The instructable will guide you through the use of the LED Table DIY kit produced through our Kickstarter campaign and how to create your own LED Table. You can either create the very same table using a cheap IKEA table or use the kit to create your own LED Table, LED Bar, LED wall...
Let's get to it.
Step 1: Understanding the LED Table Layout
First thing first, what do you have with the LED Table DIY kit and what will you have to do to create your own table, wall or LED Bar ??
The Kit includes:
- The electronics box
- Power in cable (IEC)
- USB Cable
- 150 individually addressable LEDs
- LED connector
- DIY Kit manual
You will need to use the USB cable to upload new animations or firmware to the LED Table however you can use any Android device to control the table wireless though Bluetooth and using the LED Table Android App.
In order to build you table, you will need to solder the LEDs together, and build a table around it whether you decide to use a cheap IKEA table or to build your own creation.
Step 2: Cutting a Table
Here we'll demonstrate how to cut an IKEA table. There tables are great because not too difficult to cut the top layer and they are full of cardboard honeycomb easily removable.
Your will need:
- A ruler
- Thick protection gloves
- Stanley knife
- Optional: Tape
- Create a first very light scratch using the Stanley knife and your ruler. Do not apply pressure during this phase. This will highlight where to need to go and guide your next cuts. You can use tape as per the pictures in order to set your ruler position precisely. I recommend leaving 50mm from all borders. Do not go closer or you won't be able to cut the corners (not hollow)
- Then go again through the same path with the knife and apply a medium and very slow second pass without the ruler and following your light first pass. Warning: If you apply too much force and go too fast you might rip out of your path...
- Then you can apply more force and cut strongly through the table. It will probably take few times to get the knife though the table (3-4 times)
WARNING: Do not attempt to cut without the help of an adult. Stanley knifes can be extremely dangerous if not used carefully and protection. Thick gloves are a MUST. It only takes a simple rip to cut though your skin... So please were safety equipment.
- Once you cut all 4 borders, you need to remove this cover but it might be difficult due to the internal honeycomb being glued to the table surfaces. Drill a small hole in the corner of the cover you just cut and then use a screw driver through that hole to try to lift the corner.
- Once you removed the cover, remove all the honey comb cardboard but leave some under the remaining 50mm on the sides to maintain a bit of structural strength to the table.
Step 3: Soldering LEDs
In this step you will create 10 rows of 15 LEDs custom to your table dimension. These will be connected together at a later step.
You will need:
- A soldering iron
- Some solder
- A spool of wire (preferably 3 colors)
- Cutting and stripping pliers
- First cut all 150 LEDs individually from the LED strip following the marks and using scissors.
- Apply solder on all pads
- Cut 14 wires of each color to your custom length (depending of your table dimension. For the IKEA Table I used a length of 60mm)
- Strip 1 to 2 mm of the wire insulation from each end of all wires
- Apply solder on all wires ends
- Connect all the leds together
Warning: When soldering LEDs together, do not keep your soldering iron for too long on the pads as you might overhead the LED and damage it. The LED soldering pad might get damaged as well. Be careful to solder the right pads to 5v / GND: reversing the 2 poles WILL destroy the LED.
Note: Using blue talc can be extremely useful in order to hold wires or LEDs in position while soldering.
Step 4: Cutting & Assembling Separators
You can have great results using thin wood panel to create the separators. You will need 14 small separators and 9 big separators. The drawings attached here are for the IKEA table but you shall be able to create any size you want depending of your table requirements.
NOTE: It is possible to cut these separators using cardboard put there will be additional work required to assemble them correctly possibly required hot glue to maintain everything together due to the lack of stiffness of cardboard.
Once all separators are cut, assemble the first grid and check if it fits nicely in the table prior to going to the next step. If it goes nicely, remove it, we will fit the LEDs first and put it back afterward.
Step 5: Putting LEDs in the Table
Put the 10 rows in the tables.
You will have to solder these rows together now. You need to solder the DATA pads together in a SNAKE pattern. I recommend soldering all +5V pads together on one side only, and all GROUND pads on the other side of the table as per the picture.
WARNING: Make sure that in your snake pattern the data flow goes from one direction to the other direction when switching from a row to another. All DATA IN must be connected to DATA OUT of the previous LED. If you don't follow this procedure you will most likely burn one or more of the LEDs in the wrong direction.
Please be very carefull as well to make sure +5V are connected on to +5V, same for GROUND and not to reverse the current.
Step 6: Testing the LEDs Connections
Connect the DIY kit to the first LED of your table using the supplied connector and plug in power the the electronics box.
If you wired all the LEDs together with success then the table will start to shine and display all the animations of the kit.
However if you wired one or more LEDs then you might not have the full table working. Check connections where the light stops. You might have a short cut between the middle wire (DATA) and the surrounding ones (5V / GND) and it is usually not damaging the LED so you can just re-solder correctly.
If one or more LED was built up in the wrong direction it is most likely to be destroyed due to inverse current flowing through it. In that case you might see a bit of smoke going out of the LED... Disconnect power ASAP and then replace this LED.
The LEDs from the kit are WS2812B, readuly available on the internet.
If everything is OK, then you can proceed to the next step.
Step 7: Put Back the Grid!
You can now put back the grid in the table.
Once it is back in, you can align the LEDs correctly and use hot glue to keep them in place.
If you used cardboard separators for the grid, you can use hot glue as well to keep them in place.
Step 8: Adding the Top Cover and Final Test!
For this top cover, I choose to use some Perspex frosted acrylic and 3mm thick. This will really nicely difuse the LED Table lights.
A cheaper option is to buy transparent acrylic and to create the frosted/diffusion effect yourself by sand blasting it or using a very fine sand paper grid and gently process the surface until happy with it (on both faces).
I choose to simply let the top cover on the table so it is easy to remove it for cleaning purposes but you could use the 4 corners to add screws and secure the top cover to the table.