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Ahch-To: Instructional Section related to constructing your own Lightsaber => Component Blades - Neopixel / LED String blades => Topic started by: Obi_1 on February 05, 2017, 12:53:00 PM

Title: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on February 05, 2017, 12:53:00 PM

I start this thread as a general board to exchange ideas/experiences/recommendations and tons of pictures on the subject of:

How to assemble a neopixel blade?

Neopixel stripes are around for some time now. Since their debuting (see LED string saber evolution - this might change the way we think about LED string (https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/index.php?topic=49210.0) ) in early 2016, a lot of lightsaber builders took up this new technology due to it's unparalelled possibilities compared to both high-power LED and segmented LED string blades.

Quite a long time passed since. After DIYino Prime v1, the first lightsaber board to fully support neopixel blades, other saber board manufacturers also jumped on the train, so it can be safely said that now it is the 3rd pillar of lighsaber illumination (the first two being in chronological order: 1. segmented LED strings and 2. high-power LED type blades aka Luxeon/Cree)

This thread is about how to assemble such a blade. It is supposed to give others not yet familiar with this build type an idea:
- where to source good quality neopixel stripes
- what is their theory of operation
- common pitfalls
- brigthness and supplying schemes
- etc.

as well as to offer experiences builders a platform to exchange new ideas.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on February 05, 2017, 01:26:40 PM
Now, after this introduction, let's have the first post.

A disclaimer: I'm a hobby sabersmith and a saber board designer. But I'm far away from being a skilled blade builder. I made my share of segmented LED strings and multiple neopixel based builds, and I'm happy with the results, but I'm fully aware - and quite happy about - that other are way better at it as I'm, so I can learn from them.

So here is my simple neopixel blade assembly guide to launch the topic:

Rules:
- buy good quality neopixel stripes. I warn from cheap sites, especially some sources from AliExpress have dubious quality. My latest one I sourced from this site: http://www.ebay.de/itm/191956702454?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT (http://www.ebay.de/itm/191956702454?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT) . It is a German site, but what I wanted to share is that since my first neopixel posting price of the sripes drop fast, now for 40$ you can have 2m of the densest stripe, one year ago it easily hit the 100$ mark.

- try not to solder the stripes. I have some skills with soldering, but the stripes are not made for it. You can cut, not problemo, soldering it is a xxx! Nevertheless with some skill you will manage it. It a bigger problem that it will break the integrity of the strip, which might impact dual worthiness or generaly speaking robustness of the blade.

- buy the 144LED/m type, less dense stripes are great, but not for sabers. You need the dense stripe to avoid pixeling.


Now to some pictures I took from my latest blade assembly:

Most stripes come with connectors on both sides to be able to chain multiple segments together. This comes in handly, because instead of soldering directly on the stripes you can join the wires of the connectors. The - so far - most common design is to attach 2 stripes back to back, with the first pixel of both stripes at the bottom of the blade. Wiring is easy: connect GND to GND, 5V (supply) to 5V and DIN to DIN, as seen on the next pic (the stripes I ordered so far all had wire assignment as follows: white - GND, red - 5V (supply), green - DIN (serial input)
(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1035.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa432%2FKunci1%2Fkicsi_IMG_20170122_215148172_00011_zpsugg8ep5e.jpg&hash=539e8ad92df0ceb44bcd5dcf880bad6f) (http://s1035.photobucket.com/user/Kunci1/media/kicsi_IMG_20170122_215148172_00011_zpsugg8ep5e.jpg.html)

The basic unit of a stripe seems to be a 0.5m long pixel chain, which is attached to another with the same size, so all stripes are assembled using 0,5m segments. At the joint of the segments there are bigger landings for soldering (see next pic, in the middle), making the distance between two adjecent pixels greater than at other positions along the stripe. My first though was logically, that this distance will appear as an irregularity in the blade, therefore I started to desolder, cut, solder again. I s***d up and had to buy a new one, so I do not recommend doing so. In my newest build I did not touch it and I can conform: no irregularity is visible, this distance is still way too small to be recognized.

(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1035.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa432%2FKunci1%2Fkicsi_IMG_20170122_220129656_00013_zps1cooiyib.jpg&hash=25c4f2f6ce1ce675651bc5612deab0fc) (http://s1035.photobucket.com/user/Kunci1/media/kicsi_IMG_20170122_220129656_00013_zps1cooiyib.jpg.html)

If you choose the back-to-back design, attaching the stripes is made confortable by the double sided, clear adhesive tape present on many of the commercially available stripes. I choose to attach them so that there is a pixel on a side between 2 pixels of the opposite side, i.e. interleaved. I figured that it migth give an even smoother illumination along the blade. The adhesive is insulating, therefore you do not have to worry about the small landings on the back of the stripe touching, but even if your stripe does not come with adhesive, or it happens to be non-insulating or bad quality, an interleaved configuration makes sure the landings do not overlap (you only have to be cautions at the soldered joins as mentioned above).

(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1035.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa432%2FKunci1%2Fkicsi_IMG_20170122_212332006_00006_zpsjkgaviow.jpg&hash=9b2f41acf9b8bc5c223413a0bba9f419) (http://s1035.photobucket.com/user/Kunci1/media/kicsi_IMG_20170122_212332006_00006_zpsjkgaviow.jpg.html)

As you can see, assembling this basic design is not at all difficult, just make sure you align the stripes and press them well together before moving onto the next few inches.

A note on voltage drop and adding wires: I saw few people mention that their stripe seems to be more dark at the end. This can well be due to voltage drop. A logical solution - which led me to extensive soldering and frustration - is to add additional wires to lower the IR drop along the stripe. It can be done, migth help, but there is a drawback: if you but these wires between the sripes, there will be a gap. And you do not want that gap, because it will be visible as shadow in the blade. For achieving a good and uniform brightness along the blade, pressing the stripes together best as possible is crucial.

