Rave Shades: the Self Assembly LED Glasses Kit.




About: I make things because its fun and I like the challenge.
Due to the amount of interest in the Led Glasses that I created and the constant stream of messages asking for help with making them. I decided to make a self assemble kit that reduces the amount of work that is required of you to make your own. The kit has undergone several revisions and is now at a stage to be sold in small numbers.

I will post new updates on the Facebook page, so:

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Step 1: Parts & Components

Parts required for the "RS Basic" kit and included with the "RS Deluxe" kit :
  • 4x        Latching shift registers(74HC595)
  • 8x        NPN transistors (ZTX451 or BFY52)
  • 24x      Resistors (82R for blue, green or white LEDs, or 150R for red LEDs)
  • 8x        Resistors (1K)
  • 1x        Arduino Nano (arduino clones should also work)
  • 154x    Diffused LEDs (3mm, 20mA, get 200 of them, in-case of or repairs)
  • 4x        8-way Ribbon cable 10 inches to 13 inches (the length is dependent head girth)
  • 1x        Battery Box with switch (4xAA type)

Useful and Recommended Extras: (not included with either kits)

  • ISO A5 Sized Foam Sheet (3 mm to 5 mm in thickness)
  • Plastic housing to protect the glasses
  • Your own animations !!!
  • 15-way female pin header

Step 2: Tools & Supplies

To assemble this kit you will need the following tools:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Side  Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Hot melt glue gun
  • Scalpel or X-Acto knife

To assemble these kits, you will need the following supplies:

  • Solder (multi-core flux, finer gauge is better) x 
  • Flux (pen or paste)
  • Solder wick  
  • Hot melt glue
  • Marker Pen

Step 3: Assembling the Driver Circuit: 1K Resistors

In order to control each led individually the SIPO (Serial-In-Parallel-Out) driver must be assembled. As the driver is sightly easier to solder, I would recommend making it before the glasses. The driver PCB included with your kit may differ in design and appearance, however its functionality is completely the same. As resistors are more durable and less susceptible to thermal damage it is best to solder these first.

Just follow these steps: 
  1. Identify the 1K resistors, they will have the color code "brown, black, red, gold", or "brown, black, black, brown" if they are blue resistors. (Image 1)
  2. Bend  one leg of every resistor back on itself. (Image 2)
  3. Insert a 1K resistor into the PCB in any of the following locations: R25 up to R32. (Image 3)
  4. Bend the legs of the resistor outwards, and then solder the resistor in place. (Images 4 and 5)If you new to soldering or would like to improve your technique, I recommend watching this great video by Dave Jones at the EEVblog.
  5. Trim any excess off of the legs using a pair of side cutters. (Image 6)
  6. Inspect the solder joint and fix if necessary. (Image 7)
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6 until all 8 of the 1K resistor are soldered. (Images 8 and 9)

Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 4: Assembling the Driver Circuit: 82R Resistors

Just like before, follow these steps:
  1. Identify the 82R resistors, they will have the color code "grey, red, black, gold". (Image 1)
  2. Bend  one leg of every resistor back on itself. (Image 2)
  3. Insert a resistor into the PCB in any of the following locations: R1 up to R24. (Image 3)
  4. Bend the legs of the resistor outwards, and then solder the resistor in place. (Images 4 and 5)
  5. UTrim any excess off of the legs using a pair of side cutters. 
  6. Inspect the solder joint and fix if necessary.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6 until all 24 of the resistors are soldered in place. (Images 6, 7, 8 and 9)
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 5: Assembling the Driver Circuit: Shift Registers

The shift register is a key part of the driver and allow 24 pins to be controlled with just 3 pins on the arduino. 

Just like before, follow these steps:
  1. Identify the small notch on one end of the chip. (Image 1)
  2. Bend  the legs of the chip slightly inwards. (Images 2 and 3)
  3. Insert the chip onto the PCB. 
  4. Bend the legs to keep the chip held in place. (Image 4)
  5. Solder all pins on the chip.
  6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 for all 4 chips. (Image 5)
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 6: Assembling the Driver Circuit: NPN Transistors

The transistors allow the Arduino to switch between each led row very quickly and create an image.

