This project started with the idea to create the most sci-fi wall accent that I can devise with the resources and time at my disposal. I searched endlessly for an off-the-shelf product I could purchase in order to add that tony stark / mad-scientist vibe I was looking for to my creativity room. As it turns out, “mad scientist” isn’t a trending market and the best I could find were some scrappy looking wall panels. It occurred to me that any proper mad scientist wouldn’t Amazon Prime something, they’d make it themselves! So here we are…
The project goals were as follows:
- The panels must be entirely custom and 3d-printer friendly
- LEDs should be fully programmable, at a bare-minimum they should be remotely able to turn on and off.
- The panels need to be able to link together infinitely.
- (This didn’t happen) The face plates should be changeable, in case I want to add variety later on
A preview of the different stages during R&D for the project.
This is a very brief explanation of how to piece together the hexagons. It is not technically difficult, just very time consuming.
First, you will need to acquire the hexagon wall .stl files
- Print the parts: one hexagon is comprised of 3 components.
- Base Hexagon Shell
- Diffraction Insert
- To assemble a single hexagon, given all 3 components….
- Take the core unit
- Attach the faceplate to the front of it, snapping it completely inside
- Reverse the part
- Take the clear diffraction insert, snap it on the inside (against the faceplate leads). You will know it is correct if the small hexagonal shaped inner piece is flush with the faceplate once fully merged.
- Assemble each hexagon individually before connecting together.
- Snap hexagons together by angling them with each other and pinching the joint with your fingers until they are solidly together.
- Hot glue the light strand inside, passing it between each hexagon through the available channel.
- For my hexagon wall, I decided to have 2 LEDs per hexagon. So I angled them such that the top of the light is facing roughly the middle of the hexagon unit. That seemed to create a very good dispersal pattern.
- For good measure, hot glue the joints between hexagons - or just in between each channel (as needed).
These lights operate on a single-wire communication channel. So just apply power/gnd/gpio as directed by the specific lights you’re using.
Do this 50 - 100 times and you’ve got yourself a wall!