So … you dreamed about being a Jedi of light&pixels? And all you need is your lightsaber? Or you see yourself as a magician of light and you need a wand?
Cast the shadows of the night away :) here comes the “Light-Wand” (or “Rainbow Wand” or “the mother/father of all light painting sticks” – is hard to please everybody, so at least we can be flexible when it comes to names!)
My idea was to make a portable, customizable (in terms of light output) and “long” source of “linear” light.
And keep it DIY as much as possible.
So here goes – list of things needed:
Wood board painted in black – dimensions will have to suit your needs – mine is 128x5x2.5 cm
Flexible Led Strip RGB SMD 5050 + 44 keys remote + Controllers – depending on how many strips of led you will want. (my version has 3 strips and 3 controllers)
A piece of 3/4 inch MDPE water plastic pipe, an NPT-Female-Brass-Pipe-Plug, some wires, nuts&bolts, a router (or a friend with a router – a wood router :) a soldering iron, a drill, some free time …
The idea is to have the led strips glued on one side of the board and the power supply+electronics housed in a hollowed space in the board.
First thing to do is to think about your needs – how long do I want it? Remember that rotating the Light wand the length doubles.
The batteries go inside the 3/4 inch plastic pipe (54cm are enough to house the 10 rechargeable batteries required to power the strips) The pipe swings on a bolt that goes thru the board. The brass plug is drilled and screwed at the other end acts as a stopper and as a + contact (add springs at both ends of the pipe for a better contact between the batteries).
The controllers are connected to the power supply and the led strips are connected to the controllers with wires soldered directly (you can buy connectors if soldering is not an option) – the wires go from one side of the plank to another via a drilled hole! :)
The IR Sensors are glued with hot-melt glue in 3 holes drilled on the side of the plank.
Last thing to do is cover the wires and the pipe – multiple options here: from duct tape to a strip of plastic screwed in the corners.
If you have in mind creating some big wheels then you will need a way to rotate the wand freely – it is easier to do it if you have a “handle”. To get one drill a hole at one end, fit inside a length of metal pipe and with a threaded rod, a pipe & a washer + 3 bolts you’ll be ready to start your engines.
One thing to consider: when you will rotate the wand you must hold it high enough not to touch the ground when it points downwards, so … check your strength and height before smashing it to the ground) And have the handle as long as you can – a shorter one is hard to grip with both hands – I went for the 1m long version :D
On the other side the self-adhesive LED strips are not glued from the same starting line, but one after the other at 5mm intervals (to avoid overlapping the individual LEDs from different strips)
In order to operate the wand you will have to cover (with your hand) 2 of the IR sensors, choose the desired color for one strip with the remote and then repeat the operation 2 more times for the other strips.
Being RGB strips your options are … numerous! :) The light mustn’t necessarily be continuous … you can cover parts of the wand with a black material and in this way you can get completely different results!
As for what can you do with it … it all comes down to your imagination – this “tutorial” was put together in a rush (can somebody do a tutorial on stretching time?!) so I only took a few images last night!
I will upload some more as soon as the rain will move on! :)
Well … that’s all folks! Have fun and .. may the light be with you! :) (have spare batteries just in case!)