For my Final Project I was extremely interested in using LEDs in a matrix formation and I was not disappointed. I decided to create my own LED Matrix Table which I could place in my dorm room or living room at home. I thought it would be a really cool addition to my room and I was able to play around with LEDs which is always a positive. I enjoyed working on this project and I am very pleased with the final result of the table.
Step 1: Purchase Materials
I purchased the LACK side table from IKEA for $7.99, and 2 strands of 50 WS2811 LED lights for $15.99 a strand, and an arduino esp32 for $10.
Step 2: Test LEDs
Before I drilled holes into the table, I laid the LEDs out in an 8 X 8 grid and tested the code to see how it would display on the table. I connected the LEDs to my laptop with an arduino esp32 and a micro USB cable. I used a simple library just to make sure the LEDs were functional and the code could transfer properly.
Step 3: Write Code
I combined code from different libraries and combined bits and pieces to create 1 final code. This can be controlled using your phone with the help of a web server; I created 3 different functions with this code (rainbow, magic8ball, and it can display any text after the /). The rainbow function is a series of patters/illusions, the magic8ball function works as a magic 8 ball so you would ask it a question and the table will answer, and the last function can display any words you would like it to. It connects to a router and to use the table, you have to open the internet and search the IP address with a slash, (/); in this case, 192.168.2.2/"whichever function you would like to use". I have attached the final code.
Step 4: Drill Holes
The next step would be to drill the holes into the table. I measured out the length between the LED strands and decided that an 8 X 8 grid would be best for the size of this table. After that, I drew a grid on the back of the table which would represent where the holes would be drilled through in order to make the holes line up with one another. Once that was done I used a hand drill to drill the 64 holes through the table.
Step 5: Plug LEDs in Table and Connect!
Finally, I plugged the LEDs into their designated hole and hot glued them in place. I hot glued 2 sheets of PETG on top of the table to protect and disperse the lights which reduces the blinding effect, makes the table easier to read, and can deal with spills. I connected my phone to the router's wifi and I was able to successfully use the table. I had extra LEDs since I purchased 100 and only needed 64 for the table so I added the remaining LEDs to the bottom of the table to add an underglow effect.