Once again, follow these steps:
  1. Identify the curved side of the transistor. (Images 2 and 3)
  2. Bend  the legs of the transistor outwards and then insert the transistor into the PCB. (Images 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Solder each leg of the transistor in place, leaving the transistor to cool down each time. This is because transistors are more susceptible to thermal damage. (Images 6 and 7)
  4. Trim the excess transistor legs using a pair of side cutters. (Image 8) 
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 for all 8 transistors. (Image 9)
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 7: Assembling the Driver Circuit: Arduino Nano

The are two ways of doing this step. Method one, simply requires you to solder the arduino in place. This has its advantages, as it prevents the arduino from falling out when in use. However, method two allows you to remove the arduino at any time but uses requires two 15 pin headers, which can be found here

Method one:
  1. Identify the USB connector on the arduino.
  2. Insert the arduino into the PCB so that the arduino has the same orientation as the image on the PCB. (Image 1)
  3. Solder the arduino to the PCB. (Image 2)
Method two: 
  1. Using a pair of side cutters, cut the header connector so that there are two 15 pins pieces.
  2. Solder the header connectors onto the PCB.
  3. Identify the USB connector on the arduino.
  4. Plug the arduino into the header connector. Make sure that the arduino has the same orientation as the image on the PCB. (Images 1 and 3)

Step 8: Soldering the Glasses Frame:

The LEDs should be securely soldered to the PCB to allow it to properly function. In order to fit all the LED's, PCB tracks and viewing holes on the glasses, each solder pad had to be reduced in size, which means more care has to be taken when soldering this part. However, with a little patience and some practice, it will be easier than doing it the original way. The glasses PCB is shown at the bottom of image 1.

Just follow these steps:
  1. Identify the front of the glasses PCB. (Image 2)  
  2. Identify the longest pin on a LED. (Image 3)
  3. Insert the LED with the longest pin on the left and the shortest pin to the right. (Images 4 and 5)
  4. Bend the legs of the LEDs outward to stop them from falling out. (Image 6)
  5. Heat up the soldering iron and practice soldering one LED at a time. Ensure the iron is hot enough and that you allow enough time for the solder to flow through the solder pad. 
  6. Using a pair of side cutters, remove the excess LED pins leaving as little poking out of the back as possible. 
  7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 for the remaining 153 LEDs......
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 9: Foam Padding:

This part is optional, however it is highly recommended as it make the glasses safer and more comfortable. The foam padding that was used, was salvaged from a mouse mat and was 5 mm in thickness. This is a good thickness as it keeps the sharp solder joints away from your eyeballs. THUS, IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Just follow these steps:
  1. Lay the glasses on the foam. (Image 1)
  2. Draw around the glasses with a pen or pencil. (Images 2 and 3)
  3. Cut along this outline with a scalpel. 
  4. Lay the PCB on top of the foam cutout. 
  5. Using a pen or pencil, mark out each of the eye holes. 
  6. Cut around this cluster of markings, leaving enough room to see through every hole. (Images 4 and 5)
  7. Using a hot melt glue gun, carefully glue this foam cutout onto the the PCB. Make sure the every solder pad on each side (A,B,C & D) are all accessible from both sides. (Image 6)
  8. An additional piece of foam can be glued on, to keep the glasses from sliding down when worn. (Image 9)
  9. Repeat steps 1 to 7 for the led driver circuit board.
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 10: Connecting the Glasses to the Led Driver

Now comes the task of connecting both circuit boards together. To do this, four lengths of 8-way ribbon cable must be soldered to each set of solder pads on the circuit boards. A goes to A, B goes to B, C goes to C and so on.  

Just follow these steps:
  1. Re-read this page and check out the diagram, as it crucial to get this part right for the glasses to work properly.
  2. Cut the wire with a pair of scissors to get a flat edge. (Image 2)
  3. Separate the cable into 8 wires just at either end.
  4. Strip a small amount of insulation off of each wire. (Image 3)
  5. Solder each wire the cable to each pad in box A of the driver.  Makes sure you solder wires in a linear fashion and keep them in the order that are in the cable. (Image 4)
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for the other 3 cables. You should be left with 4 different 8-way cables coming out of the driver circuit.
  7. Using a hot glue gun, glue the wires in place to prevent them from snapping off. (Image 5)    
  8. Try resting the driver and glasses on your head to determine where to cut the cables.
  9. Mark the cables with a pen but remember to add an inch or two, otherwise the glasses will be hard to put on and take off.
  10. Repeat steps 2 to 7, in order to attach the glasses to the cables.
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 11: Providing Power

Rave Shades™ require a 5V DC supply, capable of providing around 500mA (peak) of current. This means you can power it through a USB port, on a laptop, tablet, netbook, or portable USB battery pack. These battery pack have really started to come down in price so it might be worth checking out. (Image 2) However, if you prefer a cheaper method, you could use a 4AA battery pack with a built in switch. (Image 1) 

Using a USB supply:
  1. Find a USB cable that is long enough to reach the glasses from where you plan to keep the battery.
  2. Cut one end of the cable off using a pair of scissors or side cutters.
  3. Strip the plastic insulation off to reveal the metal shielding mesh.
  4. Remove the mesh to reveal 2 or 4 wires. (Image 3)
  5. Cut off all wires apart from the red and black ones.
  6. Strip the red and black wires to reveal a small amount of metal. (Image 4)
  7. Solder the red wire to the 5V pad and the black wire to the GND pad. (Image 5)
  8. Turn the battery pack on. The arduino lights should come on, if they don't light up, immediately turn off the battery pack and check for faults.