I will do some more pics on how I diffused the blade. I used basically the same technique I applied to segmented LED string blades:
- TCSS transwhite blade
- with the accompanying diffuser rod (!!!)
- and a packing foam wrapped around the stripes.

To the number of LEDs/pixels: a standard 32" blade needs around 120 pixels in a row (i.e. 240 if you use the back-to-back technique), that is why I geared LSOS to support that number or less.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on February 05, 2017, 02:52:06 PM
My best blade yet was two strips back to back, 4 layers of white packing foam, 1 layer of toilet paper, 4 ft of clear gift wrap, clear thin wall blade.  The hardest part of construction is definitely cutting the TP.  My blade was perfectly even with no noticeable shadows, except for a ragged seam in the paper.  I considered trying PTFE heatshrink as a diffuser, but it's pretty expensive to try.  I have also been considering ordering a 7/8 transwhite tube to use a diffuser within the clear tube.  Without the TP the blade looked pretty good, except from directly viewing perpendicular to the plane of the strips.  The individual LEDs were visible from dead on, but not when viewing at an angle.  Adding a 6th layer of the foam didn't help with diffusing very much.

From my experience in prototyping, I'm pretty sure the "browning" effect is due to wiring issues or poor battery.  Once I moved from my lower gauge jumper wiring and breadboard to 28awg soldered connections the blade lit up perfectly without any dimming.  If insufficient wiring or connectors are used, this can easily result in dimming.  Secondly, not all batteries can deliver the current required to light 240 LEDs.  A quality cell is essential.  It goes without saying, that if powered from a bench or other plugged in source during testing, the source most be able to deliver the proper current.

Unfortunately I don't have any worthwhile photos to share, but I'll be sure to document the construction of my next version.  I may swap out the TP for waxed paper, which should be easier to cut cleanly and stiff enough to make into a tube.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on February 05, 2017, 04:55:30 PM
The best way to tell what's causing browning is probably a multimeter.
Just power the whole thing on and measure the voltage at the base and end.
If the voltage at the base is low (less than 3.7 on a full battery) get a new battery.
If the voltage at the end is significantly lower than at the base (I have not measured this myself, so I don't know what to expect.) resistance in the blade itself is the problem, and adding wires might help. (Or getting a better strip.)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: theholyduck on February 05, 2017, 04:58:01 PM
How well do you find those i assume 10mm wide strips work in the blades? I know profezon used 7mm wide strips. On 1 hand it seems narrower strips would allow more diffusion foam and thus better diffusion. on the other hand. wider strips have more thermal mass and wider traces for more current carrying capability.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on February 05, 2017, 07:32:51 PM
I don't think more copper is going to make much difference for heat, since it's all going to be wrapped in some insulator anyways.
It could make a difference for current, but it hasn't been a problem with mine. There is a voltage drop between base and tip, but any unevenness in light/color is pretty minimal. (And only when the battery is close to the cutoff.)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on February 06, 2017, 01:49:37 AM
On that note it's worth to mention that especially protected batteries might not be able to deliver the current needed for 240 pixels. In my current build I had to limit the PWM to 150 (max is 255), because otherwise the protection circuitry shuts down the battery. Not the case if you have an unprotected, high draw cell (but everyone should try at own risk!).

As to the voltage drop, I did measure and did not see any drop worth to mention between base and end, i.e. the drop should be minimal over the quite broad copper traces. However your wiring/mosfets/everytjing else in the way will make a difference, even with a fully charged 18650 I measured only ~3.1V at the base when switching on the blade.

It just tells that an optimal supply of the neopixels is still to be found. I will definitely redo my build with an unprotected cell (at my risk), in which case I need to see how  much brightness is coming from the pixels and how much from glowing wires ?  :evil:
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on May 19, 2017, 03:10:48 AM

I will do some more pics on how I diffused the blade. I used basically the same technique I applied to segmented LED string blades:
- TCSS transwhite blade
- with the accompanying diffuser rod (!!!)
- and a packing foam wrapped around the stripes.

I have a few questions:


I thank you in advance for your answers.

Regards,

Azsde.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on May 19, 2017, 06:48:35 AM
I've done quite a bit of experimenting, and I've built and rebuilt about 5 or 6 times now.

Trans-white blades don't seem to significantly improve diffusion in the way that is necessary for eliminating the visibility of the individual pixels.  Shadows in general don't really seem to be the major problem everyone theorizes they should be, but to my eye it actually looks somewhat worse with the trans-white than with clear.  In the end, the effect of the trans-white seems similar to what you'd get from a regular star LED: a thicker looking blade.  I'll have more on this once I've given the blade the silicon treatment.  I've never been a fan of the white blade, so for a standard blade (not covered in silicon) I think I'll stick to clear blades.

Experiments with 3D printed tips have yielded some desirable results.  I'm printing hollow bullet shape tips in clear (natural) PETG and with a few layers of thickness, the layer lines do a great job of catching and diffusing the light.  They aren't as nice looking as a the machined tips from TCSS, but they come much closer to matching the blade when illuminated.  The only catch hear is that since it is clear the layer changes are pretty obvious as the plastic is denser there.

There are some more tricks up my sleeve, and I'll share more about then when I've had a chance to test them.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Master Cram-Fu on June 18, 2017, 11:31:21 PM
So, I'm relatively new to this, but I just clear heatshrunk two strips back to back, stuck them in a tcss thick wall diffuser, then put that inside a tcss thin wall diffuser, and that went in an enhanced blade.. Here's some pictures with the enhanced red.

