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mediaBIN3.0 Weighted Companion Cube Build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by zAAm, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. Bo$$

    Bo$$ Lab Extraordinaire

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    that is gonna look great in the case :nutkick:
  2. WhiteLotus

    WhiteLotus

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    hot damn!

    Good call on the LED mix.
  3. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Yeah, I think so as well. I'm also thinking about maybe adding a microcontroller that regulates the LED intensities? Then you can manually adjust the individual LED colours? Or make them flash if you're in a disco mood. :laugh:

    Thanks, it was basically just luck that the intensities worked so well though, since the UV and red LEDs are 250mcd and 1800mcd respectively. Seems that is the perfect ratio :cool:

    Here is the light diffused by the white ruler and then passing through the frosted perspex. This is the effect I want. But what I don't want is the approx. 8cm that the light needs to mix properly. I'm thinking about a sort of wavy or triangular diffuser to mix the light more aggresively... :wtf:
    [​IMG]
  4. Bo$$

    Bo$$ Lab Extraordinaire

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    i think the controller will solve all the issues as you can tweak intensities to suit your needs, but think more experimentation will be need to get it just right :pimp:
  5. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Construction Day 2

    Today I basically just continued where I left off yesterday with the corners and started making the edges.

    Found a big old tub that's exactly the right radius for the curved parts ;). Since I already cut the pieces, a compass isn't exactly comfortable to use since the circle midpoint is way outside the square.
    [​IMG]

    After marking it, I cut the curve out with a jigsaw with a very thin scroll blade. The downside? The thin blade is prone to bend and doesn't cut straight downwards. :shadedshu
    Also, I wouldn't recommend cutting with a jigsaw at this height! Not very comfortable... :laugh:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    All 8 big corner parts cut. You can see the angled cut clearly. I'm going to sand everything down anyway so as long as the inner curve is spot on it won't matter.
    [​IMG]

    All the parts of all the corners cut and stacked (very artistically if I might add :rolleyes:).
    [​IMG]

    The corners assembled before sanding the edges square... (Notice how unevenly they fit together)
    [​IMG]

    And afterwards... You can clearly see that the parts now line up nice and neat :p
    [​IMG]

    Close up of the new fit
    [​IMG]

    Next up, glue everything together...
    [​IMG]

    Now I started work on the edges. I used the laminated 6mm MDF I made earlier, squared it off with a bandsaw and cut and sanded everything to size. They need some more refining and shaping but will do that later. I used a Solidworks drawing again to save some time.
    [​IMG]

    A shot of the bandsaw where I'm squaring of the laminations... It's not hard to see the saw is a bit rusted from being outside. Will probably need to clean it up a bit some time :laugh:. Works great though...
    [​IMG]

    I couldn't help myself - the view from my workbench :twitch: Although not much time to enjoy it...
    [​IMG]

    Finally, everything together. I can only glue 3 corners at a time because I don't have enough bench- and C-clamps to hold them together. So 3 is done, another 3 is drying and tomorrow I'll glue the last two. ;)
    Also, I ran out of laminated MDF so I glued an extra piece to cut out a few more edge pieces. Will cut those tomorrow.
    [​IMG]

    That's it folks! Will probably continue with the lighting tonight and maybe see if I can design a microcontroller circuit to adjust the LED's... :toast:
  6. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Do you plan to fiberglass or bondo it to smooth it out for paint?
  7. zAAm

    zAAm

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    I think I'll check how smooth the finish is when I'm done and then decide. Probably won't use fiberglass as it's sort of a pain to work with, but since MDF can be finished pretty smoothly I might not have to use it at all... ;)
  8. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Construction Day 3

    Nothing spectacular today, only the continuation of yesterday and still LOTS of sanding to do tomorrow... At least I completed one corner to see what it will look like and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself :laugh:

    First up, completing the edge corner profiles. After drawing lines where I should sand to, I jumped in (and I use that term VERY loosely :laugh:) and sanded all the edges. There's a lot of them... :twitch:
    [​IMG]

    Here you go, some blood and tears later (of which I didn't take a photo), the profiles are complete. Now all that needs to be done to them is to glue the two different parts together and they will be finished.
    [​IMG]

    Next up, the main event! Sanding those corners. As there are a lot of material to remove and the sanding needs to be pretty precise, it takes about an hour and a half for each corner! :twitch: The next ones will probably go a bit faster though. I first masked the area to be sanded.
    [​IMG]

    Then I sanded to the line I drew on the tape. Easy... :rolleyes:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the edges of the one face almost done...
    [​IMG]

    ... and the back edges sanded...
    [​IMG]