Using a battery box:
  1. Find some fine gauge speaker cable.
  2. Strip the plastic insulation off both ends to reveal the copper wire.
  3. Solder the red wire of the battery box to a wire in the speaker cable, and solder the other end to the 5V pad on the PCB. (Image 5)
  4. Solder the black wire of the battery box to the other wire in the speaker cable and then solder that to the GND pad of the PCB. (Image 5)
  5. Insert 4 AA batteries and turn it on. The arduino lights should come on, if they don't light up, immediately turn off the battery pack and check for faults. 
Click on any image to get a better look.

Step 12: Testing and Trouble Shooting

At this stage you will probably be really excited to try out your own animations. However, it is a good idea to try out the demo code, as it will help you determine if you assembled the kit correctly.

Demo test:
  1. Download the Default_Animation code at the bottom of this page and open it with the Arduino IDE software.
  2. Plug the USB cable into the arduino and the computer.
  3. Select the correct board by clicking Tools > Board > Arduino Nano w/ Atmega328
  4. Upload the code to the arduino.
  5. If your glasses run all the animations properly, you can skip this page. If the animations don't look right you should continue reading this page.

Trouble Shooting

Double check your connections between both boards:
  1. Is connection A connected to A on the other board, and not connection B by mistake?
  2. Is connection C connected toC on the other board, and not connection D by mistake?
  3. Are any of the ribbon cables twisted 180 degrees, and soldered upside down? 
  4. Are all of the individual wires of the ribbon cable soldered in the order that the appear in the cable?


1.  If connections A and B are mixed up, unfortunately you will have to rewire them. This is because they both do different tasks.

2. If connections C and D are mixed up, you can change the code to fix this because they both do similar tasks. To fix it , look for the following piece of code and remember it may appear multiple times:

shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][2]));
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][1])); 
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][0]));

Just replace all copies of it with this code:

shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][1]));
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][2]));
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][0]));

3.If A is twisted replace this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, MSBFIRST, row);
with this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, row);

If is twisted, replace this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][0]));
with this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, MSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][0]));

 If C is twisted, replace this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][1]));
with this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, MSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][1]));

If D is twisted, replace this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, LSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][2]));
with this:
shiftOut(DataPin, ClockPin, MSBFIRST, (frames[x][y][2]));

4.If the individual wires of the ribbon cable are not soldered in the order that the appear in the cable, you will have to rewire it in the correct order.

If you have any questions regarding trouble shooting, I will be happy to try and help you, So long as you have tried the steps mentioned above. 

Step 13: Custom Content and Modifications

A great feature of Rave Shades is the fact you can create your own content to be displayed. The current code allows you to create a playlist of animations and scrolling text. However, users are encouraged to play around with the code and interface it to other devices like phones, computers and sensors.

To create and implement an animation, follow these steps:

  1. Download and open the template code from below.
  2. Read through the code and look for any comments.
  3. Download the RAVE_SHADES_Animation_Editor-V1.0.xml by right clicking the link, and clicking "save link as".
  4. Open the file in Microsoft Excel
  5. A security warning may appear at the top of the page. If so, click enable content otherwise it won't work.
  6. Draw each frame of your animation by copying and pasting the LED state boxes.
  7. When you finish a frame, copy the "Data cell" (in blue with white text).
  8. Paste the "Data Cell" into an array in the "Animation Definition Area".
  9. Repeat steps 5 to 7, until all frames have been drawn.
  10. Call your animation in the "Animation Playlist Area".
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    31 Discussions

    @funkytaco, Incorrect.

    I will still be selling led glasses but I will be waiting for feedback from the kickstarter backers.

    I am also working on the ready made version which you quickly connect together.


    3 years ago

    Looks amazing!!!

    are you still selling the kits, if so, for how much?


    3 years ago

    Hello budy, how are you? I live in Brazil and I have difficulty in buying international kit, so I wonder if there is leaut of pcb boards so I can ride here in Brazil in my house?


    4 years ago on Step 13

    what is the name of devil eyes into the file "all_animations" ??? thank you


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Can someone please send me a link to the design for the driver and glasses PCB so I can buy them


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Is there a way I can get a kit still or even the board designs?


    5 years ago

    It looks like all the links are now dead. The domain no longer resolves and the FaceBook page is no longer valid. Too bad since this looked quite fun.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    How much could I buy one of these for in USD??? Where can I order it from??? Could I just buy the boards from you and how much would it cost???


    6 years ago on Introduction

    go an makezine.com then ask if they can promote your kit


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you entered it as an EAGLE File, what is the project name on the CadSoft EAGLE website???