Everything Workingish – Nam Tran

Over the week I’ve made substantial progress on my lightning cube. No longer just a sad, non-functional pile of LEDs on the floor, it now has a shape and it blinks!

Last week I was struggling to get the LED strip working. I presumed this was a faulty strip and was dead on arrival, so I returned it an within a couple of days a new one was sent to me (yay Amazon Prime!).

Confusing me, this one doesn’t work. They can’t be dead, twice in a row, can they? This was when I looked at the hardware specs and found out I’ve ordered the wrong strip!

BTF WS2811 Strip

The one I ordered from BTF used WS2811 (older brother to the more popular WS2812b) but had three of them in series for each data node. What this means is that instead of using 5V, they use 12V; and even though having 300 LEDs, effectively there’s only 100 addressable LEDs, which is a step down from my original 150 LED strip.

Next step is to mock up a hardware design for the globe. In Fusion 360, I created a hollow sphere model, then exported it to Slicer for Fusion 360, a program that turns model into cut template, which makes it perfect for laser cutting.

After exporting it to .DXF, I then imported it in Illustrator to clean up the bits. After a few hours of excruciating pain and suffering, the result looks like this:

..which are then laser cut on a 1/4” MDF sheet

…and assembled.

I have chosen to omit the three hour long video stream of me trying to fit everything together and breaking some of the struts in the process. Please forgive me.

The LED strip had to be pulled in place with tweezers and held in some by zip ties. Not the best looking, but it works.

Here it is in action.

Goal for this week:

  • Cut a better, bigger enclosure, since this one was a pain to fit, and breaks easily.
  • Model animations for lightning?
  • Clean up messy code.

Leave a Reply