5v feeding the Alexa.
Step 11: The Speaker
The 'Kit' comes with a really nice grill, it's not 'movie accurate' but it's really pretty.
I wanted a speaker behind the grill, instead of it just being a mock up, so I trimmed piece
of a open holed mesh (extra from when I re-did my fireplace), and used it as a template
for the speaker holes.
Step 12: Mounting and Hiding the Holes...
Another one of my obsessions was getting the HAL9000 logo right; the kit comes with a very nice vinyl label, but I wanted it to say ALEXA 9000 so using Photoshop I made up my own labels and had them professionally printed (wasn't happy with a color laser printed version).
I embedded some small magnets in the unit (Picture #4) and pasted a label on a piece of sheet tin, and then using really sharp tin snips, trimmed to size (still not happy with it).
Step 13: Almost Done. Here Is a 360 of It.
I wanted to keep it as compact as possible so it would be flush against the wall, and more HAL-like.
I had the unit professionally painted, since I can't paint a straight line with a T-Square, a ruler, and blue tape.
Step 14: THE FINISHED PRODUCT
This is the FINAL (no it's not, I will always be playing and updating with it) VERSION.
But it's close enough to PRIME TIME!!!