Maquette – Layered Light Show

This week I worked on getting some WS2812b addressable LEDs I had laying around functioning with a basic arduino uno. To generate the LED patterns I am using Syncstrip which plays back a .png by pixel row real time with a song using a MS Visual Studio and C#. After messing with the program for a while I found it’s very easy to make scripts to play different songs, but the long and difficult part is drawing the animations. I’m using Photoshop for now, but I may have to learn Illistrator since it will probably be easier to make crisper animations. The C# program transmits over serial to the arduino running Renderstrip. I modified the renderstrip library to use the FastLED library instead of NeoPixel for their additional led support and features. I also bought these WS2812b LEDs for the final display.

Drawing the animations is very time consuming both because it takes time to draw them in Photoshop and it’s difficult to think of aesthetic animations. The first song I’m using is a Hard Times Remix, however I am open to suggestions for other songs. The program currently renders at 100fps so for that song the final png would be 256×20213 pixels.

To animate I am using photoshop layered with a spectograph to match the beat of the song.

For the panels I bought 4 3/16″ 12×12″ clear acrylic and 3D printed corners that screw together to hold the panels the proper spacing for the LEDs. I planned on laser engraving the panels however the laser cutter in Washburn was/is still down so I focused more on getting the LEDs to work.

Solidworks model of layered acrylic sheets with designs.

In the next week I plan to engrave the panels and test how the LEDs diffuse into the panels. I plan to use hot glue to attach the LEDs, however if the LEDs get too hot during normal use I may have to use a different method. Additionally, depending on how they diffuse I may need to make make blinders between the LEDs to prevent mixing colors. To power the final assembly I will need to buy a power supply for the leds because it will be using 256 LEDs which uses ~90 watts at max brightness.

I also will need to design a final stand/case to enclose the edges and potentially hold the arduino. I plan on using black acrylic and assembling with mostly 3D printed parts, however I am waiting to design it until I know the acrylic panels with LEDs function as expected.

Shopping List:
5v 15A power supply
Black/Smoked acrylic or similar

– Engrave panels
– Attach and test LED strips
– Buy/wire LED power supply
– Continue animating song
– Design final enclosure (order materials)
– Cut and assembly enclosure
– Finish final animations

– buy additional Acrylic + one way mirror film
– build infinity mirror style enclosure

Leave a Reply