Here's a picture of the blade up close. Ignoring my scratches from trying to jam it into the emitter, you can see that there is no corn cob effect.
(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1356.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fq733%2Fsnowskijunky%2Fbladeupclose_zpsohrz5vnl.jpg&hash=95e84993a128ea17a2e2c9ca7e7c5f63) (http://s1356.photobucket.com/user/snowskijunky/media/bladeupclose_zpsohrz5vnl.jpg.html)

Unfortunately, there is an obvious line down the side that is darker. You can see it here compared to the darth vader master replicas. Keep in mind, these are both at 1/8" brightness, so the RGBW setting is (31.875 0 0 0). The darker spots are a bit of a tradeoff for brightness... either way, its quite a bit brighter than the MR on 1/8 brightness (which is good enough in my book!). On full power, it will light up a dark room with ease, but it dies in about 5 minutes haha...

As far as difussion goes, I did attempt to use several combinations of 1/16" thick packing foam and light box diffuser to no avail... I always ended up with a very obvious line where the foam and/or fabric was cut.

(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1356.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fq733%2Fsnowskijunky%2Fdarkstrip2_zpsjmiq5p7n.jpg&hash=3e956e6285c2f3c5973d952ad7ecd8a4) (http://s1356.photobucket.com/user/snowskijunky/media/darkstrip2_zpsjmiq5p7n.jpg.html)

(https://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1356.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fq733%2Fsnowskijunky%2Fdarkstrip1_zpsasv15l8j.jpg&hash=cc23a6b04524d0cdb700fedbb662e68e) (http://s1356.photobucket.com/user/snowskijunky/media/darkstrip1_zpsasv15l8j.jpg.html)

BTW, am using this battery: Turnigy Graphene 950mAh 1S 65C LiPo Pack w/ JST-SYP-2P (AU Warehouse) (https://hobbyking.com/en_us/graphene-950mah-1s-65c-w-jst-syp.html)
Also, here is a link to the exact strip that I purchased: Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGBW LED Strip - White PCB 144 LED/m [1m] ID: 2847 - (https://www.adafruit.com/product/2847)

I wouldn't really recommend the rgbw due to cost. You can definitely make some different color combos with the extra diode in each LED, but you cannot really crank it without heating up to much. My thermocouple was clocking the back to back strips on full blue at around 90F in a 75ish degree room before putting it in the blade, so I'd imagine it would get very hot with all of the LEDS on (not going to risk it).

Anyhow, hope this is of use to someone. I'd still like to find a better way to diffuse these without taking apart the master replicas and using the tube from it. I have also built a traditional string blade using some 120 degree 5mm red leds from a website called "www.ledssuperbright.com" which appears to be dead right now, otherwise I'd link them. They were inconsistent in brightness but about as bright as the neopixel strips on full brightness while using much less power than the neopixel strips. I may be able to hook that strip up and show you guys if there is any interest.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on June 19, 2017, 01:04:11 AM
The slim neopixel strips are easier to diffuse, but I'm not sure if it's possible to completely get rid of the side-shade. (Although I'm using 7/8"-blades, which cut into the diffusion a bit.) Building a string of PL9823 or APA102 leds can get around that, but it's a lot more work.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Sligs78 on June 29, 2017, 12:30:27 AM
I know it's suggested to use a capacitor to mitigate the voltage spike when turning on the neopixel strip, but does anybody use one?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on June 29, 2017, 02:58:10 AM
I know it's suggested to use a capacitor to mitigate the voltage spike when turning on the neopixel strip, but does anybody use one?

The stripes already have at each pixel an SMD cap, I guess they take care about the spikes. I haven't seen so far anyone actually using extra caps other than those on the stripes or the driving boards.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 05, 2017, 01:44:23 PM
I am having a huge issue with my build, I have an arduino nano clone, it's being powered by a 3.7V 5200mAh battery.

Since it is not powered in 5V, it seems that the clock doesn't work as intended and prevent all timed and pwm related feature from working.

What solution do I have?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on July 05, 2017, 04:11:35 PM
Either use a booster to get the proper voltage, switch to a board that can handle the lower voltage. (Like a TeensySaber V2, which has a booster on it.)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on July 05, 2017, 05:04:24 PM
Connect the battery to the 5v pad. It should be fine. I've used micro, nano, uno, and attiny85 all with no problem.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 05, 2017, 11:47:14 PM
Connect the battery to the 5v pad. It should be fine. I've used micro, nano, uno, and attiny85 all with no problem.

On a nano it is slightly better when connecting to the 5V pin, but all timed related behaviors are still incorrect. I'm going to buy an arduino pro mini, which is supposed to run fine on a 3.3V.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on July 06, 2017, 06:03:33 AM
The nano can work off a 3.7V battery, have several DIYino builds with that setup and I can not confirm any timing related topics. Your problem might be related to the conencting the voltage supply to the VIN pin, which is the input of the voltage regulator which cannot regulate up. Connect to 5V as suggested and it will work.

Anyway, I suggest to move such technical discussion to the Arduino Forum, there are 2 saber related threads there from Jake and me, pleanty of helping hands if needed :)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 22, 2017, 04:25:45 AM
I managed to get it working of the nano, but I am having a huge issue, as soon as the blade is lit, it seems that the arduino freezes and nothing works anymore.

It seems to happen when too much power is drawn from the led strip.

If i separate the power sources ( 5v usb for the arduino, and 3.7V for the LED strip from lipo battery with a common ground between the two), everything works as intended.

