We’re Reinventing the Wheel – In a Good Way!

Over the past 8 months we’ve moved into a new and bigger shop, brought on new talent, purchased a ton of new equipment, and gone gangbusters on improving production capacity.  All of this has slowed us down for the past few months, but we’re finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.  This week especially marks the turning point with some really cool new developments in our LED Cyr wheel beta program.

 

LED Cyr Wheels

Rev6 LED Cyr wheels and (finally) the End of Beta testing!

We’ve gone through 6 major revisions of the LED wheel design in the past 18 months.  Each revision has added huge features, while modifying many smaller elements within each particular build of that revision.  I’m even confused thinking back over it all 🙂

With Rev6, we’re finally done adding to the design, and can now switch the focus over to polishing it to a final product, scheduled for this summer.  Here are the main features that make this by far the best LED wheel available:

  • User Friendly
    • Easy to add your own images, sync to music, etc via USB or the upcoming Bluetooth app
    • No proprietary software or line by line coding required (though you can code custom functions if you prefer)
    • Our unique wire free joint connections make assembly as simple as any regular Cyr wheel; no wires to tangle, damage, or protect during assembly, disassembly, or transport
  • Our LED Cyr Wheels are Super Bright!
    • The CyrCraft design uses 3 strips of LEDs spaced evenly around the wheel, emitting light from all angles.
    • We’ve designed our own high current connectors that don’t put a bottleneck on how much energy the LEDs can pull from the batteries.
    • They’re bright enough for patterns to be seen easily even in full daylight!
  • Multiple Wireless Control Options
    • A handheld remote comes standard with each wheel
    • Our own Wireless DMX interface is available as an add-on for serious performers
    • A bluetooth android app will soon be available
    • The controller board also supports WiFi that will be made available in the future
  • Unparalleled Modularity
    • Every part of the wheel can now be easily removed and replaced (even the skin!), with a couple simple hand tools
    • In the event of an equipment failure, any part can be swapped out in minutes!
    • We are tooling up for complete interchangeability of wheel sections in the final product – no more tiny section numbers to hunt for while you’re prepping the wheel in a dimly lit backstage area!
  • Fast, Flexible Graphics
    • We are driving over 1000 LEDs at 240 frames per second with individual pixel level control
    • Our wire free joints use physical contacts that allow faster data rates than what is achievable using a wireless link between wheel all 5 wheel sections
    • Onboard accelerometer/gyro can keep images stabilized upright or be configured to alter the brightness, color, speed, etcetera of your patterns.
  • They’re Just Tough!
    • Using sturdy 1/4″ thick aluminum tubing for the wheel frame, we are able to inlay the LED strips inside of grooves routed on the surface of the frame.
    • The LED strips are protected by the walls of the groove, then cast in a clear hard resin, and all of that is cushioned by a thick 3/16″ PVC skin.
    • Short of running over a nail, the LED strips cannot be damaged through normal use, and so they’re able to be installed on both the inner and outer surfaces of the wheel for optimal lighting.

We’ll be posting more details here on each of these areas as Rev6 is finally ready to unveil.  Aside from the LED wheels, we’re also expanding our product line with more standard wheel options, and some swag too!  Keep your eyes peeled for the reopening of our web store for that development.  If you’d like to be notified of new products and sales, you can also sign up for our email list below.

Thanks for checking in!

-Jesse Hughson
CyrCraft Customs

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Rev3, Rev4 and Rev5

It’s been a while since my last post, but here’s an outline of the developments over the past few months:

In February we completed the first grooved frame design. By grooved frame, I mean the LEDs are mounted in grooves that are milled into the surface of the wheel’s metal frame. This was Rev2 – as the last blog post describes.

Rev2 was a good proof of concept, except the LED strips were getting broken solder joints due to movement beneath the skin of the wheel. So I designed Rev3 to include protective tracks that would take up the extra space around the LEDs and solder joints to divert pressure and twisting forces away from the more delicate parts of the LED strips. This worked great as long as the tracks were installed in perfect alignment to each LED pixel. With nearly 1200 pixels in a full wheel, I was getting 1 or two problem spots on each wheel.

This wouldn’t make a reliable/scalable long term solution, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with Rev4, which uses resin casting to encase the LED strips in a completely solid and rigid assembly. Each of these revisions also added wiring improvements to simplify assembly and save space inside the wheel.

