Yesterday and today, I have been working on two particular projects – my LED matrix demo painting and a wood/plexiglass/aluminum UI project.
I wired a 3×3 LED martrix “snake” onto a quick painting I did as a proof-of-concept for what I was thinking of doing with the moon painting. I’m using a little ATTiny MCU to drive it. As it was the first time I had actually implemented this on a painting, I just started running wire to the Philips Lumileds that I had set out on to the painting, I didn’t really have a plan. Once I got ’em all in place and tested them, I glued them down and started the hub PCB for it all. Red for anode, white for cathode.
The Lumiled lights are SMT devices and are very, very brittle! I mean, just a very minor shear/twist force on the two small 24AWG wires soldered to the leads will crack and split them. I must have broken 6 of them before actually getting a good batch installed onto the art! One even broke while I was gluing it down. Had to do some surgery – ha. …But, I made do. However, they are sooooper bright for being just ~1mm x 3mm! Incredible technology. I’m considering about 5 or 10k of resistance per row of 3 just to keep it to where you can actually look at them and not hurt your eyes! They pack a punch.
It’s things like this – actually testing, or proving the concept, and having the experience of working with things that lead to deciding what I’ll do for production. Maybe they’re too much for this install? Also, maybe SMT parts are useless if it’s gonna have wires all over the place? I don’t know. Finding out…
Later in the week, once I get the system up and running and the MCU programmed, I’ll plaster over the wires and just make it a part of history – and a pretty cool, usable part of art! However, once I decide to do these for production, a few things will have to be worked out, such as the repairability / maintenance of the LEDs and harness, the brittle SMD stuff that I’m using in weird ways, a way to test them (for instance, battery life, LED heat/hazards, and drop/shock/shipping testing), and where to mount all of this control stuff. I plan to offer a warranty and repair for this stuff if they break down. And, the best repair is no repair at all 😉 – both for my customers and for me, as well. Furthermore, I plan on making the board as small as possible for mounting on the back (using 0805 parts, minimum – I don’t wanna have to mess with anything smaller than that right now, I already have to use tweezers for those – lol).
And, in other news, I bought some sheet aluminum, some birch plywood, and a routing tool at the Home Depot today for a project that I thought of while doing the Light Painting – taking into consideration the things I learned there. This one is a different art idea entirely, but the electronic concepts are basically the same, and I think I can solve those with this.
Anyway, the idea is to use a wood substrate, and backlight it somehow for certain parts, using transparent light filters, and route out different heights for additional lighting. It’ll be an art piece, but where the animations can be controlled by the user touching and interacting with the painting.
I just started, so more details and pics and video will follow, I’m sure 🙂