How can I fix this issue ?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on July 22, 2017, 11:09:10 AM
Get a better battery, capable of at least 10A continuos current.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on July 22, 2017, 03:36:07 PM
Agreed, if you've hooked it up via the 5v pin (not the Vin) and it's still not working, your battery is probably not supplying sufficient current.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 23, 2017, 03:24:39 AM
Are you sure the battery is the issue?

I have this battery

Keeppower icr26650 5200mAh 3.7V rechargeable protégée batterie li-ion Sale - (https://m.banggood.com/fr/Keeppower-ICR26650-5200mAh-3_7v-Protected-Rechargeable-Li-ion-Battery-p-961178.html)

According to the specs it should be enough, right?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on July 23, 2017, 07:24:45 AM
The specs seem OK, and the reviews I've found seem to feel the ratings are legitimate.  This seems very odd.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 23, 2017, 08:19:09 AM
The specs seem OK, and the reviews I've found seem to feel the ratings are legitimate.  This seems very odd.

If I use my own code rather than lightsaberOs, and only use the led strip (no sound, nor motion sensor), it can light up just fine

So I'm not sure what is going on here
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on July 23, 2017, 08:49:01 AM
I've never seen any issue similar to this in all of our development, I really have no idea what else the cause could be other than a stray keystroke (enough to drive one mad!) or something with a library working unexpectedly.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on July 23, 2017, 09:47:24 AM
Can you pinpoint in the code when it starts misbehaving? The MPU and the sound chip consume negligible power compared to the stripes. How many pixels are you trying to use? Because if you use too many, you can easily have the controller run out of dynamic memory and freeze (mostly reset). Now if you stop MPU and sound chip (i.e. free up some dynamic memory) it might again have enough free space to run the code. As a good rule of thumb, do not use more than 120 pixels. For trial start by reducing the number of pixs to say about 50 and report what you see (hear, feel etc.)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 24, 2017, 05:58:17 AM
Can you pinpoint in the code when it starts misbehaving? The MPU and the sound chip consume negligible power compared to the stripes. How many pixels are you trying to use? Because if you use too many, you can easily have the controller run out of dynamic memory and freeze (mostly reset). Now if you stop MPU and sound chip (i.e. free up some dynamic memory) it might again have enough free space to run the code. As a good rule of thumb, do not use more than 120 pixels. For trial start by reducing the number of pixs to say about 50 and report what you see (hear, feel etc.)

I need to make a serial cable in order to do so.

Silly me already has fried a nano clone I was using, powering my whole setup (LED strip included) straight from +5V USB  :lipsrsealed:

Edit:

I fried another nano by shorting Vin and GND, it doesn't work in USB anymore :(

But here is a picture of my LED strips running all 288 LEDs (144x2) at 100 brightness (over 255).

(https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/2017/30/2/1500963496-sans-titre-1.jpg)

So I'm guessing power isn't the issue here, is it ?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 27, 2017, 10:38:53 AM
I have received my new arduino, I'm trying to get the whole system set up, but for some reason the push button is behaving strange.

A single press is taken into account as a double press, causing the jukebox to trigger.

Do you guys how to fix this issue?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on July 27, 2017, 12:08:06 PM
I have received my new arduino, I'm trying to get the whole system set up, but for some reason the push button is behaving strange.

A single press is taken into account as a double press, causing the jukebox to trigger.

Do you guys how to fix this issue?

Add de-bouncing to the code?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 27, 2017, 01:50:20 PM
Somehow the issue went away on its own  :huh:

Anyway, regarding the initial issue, with 120 leds (per strip, so 240 leds total), when going into config mode, and choosing colors, it ends up freezing on the same color everytime.

Here are he traces:

Code: [Select]
START CONF
Main button longPress stop
Main button double click.
Main colorMain button click.
Main button click.
Main button click.

And then nothing responds anymore  :embarrassed:

I'm going to try and use the FastLED library instead of the library currently used.

FastLED library provided me good results when coding my PoCs, so maybe it will be better.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on July 28, 2017, 12:54:28 AM

Which software do you use?

As to the FastLED lib, at least the FX-SaberOS developer community decided against it due to it being quite storage space intensive, as opposed to the one currently used. With all the latest improvements in the Arduino IDE it could just be that we can accommodate now the FastLED lib, so feel free to experiment and let us know the results.

As to freeze, in my experience it's always because the board has a memory overflow.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Azsde on July 28, 2017, 04:33:23 AM

Which software do you use?

As to the FastLED lib, at least the FX-SaberOS developer community decided against it due to it being quite storage space intensive, as opposed to the one currently used. With all the latest improvements in the Arduino IDE it could just be that we can accommodate now the FastLED lib, so feel free to experiment and let us know the results.

As to freeze, in my experience it's always because the board has a memory overflow.

I'll let you know.

Do you think removing jukebox related features can free up some space to avoid memory overflow?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on July 28, 2017, 08:27:31 AM
We already freed up in preparation for the FX-SaberOS v1 a lot of dynamic memory by restructuring sound font handling. Jukebox does not eat up any memory, and anyway it can be disabled by simply disabling the compile option.

BTW, I would like to suggest to move open source software questions to GitHub and steer back to the original purpose of this thread: to discuss neopixel blade topics.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 16, 2018, 02:16:57 AM
I've been experimenting a bit with neopixel sabers over the last couple of weeks (made MUCH easier by the DIYino Stardust and FX-Saber OS).

Been starting with various premade blades I got from a grabbag and a Corvin style blade from TCSS - a thicker layer of diffuser film definitely helps I think on removing the visible LED segments, and the foam works to some extent...

