My "pixicles"

Discussion in 'Lights - Store Bought and Home Made' started by ShellNZ, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    Just thought I'd do a how-to on how I made my pixicles.

    They are pretty much the same as plasmaicicles or Matts how-to with a few slight differences.

    I used WS2812b strip - http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/BLACK-PCB-5m-DC5V-WS2812B-led-pixel-srip-IP68-30pcs-WS2812B-M-with-30pixels-reverse-protection/701799_926778326.html

    I made them in production line style which I enjoyed. The upper icicles I have 22 sets (660px) and the lower floor I have 25 sets (750px). I am using 2 x P2's to run them and have had to use multiple power supplies to inject power.

    1. Cut strips into lengths required. I made them the same length as plasma did, 14px, 10px & 6px.

    [​IMG]

    2. I then attached them with silicone to lengths of corflute as I wanted to keep the strip flat as over time I could see them curling up. The corflute I cut along the channel length, 2 channels wide.

    [​IMG]3. I then soldered both ends of all the strips, top front of strip and back bottom of strip. Remember to keep an eye on arrow direction. All my arrows of my strips of course pointed down.

    4. I then cut all the 4-core lengths of cable I would need. Mine differ from others in that I have only put connectors at the end of each 14/10/6 set, so only needed 47 x 4-core connectors, not 141. I just used 4-core security cable to join the sets together. Not only was this due to the cost of all those connectors but also, the less "soldered joins" the better and I had heaps of sec cable. I bought the 50cm white connectors.

    Another difference between mine and others is, I threaded all 3 wires down through the channels of the corflute to attach to the back bottom of the strip. Plasma twisted his + and GND wires with the the top of the strip wires, Im not very good at that so put all 3 wires down.

    Therefore the lengths of cable required to go from 14px to 10px and 10px to 6px had to be long enough to go down the back of the corflute then to next strip. Hopefully that makes sense lol.

    So my lengths were:

    14px to 10px - 1metre
    10px to 6px - 80cm
    6px to next set is where I used the 50cm connector.

    5. I stripped the white sheath off the same length (with and inch more) as the corflute/strip. One thing I learned my lesson on is....straighten out the wires (I cut one core out of course) before you insert them down the corflute channel as if they are twisted you will find your strip dont sit flat/straight. I only started doing that about quarter of the way through the project darn it.

    [​IMG]
    6. Next I started soldered the cable to the strips. REMEMBER to add the lengths of heatshrink BEFORE soldering cable to strip when needed.

    [​IMG]I did the above to all the pixel strips, I did NOT silicon and heatshrink up yet as I wanted to make sure they were all working and soldered correctly before sealing it all up, nothing worse than cutting heatshrink away and picking away the silicon later on.

    This is the bottom back of the strips where the wires come out of the corflute channels and get soldered onto back of strip.

    [​IMG]

    Another thing I did as well was solder the power injection (SPT) wire onto every 2nd long length of strip. So there is essentially injection every 60px. I had to measure the SPT wire out for the distance it would be to the nearest power supply.

    [​IMG]

    This for example is what my first length looks like on my upper floor.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I then started testing the sets with them laid out on the floor. I wanted to make sure I had all 22 sets and 25 sets working before siliconing/heatshrinking them all up.

    [​IMG]

    10second video of the upper floor lot working - http://vid126.photobucket.com/albums/p112/Toby3_photo/Xmas%20lighting/Pixicles/IMG_2164_zpsd2710e25.mp4

    I then siliconed them all up and heatshrinked.

    I was originally going to put them on angle wood and fix to the eves of my house (the wood was also going to have flood strip attached to it. I then realised that the weight of the pixicles would be too much for the wood so decided to attach them to grey 20mm conduit.

    I cut the conduit into 2m lengths purely for storage purposes as having lengths of e.g 8.4m I had nowhere to store them. So I have them cut into 2m lengths so 2 sets are attached. I will also be putting conduit clips up on the eves so when it comes time it will just be a matter of joining together (with joiners) the correct lengths of conduit then clipping them into clips.

