Light Show Website Update!

I’m happy to announce an update of the Arduino Light Show Project’s website! The update is mostly aesthetic changes, with a few added animations here and there.

As for the next show, progress has been slow but I hope to ramp it up a little bit. I’ve been sitting on half of an update so I should have an update posted by the end of the week.

Thanks for visiting the blog and I hope you like the ALSP website update!

Toronto Mini Maker Faire 2014

Over the weekend, I was at Maker Faire at the Toronto Reference Library teaching people how to solder. It was such a great experience that I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year! Here are a few pictures I took:1I didn’t know there were Maker Faires in Toronto until last year, and that was after the event was over when I saw it on the news. I made sure to note when this one was happening and immediately jumped on the opportunity to volunteer when registration opened (again, can’t wait to do it again next year). This was the largest venue they’ve had for the Faire in Toronto and I hope it gets even bigger next year.2As you’ll see in these next few pictures, there was a good emphasis on 3D printing at the Faire. I still haven’t gotten into 3D printing yet so it was great to see all of these on display.3This shelf of Makerbot 3D printers was used for a workshop where people were taught how to design and print little flower pots. In hindsight, I probably should have signed up for this. Maybe next year!4The Toronto Reference Library has a dedicated area for creation tools called the Digital Innovation Hub which includes 3D printers. I find this type of 3D printer (“delta” I think it’s called?) to be very… elegant. Cool stuff.5Moving along, there were some exhibitors that had laser cutters. This was something I’ve never seen in person so it was cool to see a couple of them doing it’s thing.6Some very neat remote controlled robots were at the Faire…
7… including R2-D2. It’s so cool to see something this big just casually rolling about.

8A large LED cube on display.9Battlegrounds is a laser tag system built with open source stuff like 3d printed parts, Arduino, and Xbee. It just goes to show that if you’re dedicated enough, there are tools readily available for anyone to build pretty much anything.
10You feel like a kid at this event with all of the playthings on display, so you can only imagine how exciting is it to be an actual kid there. There were many things for kids to get hands-on with, from building boats and rockets, to soldering with me! Watching young kids get all excited when they see the solder flow is so awesome.

I cannot wait for next year’s Maker Faire! A huge thanks and congrats to everyone who made this event a success!

Light Show 7 Journal Entry #4: Ironing out details

I’m going to start titling the update posts on Light Show 7 as part of a numbered journal. If you go back, you will see that this is the fourth post about the progress on the new light show so we’re moving on from there.

Anyways, I’ve gotten some more brainstorming done when it comes to the backdrop. Each tower will have a pair of RGB LEDs because one RGB LED at the base is not bright enough to light up the length of the tower. In the last post, I was wondering if I should put something to top off each tower but I got my answer once I decided to add another LED to the top of each tower.

IMG_0374I kind of want to call them streetlights now… These little boxes fit the width of the tower but extend out so that the LEDs are positioned an inch away from the tower. The one assembled in this picture was the prototype.IMG_0376I wanted to focus on the build quality in this project so I outlined the main objectives of having clean surfaces and doing soldered connections pretty much everywhere. After assembling the LED in the photo above, I decided to ditch soldering and go back to using jumper wires and breadboards. It’s just so much easier and faster. I may have to pick up some more jumper wires but I have a good bunch to get going.
IMG_0379Once I was satisfied with the details, I made up six more boxes.
IMG_0380I used hot glue to fold them into this shape. The camera angle is going to be straight at the stage (unlike some previous shows where the camera is above) so I don’t plan on putting a cover on them.

The next step is to figure out how I want to put in the LEDs at the base of the towers. After that, I need to build a base to raise up the backdrop so that the bottom of the towers is at the lip of the fountain basin. Once this is all complete, the backdrop will be complete and I can move onto the fountains (and other secret, but somewhat minor, elements).

 

Let’s get going on Light Show 7!

In this post, I want to lay out the plan for Light Show 7.

I still don’t have a drawn sketch of the plan but I have a pretty good idea of what I want in my head. The backdrop and the fountains will not be attached together which allows me to build both separately and place them together when I’m ready to program. My goal is to finish building it in 2 weeks, which leaves one week to program if I want to make it for the end of November. (The first, and possibly only, show will be the Christmas/holiday show.) I’ve been procrastinating getting started so I finally pushed myself to start working on it today.

IMG_0348As I talked about a while ago in an experiment, the backdrop will be made up of towers lit up by “floodlights”, or RGB LEDs. There will be 7 of these towers and the dimensions of each tower is 1″ x 1″ x 10.5″. I scored lines on the back of the cardboard so that the cardboard would be influenced to bend in a straight line when I folded it into a rectangular tower.IMG_0349In the previous experiment, I scored the front of the tower which made clean sharp corners, but I think the smoother corners from bending it this way might look better. I’m still thinking of something to top each tower with, if anything. They won’t be standing this close to each other when the stage is put together, it was just for the sake of taking the picture on my desk. The plan is to place them all on a base which will also have the RGB LEDs for each tower planted on so that it all stays together. This is the part where I need to draw out a complete plan.

I won’t be posting everything I’m doing for the new show because I want it to be as surprising and exciting as it can be. I will do a photo tour of it after the show debuts as I’ve done with previous shows. You can probably guess what will be included anyway when I say that this show is pretty much a combination of all of the Light Shows I’ve done thus far. Stay tuned! I don’t plan on leaving you completely in the dark!

More RGB LEDs!

As I mentioned in my last post, I ordered some things off of eBay from China. I ordered most of the things around the same time so they should all be coming in this week if there’s no delay through customs. Today, I got my RGB LEDs.IMG_0329I suppose you could build “1 Lamp” out of 100 RGB LEDs… 😉
IMG_0333I ordered 50 clear and 50 diffused RGB LEDs which were bagged separately and placed in a little blue box. The diffused LEDs will be used in the upcoming light show.

IMG_0336This was a quick test to see how they look against the material I will be using in the next light show. The one of the left is the clear lens LED and the one on the right is the diffused LED. It’s hard to get a good picture, but I can say that I’m satisfied with how bright they are.IMG_0338Here’s an updated picture of my LED container. I’ll eventually move out those 620Ω resistors to make room for more of the 220Ω resistors since I’ve pretty much transitioned to use 220Ω exclusively for LEDs. (The first ever batch of LEDs I ever ordered from China came with those 620Ω resistors so it was a while before I started using 220Ω.)

So that’s it! The rest of the things coming in are just some resistors, capacitors, and oscillators. They will be used to finish up my ATmeag328p Breakout Boards. I’ll probably make another New Parts post with all of the packages together. (New Parts refers to the blog category – Check it out on the sidebar!) I personally enjoy seeing components unpacked so I hope you like these posts. Thanks for reading!