But I'm curious what JBKuma said about wrapping it with TP or some other form of thin paper. I've tried it a couple times and the TP just tends to fall to pieces as I try to put it into the blade tube.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on January 16, 2018, 06:30:41 AM
It's not practical in any way. It will be almost impossible to get a seam that doesn't have ugly gaps and overlap.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SA22C on January 16, 2018, 08:59:55 AM
I got really good results on my neopixel blades with the following:

7/8 thin-walled clear blade and tip
TCSS diffuser tube for 1 inch thick-wall blades (same ID as 7/8 thin wall)
3 feet of craft wrap
6 inches of 1/32 packing foam.
2x 'skinny' SK6812 strips (8mm wide, 144 LED/M)

Measure out the strips to ensure they're cut to length to fit the blade length you're going for.
So, put the strips back to back and use clear packing tape to attach the strips to the foam.  This helps in making the foam wraps nice and tight.  Secure the ends of the foam with clear packing tape.
Put the diffuser tube in the blade (it'll be snug, but moving slowly and with a piece of scrap to help, you can tap it in.)
Drill out the tip so two strips will fit into the tip (remove the mirror, of course)
Roll up the craft wrap and insert into the diffused blade
slide the foam-wrapped strips into the blade, ensuring that they go right up to the drilled-out tip.

This combo results in a bright and even blade that doesn't have any shadows or corncobbing.
(https://i.imgur.com/zOEG5a7.jpg)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 16, 2018, 06:34:19 PM
Could you link to an example of the craft wrap you use? I'm uncertain what you mean by craft wrap, so would like a little confirmation.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on January 16, 2018, 07:29:50 PM
The same sort of wrap folks use to diffuse "fancy flashlight" style blades.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 16, 2018, 10:10:11 PM
Is there an actual commercial product name for that stuff? I know I can buy it as blade supply, but I wasn't sure if it wasn't available cheaper (or at least quicker) at a local crafts store.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 16, 2018, 10:14:20 PM
Separately - so far I've found that aviation connectors are better suited for blade connections than the contact pads that TCSS is now offering. I've also tried with JST connectors for blades that weren't really meant to be removable - which wasn't a problem given that most strips come with that equipped.

Right now I'm aiming toward making a "budget" neopixel blade - has anyone experimented much with trying to use a single strip and maybe trying to twist it like a screw and hoping it'll diffuse enough along the blade to give a reasonably even glow?

Given that the actual neopixel strip is one of the most expensive blade components at ~$30-40 a pop, was wondering if that shortcut would give you a mid-grade blade that's brighter than a LED star, but still cheaper than the high-end neopixel blades.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SA22C on January 17, 2018, 05:54:35 AM
Any craft store should have clear gift wrap. I don’t think one brands is any more suited than the other. I’ve used some from hallmark or micheals with no difference in effect.

So far as ‘budget’ strips go, you really can’t twist these strips very much. While they are attached to a flexible pcb, the connections between leds can and will break due to excessive bending or twisting.

I’d say that cost really isn’t that huge of a factor. It’s only $20-30 more to do a neopixel bladed saber over an inhilt led.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 17, 2018, 07:36:26 AM
Can you do a drop-in replacement of WS2812 strips with SK6812s? Or do the SK6812s have a different API?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SA22C on January 17, 2018, 09:40:04 AM
They’re compatible. There are some timing adjustments that need to be made on the config files for plecter  boards, but in my experience those adjustments don’t really make a difference. I’ve interchanged 2812 and 6812 strip blades without adjusting timing and both seemed to function normally.

The skinny strips are MUCH easier to work with and diffuse, particularly in a 7/8 blade, but they’re probably 1-5-2x the cost of the ‘standard’ wide strips and not nearly as widely available. Just make sure that the sk6812 strips you purchase are RGB and not RGBW.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 17, 2018, 01:57:39 PM
Do you have a particular source you buy your strings from? Looking to buy a few more strings, so I'd like to to compare 6812 and 2812 strips to see which I like working with better.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SA22C on January 17, 2018, 04:59:07 PM
I bought a pair from this store:
AliExpress Mobile - Global Online Shopping for Apparel, Phones, Computers, (https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32820098042.html?spm=a2g0n.shopcart.0.0.fdba2a92XFLHw)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on January 17, 2018, 07:06:21 PM
Did you buy it as 2m or two 1m strips? I assume it's just soldered half meter sections like usual.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SA22C on January 17, 2018, 08:05:48 PM
I bought two 1m strips but you're correct, there's a solder joint at 50cm.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on January 17, 2018, 08:45:47 PM
I haven't had any trouble with shadows in my blades with the 12mm WS2812 5050s.  The 8mm SK6812 3535s are only slightly more LED per width (41% for 5050 vs 43% for 3535), but significantly less along the length (50% for 3535s compared to 28% of total gap).  Although 12mm is almost half of the available 23mm inside a thin wall 1" blade, where as 8mm is about 1/3.  Depending on the diffusion and blade type either strip or gap shadowing may seem more prominent.

Perhaps more importantly, I wonder what the brightness difference is between the 5050s and the 3535s and how that affects shadowing.  Datasheets are next to useless, this seems like a job for Space Windu's gadget.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 18, 2018, 03:37:53 AM
Do most of you run these at 100% output?

I've tended to find that at full brightness the 2812's I run are 1) too bright (except in broad daylight) to the point that it actually leaves artifacts in my vision when I swing one, 2) corncob and will expose more blemishes in the packing, and 3) actually start washing out the colors to the point they don't expose properly in pictures.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 18, 2018, 06:20:01 AM
Kind of an additional random thought - has anyone done a side by side comparison of those with black and those with white strip/PCBs? I wonder if the color of that strip makes any difference.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on January 18, 2018, 12:06:27 PM
Do most of you run these at 100% output?

