Vulcan Salute

With this bit of animated art on your wall, it would be illogical if you did not receive extra long life and prosperity.

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Fire up your Blynk app, hit the GO button! With this moving Vulcan Salute, you will instantly notice that you are living a longer and more prosperous life. To make the fingers light up, I started using 8mm PL9823 LEDs, but I wanted the project to be bigger and even more blinky. I scaled up the model and added holes for 60 per meter strips of LEDs. The outline of the hand will feature inward facing single-color LEDs that will show a breathing animation. The half-mirrored surface will enable a bit of infinity effect. Buttons on the Blynk app will let the viewer change LED patterns, change breathe rate of the single-color LEDs, and change the motor speed (salute speed).

I'm learning about creating gears and linkages in this project. If it goes as planned, it will also be my first infinity mirror project. The 3D models are currently being made in TinkerCad, but I would like to learn and use some of the more advanced features in 123D Design as well. The speed of the motor and the LED pattern will be controlled by a phone or other device running the Blynk app. Instead of using Blynk, a future upgrade could be to create a webserver on the ESP8266 with data stored in SPIFFS flash memory.

Vulcan middle_and_index_plain.svg

Middle and index finger This scalable vector file can be imported into TinkerCad

svg+xml - 4.08 kB - 02/13/2017 at 22:46


Vulcan pinky_and_ring_plain.svg

Pinky and ring finger This scalable vector file can be imported into TinkerCad

svg+xml - 3.46 kB - 02/13/2017 at 22:46


Vulcan rest_of_hand_plain.svg

The rest of the hand. I did not import this, but this scalable vector file can be imported into TinkerCad

svg+xml - 5.11 kB - 02/13/2017 at 22:46


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  • 1 × ESP8266 Microprocessor with WiFi
  • 1 × Geared Motor for toy car / robot With two output shafts (only one used)
  • 16 × PL9823 LEDs Individually addressable LEDs in 8mm package
  • 6 × 3D printed parts 100% fits 8mm LEDs, 62.5% scale fits 5mm LEDs
  • 3 × Filament Rivets made from short pieces of filament. Heat up the end and use a flat piece of metal to mushroom it, completing the rivet.
  • 1 × H bridge Motor Controller PWM signal from the microcontroller allows the motor to run in either direction
  • 1 × USB power supply - 1.5A Easy way to get 5v power to the project
  • 1 × Cut pieces of acrylic To cut and shape the acrylic, I used a circular saw, dremel tool, and hand files.

  • Testing LEDs

    terrag5 hours ago 0 comments

    This weekend I found the perfect plastic material for the perimeter of the hand - a piece of diffuser sheet from an old CRT projection TV. I measured the height of the motor while it was on the motor mount (the tallest item to go in the center of the hand) and I cut a slice of diffuser material 32mm in height. I then proceed to glue it to the acrylic base of the hand and made a notch for the motor wires to exit. Then it was time to put two strips of blue LEDs on the inside of the hand. The blue LEDs are on a strip with a 150 ohm resistor for each group of 3 in series. I tested the brightness on my bench power supply and found that I would like to supply at least 11 volts. I've chosen to use a boost converter to boost 5V to 12V. The converter I have on hand happens to have a chip enable pin available, so I can easily program a PWM breathing effect by using any of the GPIO pins on the ESP8266 and analogWrite commands. I was also able to test the 20 LEDs in the fingers. I have each of the 2 pairs of fingers using the same data wire, so the LED patterns will be mirrored.

  • New Bull Gear, Pinion Gear and Gearbox Holder

    terrag5 days ago 0 comments

    I printed a new bull gear and a new pinion gear to get a better reduction in speed. I took the opportunity to add some flair by putting three little Vulcan Salute cut-outs in the gear. Since the 8-tooth pinion gear was so small, I decided to print it in PETG which is quite a bit stronger than PLA when printed at the correct temperature. I also had to design a smaller gearbox holder so the larger bull gear would fit.

    Wiring the 20 PL9823 LEDs is a time consuming task. If I make a second Vulcan Salute, I am considering doing a design that uses strips of WS2812s. The wires coming out of the four LEDs closest to the palm of the hand are making contact with the foamboard, so I either need to cut away those sections of the board or add some spacers under the finger gears to make clearance for the LEDs.

  • First test of hand mechanics

    terrag7 days ago 0 comments

    After the parts were finished printing, I cut a hand outline out of foam board and used plastic rivets to hold the three gears on. I used hot glue to hold the motor mount to the foam board. The motor starts to stall at voltages below 2V, and that is about the speed that I want the Vulcan Salute to run at, so now I am designing a smaller pinion gear and a larger bull gear.

  • TinkerCad models sliced and now printing!

    terrag7 days ago 0 comments

    I'm printing some guts for the Vulcan Salute. This batch is the motor holder, the connecting rod, and the large gear. I never attempted to print the first version of the design that uses a linear bearing and the rack gear (screenshot pictured in the gallery).

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