I wanted to use a single shape PCB to make a sphere for production purposes. I ended up using the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icosahedron shape with 10 LEDs on each PCB. These were all strung together on a single LED chain using WS2812Bs. 


Design decisions:


Teensy or ESP32? After a brief search, it looks like Teensy and the ESP32 are both great candidates for this.

The Teensy setup has a nice rj45 breakout board for this application here and the library that goes with it can actually play right from a video file. Out of the box for just under $50 (no LED strips) this seems reasonable. 

Having used ESP32s quite a bit in the past (and them being cheaper), I leaned towards this initially. Big benefit of wireless control. 


Top contenders are:

  • NeoPixelBus
  • FastLED
  • OctoWS2811 LED library (teensy only)


The big decision here is to go with prefab'd strips or make something custom (like in the instructable below). The sphere form factor certainly presented a challenge.  I ended up testing out a new PCB vendor that could place components for me, and they turned out great. 

Whats next?

With wireless updates and a battery, there are a few fun options. I am also considering a larger scale option. 


Resources / inspo: