Over the holidays I had some time to reflect on the build. The perforated wheels were coming together fine. They would have been better than the prototype by far. But having some time to think over techniques I’d developed for the perforated method I realized I could apply some of these to my original plan of a grooved frame with the LEDs installed between the PVC skin and the aluminum frame. I had ditched the grooved plan last spring in favor of the perforated design, then had to build a CNC machine to accomplish that prototype. Now the CNC mills these grooves accurately, albeit slowly, but this is a much better product 🙂
Here’s a quick video clip of it partially assembled:
There are a few ways that this is better:
1: There’s more space outside of the tubing than inside, so I can fit 3 strips of LEDs rather than the that the perforated wheels were limited to.
2: By putting three strips oriented 120 degrees apart from each other, one strip faces inside the wheel, directly at the performer. This can eventually be programmed to display a different pattern than the outer strips, allowing different effects such as a static glow on the performer as the outer pattern does it’s thing, or strobe on the performer, or lots of other ideas.
3: This method requires 1/4″ wall aluminum tubing which gets grooves milled in it, rather than a 1/8″ wall thickness with hundreds of holes all over it.
4: The bolts are on the sides rather than the inside of the wheel. This makes for a stronger wheel and speeds up assembly/disassembly.
I’ll have video of the complete new wheel in action in the next week.