I've tended to find that at full brightness the 2812's I run are 1) too bright (except in broad daylight) to the point that it actually leaves artifacts in my vision when I swing one, 2) corncob and will expose more blemishes in the packing, and 3) actually start washing out the colors to the point they don't expose properly in pictures.

Only because there's no way to run them at 110% :)

Kind of an additional random thought - has anyone done a side by side comparison of those with black and those with white strip/PCBs? I wonder if the color of that strip makes any difference.

I've never compared, and the difference is probably small, but strips should be white to reflect as much light as possible.

Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on January 20, 2018, 01:58:28 AM
I bought two 1m strips but you're correct, there's a solder joint at 50cm.

The 2m strips look like they'd be a pretty good bargain though, based on the price there.

How long did it take for them to arrive?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SA22C on January 29, 2018, 07:51:48 AM
I bought two 1m strips but you're correct, there's a solder joint at 50cm.

The 2m strips look like they'd be a pretty good bargain though, based on the price there.

How long did it take for them to arrive?

I paid for the EMS shipping and they arrived in three weeks.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Meatsweats on January 29, 2018, 09:32:14 AM
So any difference between sk6812 5050 and 3535 other than size?
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: profezzorn on January 29, 2018, 10:51:30 AM
So any difference between sk6812 5050 and 3535 other than size?

None that I've noticed.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on January 29, 2018, 03:46:40 PM
Just finished building my blade.  Waiting for my Ascend to test it out.  Should have it in about a week.

32” Blade was constructed using:
2 Adafruit Skinny Neopixel strips (228 leds)
Strips heatshriked with clear heat shrink
3’ of blade film rolled “inside” the TCSS foam
All of that inside of TCSS 1” diffuser
Then slid inside Trans White blade

Will post results as soon as my Ascend arrives.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 05, 2018, 05:29:59 PM
Just finished building my blade.  Waiting for my Ascend to test it out.  Should have it in about a week.

32” Blade was constructed using:
2 Adafruit Skinny Neopixel strips (228 leds)
Strips heatshriked with clear heat shrink
3’ of blade film rolled around the strips “inside” the TCSS foam
All of that inside of TCSS 1” diffuser
Then slid inside Trans White blade

Will post results as soon as my Ascend arrives.

Ascend arrived today.
Blade works pretty great as constructed above.

I have heard that using the “skinny strips” can cause the so called corn cob effect.  This has not been my experience.  I think using the clear heatshrink around the strip with the addition of the cellophane wrap around the strip & inside the foam helps to diffuse the light better.  This also helped to fill extra space since the skinny strips dont fit tightly within the foam.  Still see some slight side shadowing in areas, but not terrible.

All colors are pretty bright compared to XXW Tri-cree except for Red.  My RRW Tri-Cree GCS Bane saber is slightly brighter compared to my current neopixel setup.  Very close, but my Bane has a slight edge.

Will do some more testing when I have more time.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on February 05, 2018, 08:01:46 PM
I think you just sold me that the skinny strips aren't worth it.  Blades with 5050 strips are way brighter than my RGB Star type blades.  I don't have any problem with shadows or cobbing.  My first blade was with a clear thin blade, cellophane and packaging material and it was honestly the best blade I made.  I don't like the white blades at all, and I think the foam tubes don't do as good a job.  Definitely easier to build with the foam tubes, though! It turns tedious rolling into sticking some things in a tube.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 06, 2018, 03:42:30 AM
I think you just sold me that the skinny strips aren't worth it.  Blades with 5050 strips are way brighter than my RGB Star type blades.

Keep in mind My comparison was in reference to a RRW, not and single red from an RGB.
The Green on my neopixel blade is much brighter then even my GGW saber.

Just not the case with the red, thats all.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on February 06, 2018, 04:51:06 AM
Red is the only color which has been always difficult with string blades. This did not change with neopixel, remember, reds are the least bright of the 3 colors and a transwhite tube makes them look pinkish. If you are looking for a very agressive red color, Star LED is still your best choice. Otherwise a neopixel blade will make a decent red, and all the rest of the colors are great (mixed ones including).
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on February 06, 2018, 05:26:21 AM
I think if you really want a dedicated red blade, the red day blade or red enhanced really helps.  Space Windu has certainly proved that pixels are an option for lighting up a colored blade.  Same goes for purple, really.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: EXAR KUN on February 06, 2018, 07:12:43 AM
I think red looks really good with the Enhanced Blue blade also. I disagree with Obi1 that the red is weak on a Neopixel. I find the red to be blazing! and the fact that you can tune a slightly 'crimson' red is just amazing... and that is actually my favorite. But my friends that see the saber in person prefer the straight red... that is produced just from the red diodes in the pixel... very nice in our opinion. I do think even the red is superior to LED but then again... my weakness is not having much experience with standard LEDs so maybe the new ones are super powerful I've just not seen those in person. Its' just that in person I can speak for the neopixel which I think looks  incredibly bright and even. Can't beat retraction and extension capabilities IMO... very biased here though hee hee  :cheesy:
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on February 06, 2018, 07:51:03 AM
I think red looks really good with the Enhanced Blue blade also. I disagree with Obi1 that the red is weak on a Neopixel. I find the red to be blazing! and the fact that you can tune a slightly 'crimson' red is just amazing... and that is actually my favorite. But my friends that see the saber in person prefer the straight red... that is produced just from the red diodes in the pixel... very nice in our opinion. I do think even the red is superior to LED but then again... my weakness is not having much experience with standard LEDs so maybe the new ones are super powerful I've just not seen those in person. Its' just that in person I can speak for the neopixel which I think looks  incredibly bright and even. Can't beat retraction and extension capabilities IMO... very biased here though hee hee  :cheesy:

Anthony, I'm relating to my own experience with the red color. You are on a transcendental level compared to me if it comes to string/stripe blades...

