It’s all done! However, not what you were expecting. I discovered last week that creating the spinning LED light ball was not feasible in the time left. Instead, I went and created another of my possible projects. The explanation video explains how it works, and the demonstration video shows it running through a couple of examples. Despite the fact that I finished it in about a week versus a term I still had a lot of fun making this. Hope you enjoy!
This week the progress made was primarily in the parts acquisition and general planning stage.
I purchased most of the parts I will need for this project. Following is the screen grab from the receipt. This is the list from Sparkfun
Gear for the final axle.
Gear for the motor driving the final axle
Main power toggle switches
Stage toggle switches (turns on motors and LEDs)
Rotary potentiometer (controls speed of motors and brightness of LEDs)
Knob – for potentiometer
Micro Gearmotors – drives the LED hub
Axles – assorted axles for as needed
Breadboard – spare breadboards for prototyping and testing
This is the list from Amazon:
Clear tube for final axle
IEC Cable for power supply
12V @ 30A (360 W) power supply
In addition to purchasing the parts for the project, I also CADed out the main armatures for the project. The following is the preliminary draft. These will be altered now that I posses the parts. I can take more detailed measurements and create better fitments. The first piece is the inner armature that holds the LED armature. It sits inside the second piece. The second piece spins as well.
The first idea I have is for a TRON motorcycle. I like my motorcycle and would like to add EL tape and wire as well as LED’s to it. I could wire it up so that the lights would change depending on the RPM or MPH of the bike as well as other user inputs. To go along with that I would like to add EL tape and wire to my gear to complement the aesthetic. I could wire up lights on the jacket to flash with turn signals and brake lights for added safety as well as wow factor.
The next idea is a spinning LED ball. The idea is that there is a lattice of LEDs that spin along an axis. That entire armature then also spins around another axis perpendicular to the original axis. By varying the speed of the rotations and flashing the LEDs, you can create some very cool effects.
Finally I could do a silhouette shadow installation like Jim Campbell. It could see the people viewing it and replicate their shadows on the installation.
Jim Campbell was in in 1956 in Chicago. When he was 22 he graduated M.I.T. with a bachelors in both Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. These degrees would become the basis for his brand of art. He currently lives in San Francisco.
Campbell’s style stems from his love of ultra low resolution. Whereas most high definition displays have around 2 million pixels, his art installations have around 200 to 2000 pixels. Sometimes he uses RGB pixels to give some color to his work, other times he simply uses single color pixels to break down his work. The point of his ultra low resolution is to break down and discard the details of a scene and leave it with just the large brushes of outlines and colors.
The technology he uses is simple in it’s function but complex in it’s use and design. It consists of LED’s arrayed in matrices spanning whatever size he is using for that installation. To control those lights, he designs his own PCBs and combines them with embedded chips to control their function. All this is designed and created by him with the assistance of his helpers. His knowledge of Electrical Engineering comes into play here.
The first Art Piece is called Home Videos (David). This shows the home videos of the family of David, who is a boy born around the same time as Campbell. The installation shows in characteristic ultra low resolution, the aging of David and his early life. Campbell has other “Home Video” sequences, including many he shot, but he most likes David as it is similar to his own life.
The next Art Piece is called Journey. This is a 750 foot installation that hangs in the San Diego Airport. This follows the people going on their own journey with the journey of a swimmer moving their way along the installation. Campbell got the video base by filming people from underwater.
Finally, there is the installation Scattered Light. This is an array of incandescent bulbs that are stuffed with LEDs that hang in a seemingly irregular and chaotic arrangement. Viewed from all angles but one, the lights seem to twinkle with irregular timing and be completely independent. However, if you view the installation from head on, you will see ethereal people walking across the lights. These people were recorded in Grand Central Terminal, for their chaotic and crazy movement.
My experience with art making is fairly limited to assigned work from teachers. Most of what I’ve made has come from assignments in classes I have taken to complete my Humanities requirement. That being said, it has led me to complete some very cool things. I’ve made a puppet of a knight out of aluminium foil, I’ve made the literal representation of “Squeezing the money out of you” Thanks to some creative video processing.
However, what I’ve done with programming, electronics and other tech is a lot more robust. I have created robots that can hunt down candles, I’ve created 3D printed versions of rotary aircraft engines. I have soldered together wires on everything from a battery tender to a light box that spelled out a name in tron style LEDs (Which I sadly don’t have a picture of).
Other creative outlets I have are few. I listen to a lot of music, I play a lot of pretty video games, but I don’t create much. However, these all help to inspire me. My favorite inspirations are Space and Sci Fi. Space has been a favorite for as long as my dad told me about the Apollo missions and various planes in the sky. Tron came about more recently with the remake. To that extent, it was the main source for the aforementioned light box nameplate.
My goals with this course are to create something that combines the aesthetics of Tron with the content of Space. Either the Space Shuttle, the Solar System, or else some combination of other spacecraft. As for the actual content, I am not so sure yet.
Recent projects I am proud of are shown after the first paragraph. The Knight was supposed to be a caricature of a knight, and I thought I was able to get the proportions just right. My only issue with that is the aluminum foil makes a very crinkly surface, I would have liked it smoother. The other drawing is a study in shades. We took a Vermeer painting shown in black and white and had to break it down into only 5 shades. It came as very blocky and very harsh, but it was wonderful in getting a better understanding of shades and their limits.