Make an Infinity YouTube Play Button / Subscriber Counter

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About: Creating DIY projects

Sometimes when people reach different milestones on YouTube, they will create their own play button. I decided that I would love to do that too, and I also wanted to have a subscriber counter. So to accomplish both goals, I came up with this: an Infinity Play Button! The infinity has a double meaning here because it has the subscriber counter AND the play button mirror is also an infinity mirror.

For the infinity mirror I just used a regular LED strip controller. For the subscriber counter display, that's being controlled by an Arduino. I didn't create the code that I used here, but I found this video made by the person who did create the code. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bePgZIXHSkM

Here is a video that I made where I updated their video: https://youtu.be/YBJOAiQ848c

I have also made a video of this Instructable, and you can check that out here: https://youtu.be/YaTuyXnq8VI

This was a pretty big project. Hopefully I described the steps well, and it is very important to also refer to the pictures that I have added.

Here is what I used for it:

Tools:

Parts:

Supplies:

Step 1: Make the Layout

On my computer I made a layout of how I wanted the play button to look, and printed it out. I wanted a subscriber counter, and I used this LED matrix display for that. For the play button mirror, I used this 5 1/2 round mirror.

On this sheet of copper colored aluminum, I marked all of my lines. The aluminum sheet is 12" x 14 1/2" and the final play button will be 8 1/2" x 11". I added alignment lines to help me center and align the play button emblem. After attaching it to the metal sheet, I traced around it. I used double sided removable tape to help me hold it in place. I also drew the triangle in place, extending each of the lines.

Step 2: Shaping the Box

Now I can shape out the box of the play button. I cut out the corner, saving these pieces for later. Next I clamp the metal sheet between 2 pieces of straight wood to help me bend the sides correctly. After bending as far as I can by hand, I used a soft headed hammer to help me square out the edges. Once the sides are all bent into place, I use my Dremel with a cutoff wheel to cut out the opens for the matrix display and the mirror, not cutting all of the way to the lines. I save the piece with the drawn triangle for later.

Step 3: Making the LED Frame

Now I make the LED frame. Using 1" square dowel, I glue together a rectangle with 2 pieces that are 5" long and 2 pieces that are 3 1/2" long. I also have a smaller template that I made to trace the correct shape onto my frame. Using a drum sanding bit with my Dremel, I carve out the shape into the frame, then I paint the top and inside with flat black paint.

To attach the LED strip, I remove most of the paper backing, but leave a bit of the backing at the ends so they won't be stuck in place before I solder the wires on. I attach this strip inside the frame, all of the way to the top edge. I add a second LED strip, keeping the LEDs of each strip lined up with each other. I drill holes through the frame at the ends of both strips for the wires. I solder on a connector wire to the beginning of the first strip, soldering the wires to the back side of the LED strip after cleaning the glue off with rubbing alcohol. Then using another set of wires I solder the end of the first strip to the beginning of the second strip.

With the LED strips attached and soldered, I needed to shorten the frame to size. Using my Dremel again, I sand the back of it down to the level of the LED strips, then using sandpaper and a sanding block I sand the frame flat and smooth.

Step 4: Aligning the Frame With the Box

Next I align the LED frame to the mirror opening and mark where I need the actual opening edges to be. I use a metal hand file to carefully file up to these marks. I also filed the opening for the matrix display this same way (I forgot to take pictures of this.)

Step 5: The First Plastic Layer

I decided to use 2 pieces of plastic (each about 1/8" thick) and this step is for the first plastic piece. I tape it to the inside, then from the outside I trace the opening. Now I can cut out the opening, again not cutting up to the line. To get it to the exact size, I tape it back into place and use my sanding drum bit to sand the plastic to shape.

Step 6: The Second Plastic Layer

For the second piece of plastic, I keep it whole and apply a golden colored partially transparent mirror film. Then to hold all of these pieces together, I drill 4 corner holes into the frame, and each of the pieces of plastic. I also countersink the holes for the first piece of plastic and screw both of these pieces to the frame.

Step 7: Fitting the Mirror

The mirror that I used has a plastic frame around it, and I needed it to sit flush against the LED frame. Holding it in position, I trace around it, then using my Dremel and a grinding bit I carve out a groove for the mirror frame to rest in.