That said, there is no beating neopixel blades if it comes to light effects.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 06, 2018, 11:59:46 AM
I will be uploading two comparison videos tonight or tomorrow with my Neopixel blade.  Dedicated color Tri-Cree sabers vs RGB Neopixel.  Stay tuned.

GGW vs Neopixel
&
RRW vs Neopixel
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on February 06, 2018, 05:28:23 PM
Yeah, my pixels are clearly better than my RGB Cree, for any color really.  My pixel blade hilts are all either gutted right now except for one which needs a new switch, so I can't really do a test at the moment.  Started working on things before moving, and since moving I've been more concerned about building furniture than sabers.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 06, 2018, 05:45:45 PM
Yeah, my pixels are clearly better than my RGB Cree, for any color really.

The point I am trying to make is “of course” a Neopixel blade will be brighter than an RGB Cree.  But a dedicated red, green, or blue Cree will be pretty darn close in brightness to the Neopixel setups.
RGB Crees only have one die for those main colors and therefore the Neopixels will blow them out of the water.

Videos incoming momentarily
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 06, 2018, 05:48:02 PM
GGW Cree vs Neopixel
GGW Tri-Cree vs Neopixel - YouTube (https://youtu.be/rfB0kfIQUC8)


RRW Cree vs Neopixel
RRW Tri-Cree vs Neopixel - YouTube (https://youtu.be/ZzFjInl8mvk)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on February 07, 2018, 04:10:31 AM
It's always a little tricky to rely on comparison pics or videos, I find that while in hilt led configs with dedicated colors photograph great, the difference when viewed in person tends to favor neopixel setups, particularly when there's a fair amount of ambient light.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 07, 2018, 07:42:07 AM
It's always a little tricky to rely on comparison pics or videos, I find that while in hilt led configs with dedicated colors photograph great, the difference when viewed in person tends to favor neopixel setups, particularly when there's a fair amount of ambient light.

Those videos are good representations of what I saw first hand.  Of course it looks slightly different on camera, but the overall comparison shown was pretty accurate to my eyes.

I really like the Neopixel! Best brightness for an RGB saber.  RGB Crees just can’t compete with the single colors.  No sacrifices with the Neopixels.  Really enjoying it.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Obi_1 on February 28, 2018, 01:26:25 AM
Yeah, my pixels are clearly better than my RGB Cree, for any color really.

The point I am trying to make is “of course” a Neopixel blade will be brighter than an RGB Cree.  But a dedicated red, green, or blue Cree will be pretty darn close in brightness to the Neopixel setups.
RGB Crees only have one die for those main colors and therefore the Neopixels will blow them out of the water.

Videos incoming momentarily

Yesterday I soldered up my dR/dR/W (dR stays for Deep Red) custom tri-Cree module to try it out. I still have to re-check the wiring and the resistors, but I have to tell, I'm slightly disappointed. The 2 red dies combines are not really brighter than red with RGB and certainly way less bright than 2-strips neopixel red. Anthony, one goes to you :) !
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: EXAR KUN on February 28, 2018, 12:31:20 PM
Yeah, my pixels are clearly better than my RGB Cree, for any color really.

The point I am trying to make is “of course” a Neopixel blade will be brighter than an RGB Cree.  But a dedicated red, green, or blue Cree will be pretty darn close in brightness to the Neopixel setups.
RGB Crees only have one die for those main colors and therefore the Neopixels will blow them out of the water.

Videos incoming momentarily

Yesterday I soldered up my dR/dR/W (dR stays for Deep Red) custom tri-Cree module to try it out. I still have to re-check the wiring and the resistors, but I have to tell, I'm slightly disappointed. The 2 red dies combines are not really brighter than red with RGB and certainly way less bright than 2-strips neopixel red. Anthony, one goes to you :) !

Haha yes, you know I love the Neopixel red! It's blazing and looks so Sithy! Mix in a little blue for a sweet crimson like Darth Vader. And oh, so evenly lit :)

Just got a thought... not sure it's correct... maybe someone can confirm if my science is right... With red having longer wavelengths than other colors... do you think it's possible that a red 'in hilt' style LED saber cannot project the light as powerfully, because it's a single LED (with multiple diodes)? Vs the ladder or string or strip blade which has a multitude of LEDs all up the blade... perhaps that is more suited to the longer wavelength colors because honestly I was never too impressed with Amber in LED sabers either... until I saw the component blades or strips... then I became satisfied with yellow and red. The idea is that the blade tube on a standard in hilt LED saber cannot 'carry' the red light as well as let's say blue or green or white... and it's a matter of simply adding 100 more LEDs to the blade which makes it more impressive and realistic for a lightsaber prop. Just kind of thinking out loud.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: Darth Smorgis on February 28, 2018, 01:37:16 PM
Yesterday I soldered up my dR/dR/W (dR stays for Deep Red) custom tri-Cree module to try it out. I still have to re-check the wiring and the resistors, but I have to tell, I'm slightly disappointed. The 2 red dies combines are not really brighter than red with RGB and certainly way less bright than 2-strips neopixel red. Anthony, one goes to you :) !

Using “Deep Red” was your mistake.  They are just not bright, which is why no one uses them.  Standard Red is much brighter.
You cant compare deep red cree against a standard red neopixel.  Im telling you RRW Cree goes neck & neck with neopixel.  Refer to my videos above.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: jbkuma on February 28, 2018, 04:38:26 PM
Visible light is all sub millimeter, but "deep red"is near the limit of our detectable range and doesn't get any crossover so even if it was equally luminous, it won't be as perceptibly bright.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: NobAkimoto on March 03, 2018, 08:41:17 AM
Trying out a bit more of the TCSS "heavy" blades - I've been unhappy with the durability of the thinner walled US grabbag blades for a while, so I'm testing with the heavier 1" blades from TCSS.

