• Elvin Ou

Fabrication4&5 - Enclosure

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Final product:


Inspired by my pcomp final idea about creating a lighting screen, I decided to create an enclosure to be one of the prototype modules.

Image of raw material:

- Hexagon wood box

- Neopixel light strip

- Arduino uno

- wire

- carboard

- frosted acrylic panel (right now I used mylar paper because I haven't gotten the right acrylic yet)

Drawings and Mid-process Images:

The process started with sketching out ideas of how I wanted the form of the enclosure to be and then slowly developed into various ways of making and assembling the enclosure of the prototype.

From there, I started brain storming different ideas of the assembly by using different materials, different screws and connectors. Eventually I had everything planned, 3D modeled the design digitally and started getting all the materials that is needed for this project. With the dimension I have for the hexagon wood box and the neopixel light strip, I started making a grid in the hexagon for the neopixels to sit in and calculated how many of them are needed for one module. It was all so perfectly planned out and so ready to go.... until when I actually started making it, everything changed... :(

I started with drilling a hole on the side of the hexagon box for the arduino cord to sit in. After the drilling, I used multiple different sanding tools trying to alternate the round drill hole into a rectangle that the arduino cord could fit.

From there, I marked where the screw holes on the base panel for the arduino to be mounted and then drilled tiny holes.

Then I started laser cutting the base panel with cardboard where the lights are going to be mounted and of course it did not work well. The hexagon that was laser-cut was perfect but the wood box is not a perfect hexagon (omg...) I was so upset when they didn't fit each other so I had to sand the edges of the cardboard until it eventually fit in. In addition, I laser-cut six rectangles and attached them to each inner wall of the hexagon box so the cardboard piece can be elevated flat above the arduino.

This is the "fun" part, I assumed (Now I learned to never assume) that the shop would have the right standoffs I want for my box but of course they don't. It made me pretty frustrated again so I decided to assemble the neopixels onto the cardboard first, which turned out to be extremely time consuming. I followed the grid I made in my computer and organized all the neopixels. I accepted the fact that the soldering took me hours and hours but NOT the fact that after I soldered all the LEDs and connected to arduino, half of them did not lit. Again, I was so frustrated and tried really hard to figure out what was happening until i just got rid of the "broken" part and re-solder with new LEDs. I eventually worked.

Eventually the arduino part worked pretty well and I just need the frosted acrylic to make the front cover also the diffuser of light. Right now I used a sheet of mylar paper as the cover, which works pretty well. When I am able to find the right frosted acrylic sheet, I will laser cut it and attached it with the light base board with 3/4" standoffs on six corners.

Eventually I did not make it to the canal plastic and found another substitute for the cover, a foam piece with apertures. However, When I was assembling it, I ended up blowing up all the LEDs...and... yeah..

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