    The pixicles are attached with a crapload of transparent zipties (each side of pixel strips)

    [​IMG]

    I also put zipties up near or on the heatshrink part and at the bottom as shown, just incase the strip came away from the corflute.

    Thats about it. It took approx 3wks to make them bearing in mind I work from home when a job comes in, have 2 kids etc etc. All up if I worked 8hrs a day on them I would say 60-80hrs.
     
  2. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    Way to go shell,

    Can't wait to see them in action

    I am thinking to so something similar with pixel strings though

    -Bluzervic
     
  3. DeeJai

    DeeJai Is that Magic Smoke?!?

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    Well Done Shell. I do agree the wires coming down the back, look neater.. Very nice.... now... your not allowed to make anything else this year.
     
  4. jcmarksafb

    jcmarksafb Hello from Christopher Creek Arizona

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    Nice job Shell! Your house is going to be the best one out there this year. You should enter some international contests this year, maybe help you pay for all of your great work.
    John
     
  5. plasmadrive

    plasmadrive Full Time Elf

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    Those look Great!

    The reason I soldered the power wires only to the top was so that I didn't have the voltage drop of the strip adding together. I am guessing that since I used more connectors but less power path length, they probably equal out.

    Love em.. can't wait to see what you do with em!

    Oh yeah.. without video (after programming).... never happened! :D
     
  6. Habbosrus

    Habbosrus New house (again) 2017

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    Awesome job Shell. You make everything look so easy. I am planning on making a version of pixicles as well. Your tutorial couldn't have come at a better time.
     
  7. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Nice Job.......
    and the fact that you've built them yourself makes them all that more special........
     
  8. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Excellent work Shell, thanks for the effort in posting up the details of your build, Im sure many will get lots from it
     
  9. Bird

    Bird Proud LOR user

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    Very nice elements Shell. Very good how-to. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. DanJ

    DanJ Full Time Elf

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    Shell-thx so much for posting this really GREAT how-to. I may take this on in 2015, but not this year!! This year is the year of the megatree for me. These look really great.
     
  11. AussieDoug

    AussieDoug Full Time Elf

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    Great stuff Shell, next time can we get some POV video to go with it please :)
     
  12. greg58

    greg58 Full Time Elf

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    Awesome job Shell, again thanks for sharing.
     
  13. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Great Work Shell! I cant wait to see a video of them.
     
  14. arw01

    arw01 Full Time Elf

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    Hey Shell, for those of us who are nosy ::) , what do you estimate, without labor, your cost per meter and cost per pixicle, in doing them yourself vs buying them commercially?


    Alan
     
  15. OP
    OP
    ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    What is the cost commercially?

    I wouldnt recommend probably taking them on if you work a lot and dont have a lot of time, or patience.

    I have plenty of patience when making things, not so much in other areas (e.g waiting for things).

    I got 10 rolls of 2812b strip for the job - $33 each - $330
    Heatshrink I get for free
    Silicon I get for free
    Connectors I got 50 x 45cm white connectors = $50
    SPT wire for power injection - Dunno, about 100m = $100

    So roughly $480-500 for 47m of pixicles.

    Edit: Just found Seasonal Entertainments Rainbow Drops. Their strings are approx 2m long, not sure how many nodes in that 2m length. So for me approx 25m of rainbow drops would cost $1000. Then shipping on top of that would be an absolute killer for me as those nodes are heavy.

    The other differences between theirs and mine, mine are 5v and individ controlled. Theirs is 12v and each string/drop does the same thing, so cant do e.g meteor look.

    Then theres Rays ones (2812b meteor tubes) - http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/360-degree-0-5-meter-long-WS2812B-digital-meteor-light-DC5V-input-Dj-Disco-Bar-meteor/701799_1263431449.html

    They are great but $10 each and they are all the same length which I wouldnt want - $1410 (for 141 drops/3 drops per metre).

    The above would be the way to go if you dont have the time and arent worried about the length tho.

    I enjoy creating things and have the time being that I work from home :)
     

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