Falcon Christmas

The Lab (Technical Talk) => New Hardware Projects => Topic started by: jem5136 on October 25, 2020, 12:51:54 PM

Title: Switch to strips?
Post by: jem5136 on October 25, 2020, 12:51:54 PM
Hello all. 

A few years ago a star (around 6' tall) was donated to the display and it was designed to have pixels pushed through it. I've had pixels pushed through it and it looks... ok. I really want to upgrade the pixels, and though it won't happen this year, I'm wanting to see what you all think. 

I was thinking about switching to strips instead of bullets. But here's the tricky part, there'd be a lot of cutting/splicing involved. I want to outline each star. I want a continuous line so it will look like a star rather than a blob of lights (as it does currently). 

My question, which strips do you guys use, and would it be worth cutting/splicing that many strips to create a cleaner look?

I've added a photo of the star currently. It stands on top of the cone, which is placed at the top of the tree. What are your thoughts?
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: ghormann on October 25, 2020, 04:41:00 PM
Strip is a pain.   If you want something more dense, you could put more wholes (and thus more pixels) in your star.
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: bigwavedave on October 25, 2020, 04:45:18 PM
Rarely do I see people recommend strips.  Most people say, "Friends don't let friends buy strips".

I think increasing the density of your holes/pixels, but still using bullets, might get you what you are trying to accomplish.  Based on how tight the strands between pixels are, you must have 3" spacing?  What if you did 1.5" (exactly between the two existing holes" or go to 1" spacing? You'd have a lot more density.
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: jem5136 on October 25, 2020, 06:44:10 PM
Fair points. I know bullets are easier to work with than strips, hence why I'm so hesitant to make the switch. The only issue is this star is made out of stainless steel and drilling holes wouldn't be ideal. I have thought about mounting the pixels to the edge of the star, though I'm not sure how I can mount them? Maybe I should purchase a 3D printer and create my own clips lol
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: jnealand on October 25, 2020, 07:31:54 PM
Sometimes even donated stuff is not worth using.  Just something to think about.  I have a number of props that I either won as a door prize and thought I would use or that someone gave to me and they are still sitting in my storage shed because maybe some day.....
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: jem5136 on October 26, 2020, 02:21:50 PM
Quote from: jnealand on October 25, 2020, 07:31:54 PMSometimes even donated stuff is not worth using.  Just something to think about.  I have a number of props that I either won as a door prize and thought I would use or that someone gave to me and they are still sitting in my storage shed because maybe some day.....
The entire tree was donated by a local business and I don't have a choice to if I use it or not. The show is owned by the town and the star looks great during the day, I just don't like the pixels at night lol
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: k6ccc on October 26, 2020, 03:05:24 PM
Quote from: jem5136 on October 25, 2020, 06:44:10 PMFair points. I know bullets are easier to work with than strips, hence why I'm so hesitant to make the switch. The only issue is this star is made out of stainless steel and drilling holes wouldn't be ideal. I have thought about mounting the pixels to the edge of the star, though I'm not sure how I can mount them? Maybe I should purchase a 3D printer and create my own clips lol
Rather than drilling through, use square nodes and surface mount them.  Attach with epoxy (or maybe a different glue that would make removal for replacement easier).

BTW, the original build of my pixel star used strips.  It was a royal pain in the ass.  You can't easily tell in the photo, but on a couple rings of the star, I had to space each pixel about an 1/8 inch to get it to fit.
(http://www.newburghlights.org/photos/Star_pixels_assembled.sm.jpg)
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: jem5136 on October 26, 2020, 03:50:53 PM
Quote from: k6ccc on October 26, 2020, 03:05:24 PM
Quote from: jem5136 on October 25, 2020, 06:44:10 PMFair points. I know bullets are easier to work with than strips, hence why I'm so hesitant to make the switch. The only issue is this star is made out of stainless steel and drilling holes wouldn't be ideal. I have thought about mounting the pixels to the edge of the star, though I'm not sure how I can mount them? Maybe I should purchase a 3D printer and create my own clips lol
Rather than drilling through, use square nodes and surface mount them.  Attach with epoxy (or maybe a different glue that would make removal for replacement easier).

BTW, the original build of my pixel star used strips.  It was a royal pain in the ass.  You can't easily tell in the photo, but on a couple rings of the star, I had to space each pixel about an 1/8 inch to get it to fit.
(http://www.newburghlights.org/photos/Star_pixels_assembled.sm.jpg)
I've thought about square pixels too, I think they would work as well. I need to get a few pixels types and do some testing to see what looks good. I think the strips would look good but I really don't want to deal with the splicing. Your star looks great but it looks like a pain!
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: k6ccc on October 27, 2020, 08:55:11 AM
Quote from: jem5136 on October 26, 2020, 03:50:53 PMI think the strips would look good but I really don't want to deal with the splicing. Your star looks great but it looks like a pain!

Thank you!  I was very happy with it, but there were issues with keeping it working right.  I don't recommend doing what I did.  I ended up using it in that configuration for four or five years.  I have some more details on the star on this web page:
http://newburghlights.org/pixel_tree.html#Star
As the last line of the web page description says:  "In case you are wondering, I don't really know how long it took to build the star. It would likely scare me if I were to try to figure it out."
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: jem5136 on October 27, 2020, 11:29:56 AM
Quote from: k6ccc on October 27, 2020, 08:55:11 AMThank you!  I was very happy with it, but there were issues with keeping it working right.  I don't recommend doing what I did.  I ended up using it in that configuration for four or five years.  I have some more details on the star on this web page:
http://newburghlights.org/pixel_tree.html#Star
As the last line of the web page description says:  "In case you are wondering, I don't really know how long it took to build the star. It would likely scare me if I were to try to figure it out."
I'm thinking I'll probably create a clip and just clip the bullet nodes around the outside of the star. It'll look clean and give a similar effect and I won't have to cut and solder a bunch of strips. And it'll be a lot easier if I need to replace a pixel.
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: k6ccc on October 27, 2020, 01:47:46 PM
Quote from: jem5136 on October 27, 2020, 11:29:56 AMI'm thinking I'll probably create a clip and just clip the bullet nodes around the outside of the star. It'll look clean and give a similar effect and I won't have to cut and solder a bunch of strips. And it'll be a lot easier if I need to replace a pixel.

That should work well!
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: Bwinter on October 27, 2020, 02:01:08 PM
Have you consider other ways you could use this (that don't rely on dropping down pixels, strips, or nodes)?

How about simply painting the entire star WHITE, and using a small flood-type light to illuminate each section/wedge independently?

That way, at night, you would still see the fully illuminated star (instead of trying to create a star-like shape out of LEDs).  And you could also do some simple (but effective) animation by changing the color in each wedge.
Title: Re: Switch to strips?
Post by: jem5136 on October 28, 2020, 05:32:42 AM
Quote from: Bwinter on October 27, 2020, 02:01:08 PMHave you consider other ways you could use this (that don't rely on dropping down pixels, strips, or nodes)?

How about simply painting the entire star WHITE, and using a small flood-type light to illuminate each section/wedge independently?

That way, at night, you would still see the fully illuminated star (instead of trying to create a star-like shape out of LEDs).  And you could also do some simple (but effective) animation by changing the color in each wedge.
It is ironic you mention this because I have considered using some RGB floods to light it, but only for an ambient effect while the show isn't running. The company that donated the star won't repaint it. It would have to be powder-coated and I can guarantee they won't approve of changing the color. Because this display is owned by the city, there are politics involved and certain "rules" that I have to follow, and making a simple color change takes approval from many different people and they'd never allow it.
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