My final project explores one of my favorite topics, space. I was inspired by a recent supermoon to design a lamp that simulated lunar phases. However, as time went on, my interest in the project began to wane and I decided to look to the galaxy as a source of inspiration.
This project then took on another level of abstraction: space is like a vast sea; what creatures could then live there? Does it emit light? Could this exist as a lamp?
Somehow I ended up designing a jellyfish lamp. I am captivated by their form, and also wanted to express their beautiful yet menacing nature. The lamp spins, but in future iterations, I will want to eliminate that feature: it’s not as versatile as a non-rotating lamp! But it looks fine.
Rotation of the main body of the galaxy – spinning – controlled by a 12V Stepper Motor, which can be found many places, but I got mine from here.
Blinking lights – simulating stars / planets – 10mm, 5mm and 3mm diffused LEDs. (Mostly white; with some isolated greens, reds and blues)
Motion-activated – PIR sensor as motion detector.
Two plastic hemispheres from Canal Plastics 20 inch diameter: http://canalplastic.com/
Clear acrylic for LED bed (home depot, canal plastics)
Threaded metal rod
Wire snipper and stripper
I then drew up a pattern of spirals and circles in illustrator.
I sent it to a laser cutter. This object will serve as an LED bed and help to consolidate the arduino and battery. It needs to be symmetrical because the faster the motor rotates the more wobbly the system will become. But it’s unlikely to reach those speeds if you’re reasonable about your stepper motor code!
MECHANICS / CIRCUITRY / CODE:
I decided to use a stepper motor to spin my jellyfish. Stepper motors, unlike servo motors, allow for smooth rotation.
How stepper motors work:
I need to figure what motor speed / rotation rate to use.
Code: Adafruit Arduino – Lesson 16. Stepper
The PIR sensor calibrates to the temperature of environment, and then detects all subsequent changes in it, within a specific range, that is. This translates to motion-detection, technically, although by definition, this isn’t exactly what occurs. PIR sensor activation allows current to flow into the rest of the circuit. In the following sketch, LEDs light up upon PIR sensor activation. This is a step to test if your PIR sensor works.
I have modified a PIR sensor code to account for the number of LEDs (and therefore output pins)
THE LEDs –
TIMING THE TWINKLE:
I ended up incorporating a code that made the LEDs blink at random. This was a rather elegant and simple looking code that eliminated the busywork that comes with using a code that includes delays. Including delays in the code would interfere with the movement of the motor.
Next step was to solder the wires to the LEDs. I cut the wires to various lengths.
I next encased the wire/LED combination in thin rubber tubing. The texture mimicked that of a jellyfish’s tentacles. I also nestled hot glue between the LED positive and negative legs to keep within the organic theme. Using the typical black electrical tape would not look good with the rubber tubing!
Putting it all together:
12V Stepper Motor –> chrome plated threaded rod —> laser cut acrylic —> arduino breadboard/battery –> LEDs (rubber tubing encased)
Here are some images!
Follow this link for my instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cosmic-Jellyfish-Lamp/