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Applications & Implications

This week is all about planning the final project and answering some specific questions about it. I dedicated this week to the progress of the project and that can be read on the Final Project Diary.

What will it do?

I want to make a diorama that plays a light show (and possibly music). My idea is to have a modular electronic installation that can welcome any diorama afterwards. I already did a diorama last year, but the electronics were messy and I can’t touch to anything anymore without breaking it. For this project, I’d like to improve the concept and be able to install a lot of LEDs and program them efficiently.

Who’s done what beforehand?

A lot of YouTube videos shows how to make a diorama with pre-programmed LEDs or just some lights. I also found one diorama made by a former Fab Academy student in 2021. However, none of the examples below are very modular and some are really messy with the electronics. I’d like my scene to be electronic-free in front but when you have a look inside the box, you can see how everything is working.

As an added bonus/spiral, I would like to create an interface that could control the all system: I had the issue with my first attempt: To launch the music and the lights in the same time I have to be very synchronized: I would like this system to be easier to launch from a phone or a button.

What will you design?

I will design the box that contains everything, the electronics, and the diorama itself.

I will not design the LEDs strips as it would be a very long and tedious process.

What materials and components will be used? / How much will they cost?

I was surprised that the most expensive parts were the LEDs and the PMMA. The powerbank can be replaced by a simple phone charger (5V).

Item Specs Quantity PPU
MDF plank 6mm, 600*300 5 1,00 €
PMMA (scattering) 3mm, 600*300 1 12,00 €
Acrylic paint
Plywood 3mm, 600*300 2 1,75 €
Birch 1mm, 600*300 1 8,20 €
PMMA (transparent) 3mm, 600*300 1 12,00 €
Resin (3D printing) eSun - Clear 1 4,00 €
Wood glue
200+ LEDs NeoPixels 5m 1 35,00 €
Nedis Portable Powerbank 5000 mA 1 14,95 €
ESP32 1 3,92 €
SAMD11C 1 1,60 €
ATtiny 3216 1 1,30 €
Qwiic connectors 3 0,50 €
TOTAL 115,22 €

What processes will be used?

  • 2D & 3D modelling: I designed everyhting using FreeCAD, Blender, KiCAD and Inkscape. I’m very proud because I only used open source softwares.
  • Resin printing: the fountain in the center will be resin printed
  • Laser cutting: the facades were all made by cutting different planks of plywood and PMMA
  • FDM printing: I printed the arcades to give the all scene a little more depth
  • PCB milling: I milled two PCBs, the main one with an ESP32 and a SAMD11C, the second one with an ATtiny 3216

What questions need to be answered?

  • Is it possible to make a modular system ?
  • How many LEDs can be powered ?
  • How to start animations and synchronize them with sound ?

How will it be evaluated?

On the diorama side, I would like the project to be beautiful at the first sight, event when it’s not turned on. It would be a beautiful diorama to look at on the house (I plan to offer it to my mother who loves the real place).

On the technical side, I would like it to be a modular system that I can reuse for other projects. I should have all files easily replicable.

About this week

This week I made the soldering! It was very, very long, but so worth it! You can read more about this process in the Final Project part

Last update: June 23, 2022
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