Harry Potter Rotating RGB Display



After deciding to make something for my daughter's birthday I thought that making one of the acrylic RGB displays would be cool. She is a fan of the Harry Potter movies so the theme choice was easy. Deciding what images to use however was not! My wife suggested why not make one with more than one side so you can have more than one image. What a great idea that was! But why stop there. Why not make it rotating so you can see each one of the images as it rotates. It just so happens that if I did three sides then it would be triangular in shape and another idea was born. The top would be perfect for adding the image of the Deathly Hallows. This project is not limited to a Harry Potter theme but any theme you would want to display. The challenge was to provide a way to get power to both the base where the motor is and the led lights in the top rotating part. As you will see there is a fairly easy way to achieve this very effectively and cheaply. A remote control allows you to change what lighting/color you prefer. It can be a single color or fade through all the colors. I hope you enjoy building this as much as I did. Good Luck!

Step 1: Materials Needed

Some of the items referenced in this list have a quantity greater than what you will need for this project. Use them as a reference if you do not want the extra quantities.

1. 3D printed parts. I used PLA with 30% fill.

HP Top (1)

HP Vertical Rail (3)

HP Symbols (1)

HP Bottom (1)

HP Base Spindle (1)

HP Motor Plate (1)

HP Contact Ring Spacer (1)

HP Contact Ring Cap (1)

HP Contact Pin Mount (1) - Use supports when printing due to hex nut pockets.

HP Drive Gear (1)

HP Base (1)

2. Engraved acrylic images. 1/4" (.220") acrylic from Lowes, Home Depot or hardware store. (3) 6" x 8" panels and (1) triangular panel 5 7/8" on each side (equilateral) for the top. The Harry Potter images can be purchased through Esty. Unfortunately I cannot legally provide them.

3. Black chalk board cut to the same size as the acrylic panels (.19" thick). Lowes, Home Depot or hardware store.

4. Springs- (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G34Q79U/ref=p...

5. Motor- (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IP55UJC/ref=p...

6. RGB led light strip, controller and remote- (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/WenTop-Waterproof-300leds- C... You will need approximately 2' of light strip. This kit comes with 16'.

7. Lazy Susan 4" Turntable Bearing- (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074QJ24RX/ref=p...

You will need (1) of these, This comes in a pack of (4).

8. 18 or 20ga red and black wire.

9. 3/4" copper tubing coupling as used in plumbing (.96" o.d. x .88" i.d. cut to 1/4" lg.). Lowes, Home Depot or hardware store

10. 4-40 x 1 1/4" and 4-40 x 1 1/2" machine screws (3) each

11. 4-40 regular hex nut (6)

12. 6-32 x 1/2" machine screws (2)

13. 6-32 x 3/4" machine screws (6)

14. 6-32 x 1 1/4" machine screws (2)

15. 8-32 x 3/8" machine screws (4)

16. 8-32 x 2 1/4" machine screw (4)

17. 8-32 x 3" machine screw (1)

18. 6-32 nylon lock hex nuts (2)

19. 6-32 standard hex nut (8)

20. 8-32 nylon lock nuts (1)

21. 8-32 regular hex nut (8)

22. Copper Rod- (Amazon) (2) pieces at 1/2" lg. each https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D1HP95T/ref=p...

23. On/Off switch (2)- (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0711LGZGJ/ref=p...

This comes with (30) pieces. Use for reference.

24. Power plug connector- (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N8VV78D/ref=p...

This comes with (12) pieces. Use for reference.

25. DC port: 5.5 x 2.1mm (outer diameter x inner diameter) for 12vdc supply- Amazon (1) https://www.amazon.com/Conwork-10-Pack-Solder-Conn... This comes with (10) pieces. Use as a reference.

Step 2: The Engraved Images

You will need to engrave the acrylic images. These can be engraved manually with a Dremel tool or with a cnc router/engraving machine. There are plenty of videos/instructions on Instructables or YouTube showing you how to make them by either method. The three rectangular acrylic panels are 6" x 8" tall and the top triangular acrylic image is 5 7/8" on all sides (equilateral). The front side of the panel will be smooth. You will engrave the image on the back side. This will of course appear backwards on the engraved side. After the panels are done heat the edge as shown with a torch, lighter, etc. to make the edge more transparent. This only need to be done at the bottom edge of the rectangular panels and at the bottom edge of the "Deathly Hallows" triangular image. Be careful not to apply too much heat. At the time of this Instructable I discovered that the link to the images I used were no longer available from the original supplier on Etsy. You will have to find another source.

You will also need black chalk board material cut to the same size as each of the panels. The purpose of these is to prevent being able to see through the panels and also see the images on the other side. This would detract from the effect you want.

Step 3: Soldering the RGB Light Strip

- Cut the RGB strips on the center of the soldering tabs per the manufacturer's instructions. The overall length needed combined with the wire terminations on the ends should fit inside the RGB strip pockets in the Bottom. The RGB led strips should be connected in series paying attention to the labeling on the solder tabs. See the drawing above for more details on the led arrangement and wiring connections for additional clarification.

TIP: when forming the wire loop connections between the strips soften the wires by warming them some with a hair dryer other source. If you desire you can cut very short wires between the strip connections and not have a loop at all. I thought the longer wires would be easier for most folks.