    ... and then complete! The process is simple but very time consuming as well as a bit straining on the back to stand around for hours on end... :(
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Finally, the complete shot of all the parts worked on today. The corners at the back still needs face sanding since I'm waiting for them to dry. So one corner down, only seven more to go! :) :rolleyes: :eek: :( :ohwell: :cry:
    [​IMG]

    Also something to mention, the thing I like about MDF, the finish is VERY smooth, even with me using 100 grit sandpaper. I'll switch to a higher grit later before everything is painted to smooth it even further.
  9. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Now I need to decide if I'm going to make the controller microprocessor or discrete component based... The microcontroller version will operate through push buttons. The discrete component version will just have two potentiometers to control the intensities... Decisions decisions....... :laugh:

    Microcontroller based
    [​IMG]

    Discrete component based
    [​IMG]

    It's obvious that the discrete version will be smaller and easier to construct, but it won't be so flexible ie. I can make the LED's flash or something with the microcontroller version...
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  10. Bo$$

    Bo$$ Lab Extraordinaire

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    go for the descrete, the controls for the microcontroller will be a pain and take up uneeded time really :D but otherwise i think it is really taking shape :rockout:
  11. MRCL

    MRCL

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    Sweet sloth of ice planet Hoth! You really have your heart into this project. Thats some damn fine work there!
  12. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Thanks! I think the discrete one will definitely be faster, but I might be in the mood to touch up my microcontroller programming skills. The only thing I don't like so much is the DAC ladder. I don't have enough resistors to build it now. Maybe I'll make it modular and then you can plug in the controller, whether it's the discrete or microcontroller version. Then I can make the discrete one now and later when I get the parts continue with the microcontroller version :D

    Thanks alot! :toast:
  13. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Lighting update

    Okay, I've found a way of producing the 3mm light strip with a pretty uniform colour mixture - all in a compact, very thin package needed to fit between the case and motherboard. This is only a prototype, the final version will be much smaller and not have aluminium foil just wrapped around it :laugh:

    But you can get the idea in the following photos - the first being in lighted conditions and the second in darkness. Sorry for the blurry dark photo, I don't have a tripod with me so I tend to shake the camera with its long exposure. At least you can get an idea on how it will look.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  14. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Okay, this is the final circuit for the LED controller using discrete components. I would've liked the red LED's at minimum to be basically off but they are stuck at about 160uA which gives them a VERY faint glow. Not that it will matter in the end anyway.

    I took a few pictures to show it working (so that you know I'm sincere :D ). The circuit on the right on the veroboard is only a power supply I built a while ago for the 5V and 12V needed by the controller (which will be provided by a molex connector). The circuit on full power draws around 200mA total from both the 5V and 12V line so I'm guessing it's dissipating around 2.5Watts! :twitch:
    Idle power (with both circuits off) it's dissipating around 100mW which is mostly attributed to the faint glow on the red LED's.

    Everything off to show the circuit
    [​IMG]

    With RED on full power... (it's BRIGHT :twitch:)...
    [​IMG]

    ... UV on full power...
    [​IMG]

    ... both at full power...
    [​IMG]

    I think this will be fine for the current use and I can linearly (or more logarithmically I believe) adjust both intensities with fairly good precision. This way I can adjust the colour after everything is in place and shining through the diffusers to match the actual colour :rockout:

    EDIT: Fixed the faint glow by changing a resistor on the bias circuit at the cost of a little reduction in max intensity (although very small). Now the LED's are all off at the lowest setting.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  15. Bo$$

    Bo$$ Lab Extraordinaire

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    cool leds
  16. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Controller building

    Okay, just finished building the discrete controller board. It's basically as short as I could make it - with resistors even under the potentiometers to save space. Also, I will drill holes in the lips on the side to mount it. Would probably be best to do the layout, but I don't have access to that right now and it won't be seen either way :D

    Getting ready to whip out the Weller! With the components placed. ;)
    [​IMG]

    The controller done. Not the best soldering job I've ever done but it'll work... (I blame the oversized 60W soldering iron :D)
    [​IMG]

    ... top side...
    [​IMG]

    ... with it connected to the LED's (once again running on small PSU but wired for molex)...
    [​IMG]

    Now that that's done, I'm going to continue with the corners. Couldn't work yesterday because one of the power phases were off - meaning no sufficient power for the sander. :cry:
  17. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Construction Day 4/5

    So yesterday I didn't make a lot of progress and it wasn't anything you haven't seen before... So here is another update, I think it may be a good one :D

    I actually finished all 8 of the corners today! Took me the good part of today and a few hours yesterday. Feel a bit relieved since they only need minor adjustments now and most of the work is already done.