So far I've done two blades - both with 2x 120 LED WS2812 strips. One uses the transwhite tubing while the other uses the clear. Both use a bullet tip with the mirroring removed and a hole drilled through the center to improve its ability to diffuse light from the blade itself. Transwhite blade uses the TCSS diffusor rod, 20mm (1/2 shrink) clear heat shrink wrap over the TCSS "thick blade" foam. Clear blade uses the same diffusor rod, 2 layers of 15mm clear heat shrink wrap, 1 layer of 20mm heat shrink wrap, and no foam.

Some early observations:
1. The blade are substantially stouter than the blades obtained from other sources. They also have a little bit more heft - making them a little better balance for sparring use.

2. Lack of foam definitely makes corn-cobbing a problem. The heat shrink on its own doesn't provide enough diffusion, even with the diffusor rod.

3. WS2812s are fine for use even at this relatively limited internal sizing. Unless you're specifically going for a thinner blade like a 7/8" one, it's not really worth the premium to get skinny strips.

4. Aviation connectors or just using JST connectors is preferable (at least for me) to the TCSS style contact pad wiring. The soldering pads for the blade end don't work particularly well for doing two strips.

5. Sort of surprised at the power draw (or lack thereof) - even at full brightness, a blue setting blade will last a good 45 minutes on a 3000 Mah 18650 - mixed colors are a little bit more power hungry, but still get about 20-35 minutes without major problems.

6. Thinking of adding something to be sandwiched between the two strips to add a bit more rigidity to the strips - they tend to bend a little too much when trying to cram them into tighter spaces and this results in a bit more kinking in the lighting than is ideal.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: deviltronix on April 06, 2018, 09:30:29 AM
How do you guys seal your packing foam? Are you running packing tape the entire length of the strip and then wrapping it around?

Also, I was wondering if the WS2812/WS2811 Round Hat Led have the "Blue Flash" on bootup error..been toying with the idea of building one.


Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: M19eleven on September 14, 2018, 12:34:09 AM
I'm currently in the process of building my first saber and I've been testing some alternative blade construction ideas.

The blade core uses the skinny sk6812 neopixel strips, 2 strips of 128 stuck back to back, staggered by 1 pixel. I'm using a 1" clear tcss outer tube with their neopixel diffuser insert.

My first test was with the foam blade diffuser inside the tubes above, but I was a little disappointed with how much that cuts down the brightness, and the mottled look the foam creates. Additionally, the skinny strips flop around in the foam tube leading to corncobbing in some areas depending on how the strips are positioned inside... But overall decent.

My next idea was using a bunch of Corbin wrap inside the foam to add bulk and try to center the strips better. This was an improvement, but cut the light output even more.

While assembling the configuration above, I pulled the foam out a bit and the section left behind looked fantastic. Very even, very bright. I pulled the Corbin wrap out, rolled it as tight as possible and taped it up, creating a semi rigid tube. This creates a central core holding the neopixel strips straighter, almost perfect diffusion, excellent brightness. The only drawback is the film isn't rigid enough to hold the strips centered while moving the blade around.

I just ordered some 1/8" wall 3/8" ID clear tubing to further test this tube within a tube idea. Hoping that will be rigid enough to keep everything centered.

My final goal is to make the tip appear as seamless as possible in both on and off states. I polished up a tcss bullet tip and drilled the center to allow a few pixels. What I'm having trouble with is a good way to continue the diffusion through the tip. Especially where the shouldered part pushes the diffuser back when inserted in the tube. I'm wondering if a little white paint might do the trick?

Any tricks or ideas are welcome!

Here's a few pics to help visualize everything.(https://thumb.ibb.co/dEgiQU/20180914_020032.jpg) (https://ibb.co/dEgiQU)(https://thumb.ibb.co/cEBHkU/20180914_015901.jpg) (https://ibb.co/cEBHkU)(https://thumb.ibb.co/bFwBC9/20180914_015833.jpg) (https://ibb.co/bFwBC9)
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: rcmaniak on September 25, 2018, 01:07:17 PM
Hello, i'm in a process of building neopixel blade, i used two strips glued back to back, used some transparent heat shrink tubing as a first layer of light diffusion. Now i want to wrap it in 1/32" packing PE foam, but it is very hard to get an even consistent wrap, does anyone know a technique how to do it correctly? 
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: rcmaniak on October 02, 2018, 01:30:29 PM
Hi, after having problems with fitting foam into a tube i tried thin agro fleece (17g/m2) instead. It works perfect, light dispersion is in my opinion better than foam, it is waaaaay thinner so probably it would be great with 3 strips neopixel builds.   (https://thumb.ibb.co/gdO7De/IMG_20181002_205937_HHT.jpg) (https://ibb.co/gdO7De)

Foam on the right side and fleece on the left.
Title: Re: Neopixel blade assembly - an experience exchange board
Post by: SirRawThunderMan on May 15, 2019, 07:44:00 AM
Right, I'm asking for help here.

After a bit of a flop with making my own diffuser from packing foam, I caved at JQ Saber's May 4th discount and bought the TCSS foam pixel diffuser. Getting the pixel strips in the foam tube was easy.

Now, I'm stuck on how to get that !"£$%^& glorified glowing pool noodle into a 1" light duelling blade. I can get about an inch and a half into the hilt before friction kicks in, and all my attempts at pushing just bend the foam rather than making any progress. I've tried what I used with my LED string saber, ie, sliding it as far as it goes, then whacking on the other end with a mallet, but no dice.

Any ideas?