A laser cutter and a few lines of Javascript turned flat plywood into these two lamp shades.

I used Javascript to generate the vectors because I was already familiar with d3.js, and jsfiddle.net proved as a nice simple interactive IDE for the project. Before I knew it, I had vectors to "print".

Check out the interactive source code here: http://jsfiddle.net/mistercrunch/9pHBW/20/

Over my time working at the Facebook campus I was able to access the laser cutter from the wood shop and came up with a few designs. You can download the files from my Thingiverse page.

I've been playing with this laser cutter at work and as I'm only etching the surface of what this tool can do, I'm getting really happy with some of the results I get.

I've found a workflow that works pretty nitely while working on this project.

  •  Google image search for an image of interest (tree), activate "Search Tools" and filter on size:large and color:black&white.
  • Import the image on in Pixlr (Photosh or any other image editing tool will do just as good)
  • Crank up the contrast until you have only pure blacks and whites
  • Bring into Illustrator
  • Trace image (vectorize)
  • Make correction
  • Check for path duplicates (somehow Illustrator seems to generates dups when image tracing), delete dups manually, or use the layer pane to identify and bulk delete
  • Load up your laser cutting machine, make it do what it does
  • Sand, varnish, hang.

I made this LED suit. It's made out of about a hundred button pins I designed that each have 6 RGB LEDs. You can find more information about the button pins here. They are all networked to share power and each button pin can send messages to their neighbors.

Each pin has a button, and pushing this button will generate a new pattern randomly (flash type, flashing speed, base colors, color ranges, ...). The pattern also has a propagation speed at which it sends the pattern information to its neighbors, who will then pass it to theirs. The pattern spreads on the suit organically. There is no central brain on the suit. Any single button pin can fail, or connections can break and the rest of the suit will keep working. It is a distributed system.

The pins are velcroed on the suit so it can be washed.

The PWM and UART are both software.

The suite was for Burning Man and present at BM2011.

My friend Matthieu Godbout, accomplished photograph/hacker/artist, has been taking some awesome pictures of my LED button pin in action. The extended exposure and the use of reflective surfaces make for some very intersting pictures.

You can actually see how the PWM behaves very clearly. Looking at the pictures reminded me that all patterns are under 50% brightness or so, which I limited to save battery. This explains why there aren't any continuous beams of light. The decomposition of individual pulses shows the 7 possible colors combinations (R-G-B-RG-RB-GB-RGB).

Here's an unfinished track I worked on back in March 2010. I was exploring wobbling bass sounds.

The sound sample is from some guy back in the 50's who recorded his impressions while assisting to an atomic test somewhere in the Nevada desert.


LED Button Pin from mistercrunch on Vimeo.

I designed and built these button pins as an art contribution to the BaconWood festival. BaconWood is a bacon and music festival that takes place in the Mendecino woodlands. 100 of these were distributed to the crowd, making this giant bacon party more colorful and blinky.

* 1 button (cycles through different patterns)
* 1 microcontroller (ATTiny48) (32 IO pins!)
* 1 coin cell battery holder and battery
* 1 6 pin flatflex connector for programming
* 1 pin

    The MCU controls each LED individually with 4bit PWM. I built a pattern framework which allows for different types of patterns (blinking, twirling, random, ...). The framework can do various thing like palette animation, color ranges, operate at different speeds and so on.

    The idea was to make a cool little pin in itself, but also to design a cheap modular node that can be network to one another to use for other projects. In other words, these pins can be meshed into a network. Each one can  receive, emit or retransmit patterns.

    The board is made so that there's a 4 pins connector on either side. The 4 pin connector is (VCC, GND, IO, IO), where IO is a bidirectional UART. I wrote a software UART using a simple protocol and interuptions on these IO pins. The message is typically a lighting pattern, validation and timing as to when to pass the pattern to the next neighbor.

    I designed the PCB using Eagle, the PCB were printed by AP Circuits, the parts ordered from DigiKey, the LEDs from somewhere in China, and the whole was hand soldered by yours truly (yes, it did take a million hours). 

    These pin can be assembled in strings or meshes. I have 100 left. Stay tuned to see what I'm going to do with them.