    Here they are all in a nice row - fitting surprisingly good actually :eek:
    [​IMG]

    ... so since they're all complete, I decided to do a quick mockup of everything I have so far. :cool: This is the top view of the cube, with the edges just thrown on there to see if they line up.
    [​IMG]

    A side shot of the cube
    [​IMG]

    Shot from the front to see if the edges fit and to check their clearance.
    [​IMG]

    Finally a shot from above where I rearranged the edges as they would look when they're finished.
    [​IMG]

    I must say it's nice to see everything coming together so well thus far. Can almost see the end result already :D
  18. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Okay, so I've been playing around with some perspex and I'm thinking of making the heart discs by thermoforming some perspex. It's going to be tough and might involve some (read a lot) of malformed pieces, but I think it will be nice in the end since I will have the option of lighting the heart forms as well since I'll be using clear perspex...

    The heart will then be printed and glued to the surface and varnished so it's flat. Also, the way I'm designing the pivot point for the one heart to swivel it will be easier as it will give me more space.

    What do you guys think? :confused:
    I've quickly tried it on two pieces of scrap perspex to see how the forming works...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I believe that if I make a positive mold and stretch the perspex over it, I will get the effect I'm looking for... :confused:
  19. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Construction Day 6

    I'm glad to say the perspex thermoforming worked PERFECTLY the first time without making a single dud! Guess it helps to plan ahead :cool:

    I started by making a mold to stretch the perspex by cutting a piece of MDF and smoothing it on a drill with steel wool till it's extremely smooth - don't want to make marks in the perspex when it's drawn over it...
    [​IMG]

    Next I cut pieces of 2.5mm perspex (which would be easier to form), slightly larger than the mold form... It also happened to be bright fluorescent orange :D
    [​IMG]

    After I smoothed the edges of the perspex disks, I had all the pieces I needed to start with the forming process
    [​IMG]

    The process is very simple and very fast as well. Start by lining up the disk with the smaller hole of the mold cover...
    [​IMG]

    ... then heat the outside of the circle with a heatgun until it's flexible enough to push down fairly easily if you press in the middle. Quickly throw down the gun, and line up the mold precisely in the nick of time... :laugh:
    [​IMG]

    ... and press down! You can see the perspex fits JUST inside the cavity ...
    [​IMG]

    ... finally, I pressed everything together with some weights (in the form of some bricks) to ensure everything was flat...
    [​IMG]

    After a few minutes of cooling, I had this left:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    All lined up for scale. Notice that the lips aren't square and some are really off center and essentially crooked. :wtf:
    [​IMG]

    They should be 90mm, so I think I did fairly well on the measurements :D
    [​IMG]

    Finally, to remedy the crooked lips (sounds a bit... uhm... nevermind), I built a sort of sanding jig to hold the pieces square. The crookedness is obvious here... :D Before sanding:
    [​IMG]

    ... and after. Looking much better I must say. ;)
    [​IMG]

    Also, I begun to assemble the edge parts... Here are the first 4 clamped and waiting to dry. Will do the other 4 tomorrow and then sand their edges again.
    [​IMG]

    All in all a good day I think. Very surprised that the perspex handled so easily! Will definitely use this technique in the future :D
  20. Bo$$

    Bo$$ Lab Extraordinaire

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    looking Good keep up the work dude :)
  21. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    This is so freakin awesome. I want one now. lol. How much would you charge to make one? :D
  22. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Thanks! Will do :toast:

    Haha, I dunno, it's turning out to be much more time-consuming than I originally thought :laugh: - basically been working on it for a whole week straight figuring out all the minor details... And I'm talking about 10-12 hours a day (Although it's questionable how efficient one can work on whiskey... :laugh:)

    Hope it will get better after finishing and paint though so stay tuned :toast:
  23. Perra New Member

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    Such an insanely sweet project! I bet it will look awesome when finished, keep up the good work! I bet there will be cake in the end ;)
  24. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Thanks! Haha, I hope there will be. Maybe I'll get some for the occasion :laugh:

    A quick view of the hardware that will go inside of the cube. Don't mind the totally useless cardboard cutout at the top, it will be made of 3mm clear perspex and the design will be slightly altered - more material to give a stronger piece. Also, you can see a slot that will fit over the network card to hold it in place - it will be bent and fitted square over the card.
    [​IMG]

    My current thinking is that the hard drives will be secured by angled aluminium on both sides of the 5mm perspex sheet. I think I will ultimately only use one 1TB SATA drive, but it helps to plan for expansion and for the time being I'll use the two 320GB IDE drives.
  25. Bo$$

    Bo$$ Lab Extraordinaire

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    how are you gonna fit the bottom into the case, screws? :confused:

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