Fredmau5: Deadmau5 LED Replica

After working on and off for nearly 4 years, this project is now finished. Upon discovering Deadmau5; the stage name of Joel Zimmerman,  I had always toyed with the idea of re-creating the LED mau5 head that he wears during his shows. After some research, I began planning how it would all go together. The lights are a chain of individually addressable led pixels that were glued in place with hot-melt glue and a mix of custom led holders, some of which I 3D printed and the rest made by Shapeways 3d printing service.

 

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A mask image was used to generate the eyes and mouth.

 

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Led Edit 2013 was used to convert graphics displayed on screen into LED instructions.

 

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A copy of Glediator was obtained from http://solderlab.de and was used to create visual effects.

 

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Electro-luminescent wire is used to highlight the ears, however my camera did not have enough dynamic range to capture both well.

 

Video

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A 14″ lighting globe was cut in half and reinforced with MDF to act as a shell.

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Custom LED pixel holders were designed using sketchup and 3D printed using a prusa I3.

An animated gif that was used as a mask.

Colour gif image used to test the LEDs.

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Another animated gif used as a mask.

 

Rave Shades

Unlike other led glasses, this kit uses larger 3 mm LEDs which offers a superior visual effect when animations are played. Not only that, our kit has a wopping 24 x 8 led matrix to provide more detailed text and animations. There are 160 individually addressable LEDs that work together to display scrolling text, custom animations and much more. Rave Shades are a kit that requires self-assembly with tools used for basic electronics, like a soldering iron, wire cutters, and a glue gun.

Ever since my EL-EE-DEE glasses got featured on the instructables homepage, I have gotten many requests to build them on commission. The original glasses took an age to make, so I decided to design a kit for people so assemble themselves. This kit only takes a couple of hours to complete provided you have previous soldering experience. After trying out a couple of prototypes I was happy with the design and began the write up on instructables, the link to which can be found by clicking the big green button at the end of this post. At the time of being featured on the instructables homepage, I released the Kickstarter campaign.

Out of respect for an existing company called rave shades, I changed the name of this product to Ravez Shades, this has since led to some confusion.

Out of respect for an existing company called rave shades, I changed the name of this product to Ravez Shades, this has since led to some confusion.

 

 

Sample animation.

Sample animation.

 

Video

 

How to build!

EL-EE-DEE Glasses

I came up with this idea after seeing similar videos on the internet. I however have improved on the design. What separates my glasses from the others out there, is that mine use an external matrix driver and battery. What this means is, for the cost of having a cable down your back when wearing the device, you get a greatly improved battery life. This also allows the device to use ultra-bright 1210 LED’s. Not only that, a full sized arduino can be used if you have one. This project uses cheap and easy to gain parts to allow you to create a one of a kind fancy dress party piece. These glasses do not obstruct your vision any more than the original shutter shades. Even with the glasses on turned on, no glare from the LEDs can be seen.

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This caption can only say one thing. SWAG !

 

EL-EE-DEE (LED) Glasses

EL-EE-DEE (LED) Glasses

 

A pin was used to mark the position of the LEDs

A pin was used to mark the position of the LEDs

 

The pin left very discrete fiducial markings.

The pin left very discrete fiducial markings.

 

Vertical connections were made by meandering wires.

Vertical connections were made by meandering wires.

 

How to build!

Electro-Magetic Spike Generator

I made this device to demonstrate how electricity and magnetism interact with each other in a visual way.  The basic concept was to create a large and short lived pulse of current that passes through a coil. The huge current flowing  in a circular motion produces a strong magnetic field very briefly. This field passes through a conductive ring. This rise and collapse of the magnetic field induces eddy currents in the conductive ring. These eddy currents produce an opposing magnetic field which intern repels the initial magnetic field caused by the pulsed coil. Provided enough current passes through the initial coil and the conductive ring has a low electrical resistance it will fire straight up in the air. As magnetic field strength gets weaker the further away you are from it, it is important to dump a lot of energy in the shortest possible amount of time to have the largest projectile range.

 

Long exposure photo of the contactor upon discharge.

Long exposure photo of the contactor upon discharge.

 

When I demonstrated this to my peers and my lecturer at college it used a standard mains rated toggle switch to make the circuit. However, after 2 discharges the switch contacts had become welded together internally so I created open frame contactor who’s tip could be replaced easily. While it is possible to touch both contacts and receive a 400v shock, precautions were taken to reduce the likely hood of that happening.

The capacitor bank was made from 20 individual 100uF 400V electrolytic capacitors which were put in parallel with each other to hold more energy. The bank itself was then put in parallel with the capacitor on an external camera flash charging circuit. A disposable camera was not used as they are only rated for 1.5V which would mean approximately twice the charging time of the current setup at 3V.

 

A small part of the contactor vaporizes upon striking the positive terminal.

A small part of the contactor vaporizes upon striking the positive terminal.

 

Homemade fast acting contactor, with easy tip replacement.

Homemade fast acting contactor, with easy tip replacement.

 

Multiple capacitors are put in parallel with the old camera flash capacitor.

Multiple capacitors are put in parallel with the old camera flash capacitor.

 

Hard drive platter serves as a projectile.

Hard drive platter serves as a projectile.

 

Capacitor bank.

Capacitor bank.

 

Camera flash circuit.

Camera flash circuit.

LED Helmet

This cheap and cheerful LED matrix helmet was loosely based on the masks worn by Daft Punk in the music video for the track titled “Something About Us”.

A Johnson decoded decade counter (4017) was used to cycle through the columns of the matrix, while 2 shift registers allowed individual LEDs to be illuminated in the column determined by the counter. An Arduino Uno was used to control the counter and shift in the desired pixels to form an image. These images can be played in quick succession to create the illusion of motion.

Video

 

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The LED matrix on the right is driven by the same chips and is there for a duplicate of the left hand matrix.

 

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It is hard to make this look pretty, and it is even harder to look through.

LED Cube Without a Micro Controller

I was browsing the internet when I discovered a 5mm LED that would automatically cycle through various colours and strobe when 5v was supplied. After watching Makezine’s ‘Make a Pocket LED Cube’ video with Bre Pettis, I thought would be cool idea to make a cube using these LEDs. That way, no expensive micro-controllers and programming equipment would be required.

The case was made from 3mm Acrylic fused together with Tensol plastic adhesive. A jig was used to hold the LEDs in place whilst the structure was soldered together. The device was powered through a USB cable using a USB power adapter.

 

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How to build !

Tesla Coil

At age 16 I was inspired to build a working Tesla coil after watching videos on YouTube. The Tesla coil was invented by Nicola Tesla circa 1891 and is technically called an air cored resonant transformer. Matching the inductive reactance and capacitive reactance of the primary coil and tank capacitor to that of the secondary winding is the key to resonance and getting big sparks. Without the required test equipment back then, I was unable to determine what needed changing in order to optimize it.

While this was not my first DIY project, it was the first one that I documented with a series of photographs. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to demonstrate this to my classmates and visitors at school. 

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I discovered this extremely simple diagram when conducting research into the basic operation of the aircored resonant transformer AKA the tesla coil, as designed by Nikola Tesla circa 1890’s

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The construction consisted of 18mm MDF board, various pvc fittings, a neon sign transformer, copper magnet wire and bunch of jam jar capacitors that utilize the dielectric properties of glass to store a charge.

 

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