Neopixel Running Water Faucet Lamp




Introduction: Neopixel Running Water Faucet Lamp

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NYC water is da best. Word. Well, maybe not if you live near the Gowanus.

Make this cool freestanding lamp that simulates some glowing substance flowing into your cup or wessel. It will never runneth over so no need to worry about liquids and electrical shock.

Step 1: Plumber's Crack...

So I was changing out an old toilet for a new water conserving one and as with any old house, the shutoff valve needed to be changed out too. It was a heavy brass valve that was well aged, at least 50 or 60 years old and quite suitable for a steampunk project so I threw it in the miscellaneous parts bucket for future use.

I just finished creating a Neopixel Fallout Nuka Cola Quantum lamp so I had an Adafruit Flora arduino wired up 2 strings of Neopixels and a Neopixel ring. It was programmed with a sequence of color wipes and theater chase light animation in various colors.

Why not use that to create one of those Water Spigot lamps that looks like it has water oozing from it. Yeah, I had a right angle valve, not really a spigot but hey... With the ability to animate the Neopixel LEDs, you can achieve the effect of flowing water. Changing colors makes it even cooler.

Step 2: Go With the Flow...

I needed a clear tube to simulate the column of water flowing from the faucet. It just happens that the tube of epoxy putty - used for more than plumbing repairs - was available and was just the right diameter.

I hot glued the closed end of the plastic tube to one of the valve inlets. If I had the round knob on top instead of mounting it and sticking out the side, it would have been a little easier to set and balance upright in the cup.

I got some heavy wire which I bent into some sort of a stand for the plastic tube.. I had to fidget with it a bit to make a U shaped kind of clip that was able to balance and support the plastic tube in an upright position. One end of the clip fits into the tube and the other end props itself against the opposite side.

Wrap the Neopixel strips with a bit of fiberfill batting to diffuse the light. Make sure to point the LEDs outward for most light. The two Neopixel strips were placed back to back so light comes out all around. Insert the assembly into the tube and pack as much fiberfill as needed.

Gently wind all the rest to sit inside the cup. Cover with some more fiberfill to create a frothy head on the drink.

Test out the lights as you go because all the flexing and bending might loosen up the fragile connections the Neopixels have on the strip or to the main board.

The only thing I had to adjust in the programming was changing the loop counters to make the light animations run in the opposite direction so it looked like water was flowing from the faucet.

Step 3: Coffee, Tea, Water...

Use your favorite coffee mug or reuse that Latte Grande cup from your local coffee joint as the base of the lamp to show what is in your morning swill.

Have another cup to relax and watch the blinkenlights.




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    15 Discussions

    Do you have the sketch for this particular animation? I've tried playing around with StrandTest but I always get a ton of errors. This is wicked awesome. I've got the Neopixels all set up, just need the code :(

    3 replies

    Oh and totally fangirling over the nuka cola bottle. I would totally hire you as an interior decorator for our guest room. So far it's Fallout with a dash of Super Mario. Might throw in some Star Wars.

    Whatever you make of your vault, put it up on instructables!

    Thanks, I added the zipped sketch in the first step of the ible. Don't expect much as I only reused the colorwipe and theaterchase functions. I have two strands of neopixels that are wired up to the same data pin so they light up in sync. I have a neopixel ring wired up to another pin. Coding wise you have to create separate or duplicate objects/functions to drive the strands and the ring. You can see where it is defined for colorwipe for the strands and colorwiper for ring. I used 30-i, number of neopixels-i as loop counter to reverse the direction of the strand. i-- doesn't seem to work for me. The rest is just making it light up the way you want, keep the final light color of the ring on while you "pour" in some more light with the theater chase which does its effect by lighting up every third pixel and shifting.

    Very cool! You should be proud of the finished product you have created!

    I was wondering tho about the Neo pixels...where can they be found and how did you wire them up? Or am I wandering into privileged teritory? ; )

    3 replies


    Neopixels are the name given to addressable LEDs (ws2812 or sk6812). They have a built in chip so they can be controlled individually one by one unlike a string of regular rgb leds that you can only turn all on or off in one color.

    Adafruit sells them and has tutorials, like instructables, on a whole bunch of fun things to make with neopixels (search on "neopixels"). You can use most arduinos to control them. They are just wired to a data pin, +5 volts and ground. They come as individual elements, in strips, rings, matrices or configure your own by cutting apart strips. There is a version of neopixels called Dotstars that you can use with raspberry pi. And they are extremely bright and great for wearable projects. Check em out. Good luck.

    Wow! It’s amazing when a whole world exists right under your nose and you are oblivious to it!
    Thank you for your very detailed explanation!

    Now you see the light? haha.

    I forgot to add, programming these are not really complicated when you have the basic "strandtest" demo program with the product tutorials. You just play around with the chunks of code for the various animations and change the timing/rgb color values and voila! You learn to program as you experiment.

    Thanks. It's pretty simple to put together.