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Author Topic: Profezzorn's first build (graflex 2.0, teensy, prop shield, neopixel led string)  (Read 9784 times)

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Offline profezzorn

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I'm gearing up to build my first light saber. I'd like to think I've done my homework, but no plan survives prolonged contact with reality...

Anyways, here is what I have / have ordered: (source in parenthesis)

  • Graflex 2.0 (Park Sabers)
  • Teensy 3.2 (adafruit)
  • Teensy prop shield (adafruit)
  • 5v voltage booster (sparkfun)
  • 8-pin cb radio connectors (amazon)
  • 2W 28mm speaker (TCSS)
  • 10A 3200mAh protected li-on battery
  • a few resistors I already had
  • 3 x N-channel FET (sparkfun)

First blade (complete)
  • 7/8" thin-walled diffused polycarbonate tube & cap (TCSS)
  • 3/4" diffuser (TCSS)
  • packing foam sheeet diffuser (amazon)
  • 100 PL9823 5mm through-hole ws2811/neopixel LEDs (ebay)
  • 2 x copper cores from coax cable, but any ~20-guage solid wire should work.

The first blade is an LED string type. Using neopixels will let me control the color of each LED individually.

Second blade (mostly finished, but needs better diffusion)
  • 7/8" thin-walled diffused polycarbonate tube & cap (TCSS)
  • 3/4" diffuser (TCSS)
  • packing foam sheeet diffuser (amazon)
  • 2 x SK6812 60 LED/m, 4mm wide LED strip (ebay)

Third blade: (in progress)
  • 7/8" thick-walled polycarbonate and cap (ShadyCanuck)
  • ~140 3mm ultra-bright blue LEDs, 30mA (ebay)
  • packing foam sheeet diffuser (amazon)
  • 20-gauge tinned copper wire (amazon)

Fourth blade (only if I can make a led star adapter that is short enough!)
  • BBW Tri-cree, 7/8" heatsink, lens and holder (TCSS)
  • 7/8" thick-walled polycarbonate and cap (ShadyCanuck)
  • blade film (not yet ordered)

The blade connector has 8 pins, and I'm planning to use one of them to make the blade itself the kill switch for the hilt.
I don't have any interest in making a "reveal" light saber, so I won't go fancy on the interior, I will just try to make it robust and easy to
maintain.

I'm planning to write the code for it from scratch, planned features are:
  • Color selection
  • several flicker types
  • flash-on clash
  • dynamically generated sound (boot/on/off/clash will probably still be samples though)
  • silent mode

If I feel ambitious, I may also implement a light-writer POV mode and proper sound font support.
Either way, I plan to make the source available to anybody who wants it.

I will post pics and updates to this thread as I go.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 01:51:57 PM by profezzorn »

Offline profezzorn

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Ok, got a few things soldered together: teensy, prop shield, ubec and speaker.
Made sure to cut the usb-vin bridge on the teensy first of course.



Testing loading images from google photos, let me know if you can't see it.

Offline TheBaconWizard

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Looking forward to seeing this develop, good luck!

Offline profezzorn

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Did some coding today and got some basic idle sound working.



The recording is pretty terrible though, next time I'll use a real camera.
I also bought some sound fonts and quickly realized that the 8Mb flash on the prop shield is not nearly enough for a sound font. Might not be an issue if I can synthesize some of the sound, but I ordered an sdcard shield from pjrc just in case. Another alternative would be to have add mp3 support, but looping mp3 files may be a little tricky.

The sound synthesis is based on this excellent article: Lightsaber Sound Cookbook
I used the same algorithm to implement this: Shadertoy BETA

Next up: swing sounds

Offline TheBaconWizard

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If you need it, I will write you a font within 8Mb.

Offline profezzorn

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TheBaconWizard: Thanks, I'll let you know if I think I need it.

I got my NL4FC / NL4MP connectors today.  I love the connecting action (insert-and-twist), and the plug insert would fit really really well in a blade with an inner diameter of 3/4" (might need a little filing). Unfortunately, the jack is fairly big, and would not fit inside a 7/8" blade holder. It could fit below the blade holder, but given how little space there is, I don't think that's going to work for me, so I'm going to go look a different connector. I think these connectors would work wonderfully for anybody looking to build a 1" blade though.

Some pictures:



Offline profezzorn

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#(*&#(#$

I think I busted an USB port on my computer. Probably a bad idea to power the teensy from a cheap power supply.
If I'm extremely lucky there is a polyfuse in there and it will start working again tomorrow.

I suspect that the problem comes from a difference in ground potential between the power supply and the usb port. If that is true, then everything would be fine when the teensy is battery powered.


Offline SpaceWindu

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This is great! Good luck with this,

Exciting Lightsaber Things are Happening!

Offline profezzorn

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No magical self-healing polyfuses saving my USB port. :(
I have a spare USB connector on the motherboard, so I was able to just move the plug over and everything works again.
I'm routing my project through a cheap USB hub and I'm going to avoid turning the power supply on/off while the USB is connected and hope for luck.

Time to work on those swing swing sounds.

Offline profezzorn

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Anybody know where to get a decent looking (graflex style) 7/8" blade plug?

Offline profezzorn

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Got some new connectors today. Called "aviator connectors", I think they are the same as "CB radio microphone connectors". They are 8-pole and are supposed to handle 5A per pin. The best part is that they are just over 1/2" around, which should make them perfect for my blade connector. Going to design and 3D-print something to hold the connectors in place. (I'll post some pics of the connectors tomorrow.)

Offline profezzorn

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Does anybody have the interior dimensions of a graflex 2.0? (Or can measure them?) I have 9-11 weeks left until I get mine and can measure myself. :(

I was thinking of designing and 3d-printing some parts for holding the connectors that goes to the blade, and possibly some chassis parts, but I need to actually know how big they should be...

Offline profezzorn

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New connectors, yay!



The male connector is a little over 18mm at the biggest part, and the female connector is about 14.5mm:



There should be plenty of space for these in a 7/8" blade holder, and as I said before, each pin can handle about 5A.
They look a lot like DIN connectors, but they are a bit sturdier, and because the female connector uses a tube to connect to the pins instead of just two "fingers", the contact surface is a lot bigger, which is why they can handle more current. I think these connectors will work quite well for just about any kind of LED string blade.

Credit where credit is due: I got the tip about these connectors from iwuk78 over at the TCSS board.
Wish I had a better name for than "cb radio connectors" though, anybody know if there is an official name for these?

To mount these to the blade, I'm going to custom design and 3D-print some shrouds. I will post the designs to thingiverse and link them here.


Offline profezzorn

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Mostly done with designing the parts that will hole the connectors. Need to figure out the inner diameter of the graflex 2.0 before I can finalize though. Here is what it looks like:



The blade part can either be glued in place, or a hole can be drilled and tapped to hold it in place.
I think the hilt part will be held in place by chassis rods which I intend to insert directly into the edge of the blade holder.

Offline profezzorn

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And here is the final result for the blade end:



It holds the connector pretty good, I might not need a screw or glue to hold it in place.

PS: Got the 7/8" tube for the blade today. :)