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A project log for Lodestar

A cube that shows you the way

de∫hipude∫hipu 03/23/2016 at 19:451 Comment

So this is what was born from the #Tiling Pixels experiments. Back then, I assembled a 5×5×5 RGB LED cube by soldering the NeoPixels directly together, and managed to get some very nice lightning effects with that. But the soldering job wasn't very good, the device was brittle, the LEDs would flicker off at a touch, and the walls of the cube became somewhat rounded.

So I decided to do a second approach. This time I'm going to solder the LEDs onto 6 PCBs. I ordered them from DirtyPCBs some time ago, and I was lucky, because the proto-pack contains 12 boards -- enough to make two cubes! Anyways, I only have enough NeoPixels to make one for now, but it's nice to know that I have a spare. The connections on the board follow what I came up back when I worked on #Tiling Pixels:

I already tried to solder one board by hand, and I must say it's hard. There is so little room between the LEDs, and it's so hard to keep them straight... The result is not very pretty:

It would probably look fine if I encased it in a laser-cut box made of matte acrylic, but still, I think I can do better. So I paused with the other boards for now, and ordered a solder paste. I will try to use that together with a hot plate to get better results.

That's it about the outside.

On the inside, I plan to install an ESP8266 module, together with 3D compass and GPS modules. And a small LiPo battery, of course. The hope is that this will let me figure out where in the world the cube is and how it is oriented, and then animate the lights to point to the next way-point. We will see how that works out.

Discussions

The Big One wrote 03/24/2016 at 23:35 point

That looks pretty sweet!  Me likey!  :-)

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