Step 8: Adding the Buttons Triangle

I take my assembled LED frame and put the play button emblem into the cutout. I put marks on the plastic that match up to the alignment lines that I used earlier, then using a ruler I draw lines on the plastic between these marks.

Grabbing the aluminum piece with the triangle I cut out earlier, I cut out the triangle, leaving a bit extra for the sides. I also cut out notches at each of the 3 corners of the triangle. Using the same technique for bending the sides of the box, I also bend the 3 sides of the triangle, using a wooden triangle that is slightly smaller than the metal triangle needs to be. I also trimmed the sides of the triangle using a cutoff wheel to about 1/8".

Now I needed to cut out the triangle from the second piece of plastic. Since my metal triangle still has alignment marks on it, I line those up and trace around it. Then I center the wood triangle and trace around that. When I cut the shape out of the plastic, I cut it to the size of the wood triangle.

The final step for making the play button triangle, I put the wood triangle into the opening and glue the metal triangle onto it, making sure the alignment marks stay lined up as the glue dries.

Step 9: Positioning the Wood Supports

I decided that I would use pieces of wood to help support the parts inside of the box. The top piece has a cutout just big enough to hold the top of the LED frame. Underneath the LED frame I'll have a removable block to keep the frame from falling, and that block will be held in place by a permanent block. The matrix display will also be supported by a block. I trace around each of the blocks that will be permanently attack to the metal.

Step 10: Gluing the Wood Supports

Now it's time to glue everything together. To reinforce the corners of the box, I grab the 4 corner pieces I cut out at the beginning and bend them in half. These will be glued to the corners. Before gluing any of the pieces into place I grind into the surface of every part of metal that will be glued. (Check out this YouTube video that I made to help me decide to use this glue: https://youtu.be/Rwrf2ISUtVQ)

I glue and clamp each of the 4 corners. For the wood pieces, I used the same glue. I also used an extra piece of wood on the opposite side to help distribute the force of the clamps.

After the corner supports were finished, the top wood support didn't quite fit, so I made a few notches in it to help it fit past the corner supports.

Step 11: Positioning the Matrix Display

Now I can put the matrix display into place. I used a little bit of hot glue to secure it to the wood, making sure the front of the display was flush with the front of the box.

Step 12: Securing the Sliding Support

Now with all of the permanent parts glued into place, I put the LED frame into position and place the removable block underneath it. It's a bit thicker than I want it to be, so I make a mark where I need to cut it down. Then I take that small piece that I cut off, trimmed it down a little, and filed a bit of a ledge onto it to help keep the removable piece from slipping out. I sized it so that the removable piece can slide past it from either side to be removed. This piece I glued into place with wood glue.

Step 13: Supporting the Mirror

It's time to finish off with positioning the mirror. I needed to trim down the top support to fit the mirror and used the same technique that I used on the LED frame.

Now to hold the mirror in position. I mark the frame where I need to put the mirror supports. Using a 1/16" drill bit I drill a hole where I added a 16 gauge wire. I bent the wire around the mirrors support. I did this with both ends of the mirror.

Step 14: Final Touches

At this point the play button was pretty much done, so I remove the protective plastic later from the front of it. At the last minute I decided that instead of having a copper colored play button, I would rather have a bronze colored play button. I masked off the second layer of plastic, removed the matrix display, and sanded all of the metal surfaces that I wanted to paint. The paint that I chose is bronze colored and has a hammered finish.

While putting everything back together after the paint dried, I changed the golden film for bronze colored film. I also decided to wrap the wood triangle with aluminum foil tape. I figured that this would look better when the LEDs were on.

Step 15: That's It!

And that's pretty much everything! The Arduino code that I used was created by someone else. I found this video that they made, and they have a link to their code from there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bePgZIXHSkM

Check out this video I made where I update their code: https://youtu.be/YBJOAiQ848c

Thanks for checking out my Instructable!! Keep an eye out for a follow-up Instructable when I create my own Arduino code for this play button. I would love any comments or suggestions.

Step 16: Bonus Photos

As a bonus, I made 3 versions of the mirrored plastic: Golden, silver, and bronze. I took picture of each with the copper color and the bronze color. I would absolutely love feedback on which color combinations look the best!!

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