NOTE: The 1st photo above shows the Bottom with the rails mounted to it as well as the Bottom mounted to the Contact Ring Mount. These are actually mounted later. The focus at this point are the RGB strips and I wanted to show what they will look like when installed in the Bottom as an aid to wiring them together.

Step 4: Solder Contact Rings and Contact Pins.

- Cut 2 red and 2 black wires 8" long. Cut two contact rings from the copper coupling 1/4" long. Remove sharp burrs to clean up edges. Solder black and red wires to contact rings as shown in the photo. Do not add too much solder because this connection will need to fit inside a groove on the Base Spindle.

- Cut 2 contact pins from the copper rod 1/2" long. Drill a small hole in the end of each of the pins. Solder one black and one red wire to the end of the pins while inserting the wire into the hole.

Step 5: Contact Ring Mounting

- Slide one of the contact rings over the end of the Base Spindle shaft as shown in image 1. Note which side the wire exits from. Align the wire/solder joint with one of the grooves in the shaft.

- Slide the Contact Ring Spacer on and then slide the other contact ring over the end of the spindle. Align the wire/solder joint with the other groove located 180 degrees from the first one. Note that the black wire also exits from the same side as the red one (toward the flanged end).

- Set this aside for now.

Step 6: Motor Mount Assembly

- Attach dc gear motor to Motor Plate with (2) 6-32 x 1/2" lg. screws and nylon lock nuts. cut the end of the screw so that it does not extend beyond the Motor Plate surface.

- Mount motor gear on motor shaft. Make sure the gear sits just below the surface of the motor plate as shown. Use a little adhesive to help secure the gear on the motor shaft.

- Insert the copper pin/spring into each of the holes in the Contact Pin Mount (insert wire first).

- Sit Motor Plate and turn table bearing on top of Contact Pin Mount and bolt together using (4) 8-32 x 2 1/4" lg. screws and regular hex nuts as shown. The screws will need to be cut flush with the nut due to minimum clearance between bearing flanges.

Step 7: HP Bottom and HP Spindle

- Glue the Wand, Broom and Sword pieces to the 3 Vertical Rails. Center as shown.

- Insert a 4-40 hex nut into the slots at each end of the rails. Make sure it is turned properly to allow it to sit completely in the bottom of the pocket. Apply a small amount of adhesive or hot melt glue to secure nut. Allow them to dry.

- Insert red and black wires for contact rings into the (2) outside holes in the Bottom. Apply a little adhesive to one of the surfaces and join them together with the holes aligned.

- Bolt together using (1) 8-32 x 3" lg. screw, Contact Ring Cap, 2 washers and nylon lock nut.

- Attach rails using 4-40 x 1 1/2" lg. screw. Mount (3) rails.

Step 8: Base Electrical Connections

- Insert switches and 12vdc (5.5mm x 2.1mm) supply connection into switch section of Base.

- Wire motor, switches, 12vdc connection and contact pins using schematic as a reference.

- Bolt switch mount section to base using (3) 6-32 x 3/4" long screws.

- Attach Motor Mount Assembly completed previously using (4) 8-32 x 2 1/4 lg. screws. Insert screws from bottom however do not add the nuts until the next step.

- Use wire ties as necessary to keep wires neat and out of the way of spindle.

Step 9: Base Assembly

- While carefully pulling on the red and black wire insert the Contact Ring Spindle. Align the holes of the bearing flange with the (4) 8-32 screws inserted in previous step. Release the wires. They should line up with the Contact Rings and be touching. Secure with (4) 8-32 regular hex nuts. Grind the threads if necessary if there is interference with the nuts in the top bearing flange.

- Gently insert the RGB strips into the pockets of the Bottom. If everything fits well proceed with removing the adhesive strip protectors and secure them in the pockets.

- Cut off the end of the power supply plug provided with the RGB led kit (4" length). Kind of makes you nervous doesn't it? solder the power connection to the red and black wires coming through the Bottom. Make sure the polarity is correct. Check it with a meter. Use heat shrink tubing or electrical tape to isolate connections from each other. Plug it into the RGB led controller.

- Using the pin header supplied in the RGB led light kit solder one side of the leads to the (4) wires leading to the first strip. Use heat shrink tubing to isolate connections. Make sure wiring is correct per the manufacturers instructions. Insert pin side into the controller.

- Insert the IR sensor into the side hole in the Bottom. Secure from the inside with some adhesive or hot melt glue. Allow to dry before proceeding.

Step 10: Final Assembly

- Insert the Acrylic image and chalk board backing panel in the Top from the back side. Make sure the smooth side of the acrylic panel is facing outward. Secure by adding a little hot melt glue along the edges on the back side.

- Insert the remaining panels into the vertical rail pockets. Before adding the 3rd vertical panel lift up the top as shown in 4th photo. Mount top to vertical rails using (3) 4-40 x 1 1/4 screws.

- Slide the Base on from the bottom up and secure using (2) 6-32 x 1 1/4 screws and (3) 6-32 x 3/4" screws. The (2) longer screws insert into each side of the switch mount section of the base.

- Solder a new plug (5.5mm x 2.1mm) to the wire leads that were cut from the power supply provided with RGB led kit. Use heat shrink tubing over each of the solder joints and another over both for a neat look.

- The remote works by "line of site". You have to point directly at the IR receiver. Before turning on the motor for rotation select which lighting/color option you want.

Congratulations! You are done. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as my daughter does.

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