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 Forum index » Discussion » Schmooze » Miscellaneous DIY Art
"Centigrade 37" Pinball Art Lightbox
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RingMad



Joined: Jan 15, 2011
Posts: 392
Location: Montreal, Canada
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:13 pm    Post subject: "Centigrade 37" Pinball Art Lightbox
Subject description: with electronical illumination animation
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My 4th lightbox.

DEMO VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/150537040.

This is an electronically animated lightbox I made from the backglass of a Centigrade 37 pinball machine made by Gottlieb in 1977. The original machine had an electro-mechanical animation for the thermometer, which consisted of a red ribbon that would crawl up by increments each time one hit certain targets. Instead, I used a gradient of dark red to light yellow printed on acetate and compartmentalised LEDs. When it reaches the top, the tower flashes faster and faster, then the thermometer decrements back down.

I made this for my friends who opened the North Star pinball bar in Montreal, Canada in January 2016, which is reflected in the score digits (printed on paper, not using actual score reels), as well as their star logo in the credit window. This and the other lightboxes I made are all on permanent display there.

* 33 warm white "straw hat" LEDs running on 12V regulated "wall wart" power supply. 16 of them are always on, for general illumination, 16 are for animating the thermometer, and one to flash the tower.

* A PICAXE-14M2 microcontroller is used in conjunction with 74HC595 shift registers and TD62783 transistor array drivers to control the animation.

* A pre-made LM2596 buck converter board is used to drop the voltage down to 7.5V which is then fed to an LM7805 voltage regulator to supply the PICAXE and 74HC595's.

* Some of the logic involves randomness: the length of time between thermometer gradations lighting up and the pause before the animation sequence starts over.

.:James:.
www.jamesschidlowsky.ca


Centigrade37 lightbox - front and back sm.jpg
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Front and back of lightbox
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Centigrade37 lightbox - front and back sm.jpg



Centigrade37 lightbox - circuit - control sm.jpg
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The circuit boards... in the foreground, the microcontroller, shift registers and transistor arrays, and in the background, the power section.
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Centigrade37 lightbox - circuit - control sm.jpg


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PHOBoS



Joined: Jan 14, 2010
Posts: 4713
Location: Moon Base
Audio files: 640

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

looks great! Razz
I like your powersupply solution with the walwart, easy, safe and probably pretty cheap. You might want to look into
switched supplies that are used as phone chargers: 5V, lightweight and can usually supply more than enough current.

I am curious how you got the print on the wood (that tells you where to place the LEDs)

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RingMad



Joined: Jan 15, 2011
Posts: 392
Location: Montreal, Canada
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, the wallwart is pretty cheap since I get them at thrift stores for about $1.50 (Canadian) max. I also wanted it to be easy for the people I made it for to change the extension (e.g. different color or length).

I use 12V instead of the ubiquitous 5V because then I can run 3 LEDs in series at a time, which is useful for the general illumination, i.e. the LEDs which remain lit all the time. They have a forward voltage of 3.2-3.4 V so with a 5V supply, I wouldn't be able to run any in series, and it would be a lot more wiring.

The print on the wood... first thing I do is put some light under the glass and trace (onto tracing paper) the main art features that will help with placement. With online resources, I can often determine roughly where the lamps were on the original pinball machine. With the tracing paper image, I use carbon paper bit by bit to transfer the image. It's a bit of a pain. By now, buying a pantograph might have payed off!

But before drilling the holes for the LEDS, I transfer the image to some rigid insulation foam, wire up a bunch of LEDs with alligator clips and test the positions by holding the foam the right distance (about 3 cm for these LEDs) behind the glass. This way I can move the LEDs around a bit and mark the final positions on the panel.

Another part is to mask off the areas I don't want light to shine through, or isolate where I need to control LEDs individually. Alas in the attached photo, I already sealed up and glued the thermometer isolator. The black bits are where I want to block out light completely, and these are raised so that they just touch the back of the glass.

Thanks for your interest!

.:James:.


Centigrade37 lightbox - light panel 3 sm.jpg
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light panel, glass side, with isolators, light-blockers and fake score reels.
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Centigrade37 lightbox - light panel 3 sm.jpg


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