It’s been about a month since completing the first Rev4 wheel, and the only issues so far have been with wire management. There are wires and connectors and battery housings, etc coming out of both sides of every section of the wheel that need to be managed to avoid damage during assembly/disassembly/transport of the wheel. To my knowledge, this is the case for every LED Cyr wheel that’s ever been built (unless it has separate isolated circuits/batteries/controllers in each section)

The next major revision will eliminate the need for any loose wiring or connectors that could fail due to pulling/crimping/pinching/stripping a wire. This is Rev5, and it’s nearly done. I have a working proof of concept, and am in the process of packing it all into a wheel. The next blog post here will likely show the completion of that development.

Alongside all these developments, the prices for Beta wheels has also been climbing. At the start of this project when I thought Rev1 was going to basically be the design, Beta wheels were $2300. Rev2 brought this up to $2500. Rev3 moved it up to $2700. Rev4 brought it up to $3000. Once Rev5 is complete, the price will go up to $3500. The final production model, at this point, should be about $4500. Please send me a message on the contact page if you’re interested in placing an order!

Thanks for checking in!

-Jesse Hughson
CyrSmith at CyrCraft Customs

LED Cyr Wheel Rev2 is a Go!

The LED wheel redesign is looking awesome (see the previous post for specifics on the new design). I’m very happy with the new grooved method. Be sure to check out the video clips below the article to see it in action.

We did the first test run this week. It was amazing! We couldn’t get into a darkened room for the test unfortunately, but even in a well lit environment you can see the wheel shining brightly.
Avi Pryntz-Nadworny performed the test drive. Beforehand, I couldn’t be totally sure whether the grooves were going to affect the feel or performance of the wheel. Avi says he didn’t think the grooves made any noticeable difference in the handling of the wheel. That’s one win 🙂

I’m really happy with how everything turned out, although I do have several goals for immediate improvement:

1) One of the LED solder joints broke during the test run. I had been considering filling the LED tracks with epoxy to protect the LEDs from the PVC skin rubbing against and damaging them. And now I will.

2) On this wheel the grooves are the full length of the the tubing, so the ends of the grooves are open if you’re looking into the end of a wheels section. I’m going to mill the grooves a little shorter than the length of each tube to leave a protective lip of metal enclosing the LEDs/solder joints from the end of the tubing. I’ll post pics of that in the next week.

3) Battery Holder: The current battery pack holds only one battery, which lasts about a half hour with the patterns I’ve been running. I want to get well over an hour so that the wheel can be powered on and off to use for several runs between swapping batteries. Two or three batteries would be more than enough. The hurdle here is more batteries=more wires since the cells are run in parallel. More wires are hard to fit into the wheel! I may eventually put the cells in series for a higher voltage and use a regulator to supply a constant 5.5 or so volts. This will probably add even more brightness.

4) Wiring and connectors: This particular prototype requires a lot of snipping and soldering to get the wire harness out completely. I’d like to redo the LEDs and wiring harness so that everything is easily removable in case of damage, or to do an upgrade. The connectors I’m using work well, but I don’t like that the ends hang out when the wheel is disassembled. Sometimes the plugs can get caught inside the tube ends on disassembly, which I worry could also cause damage. I’m dreaming up a way of making integrated connectors that just plug themselves in when the wheel sections are assembled. The connector thing might take a bit longer to develop than these other items.

5) Switches: There are currently 2 power switches on the wheel; one to each side of the battery going to each end of the power bus. The power bus loops around the entire wheel, connected to the battery on both ends in order to even out the brightness of the LEDs throughout the circuit. I’d like to simplify that to a single switch, though that would mean running even more wires past the battery pack in an already tight space. But I’m pretty sure it’ll be doable.

Those are the main things for now. There is a much longer list of things for a bit down the road, but I’ll feel really solid getting some of these improvements made for now. I’m building another LED wheel with many of these improvements in the next week or so. Check back for updates on that 🙂

Some video clips from a quick test run on the grooved LED wheel design yesterday. Lights looked amazing, even during the daytime. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a dark room for this run, but you can see it still shines pretty bright in a well lit environment.The LED strips did shift a bit during the run, causing a data signal loss. I'll be injecting epoxy into the LED tracks to fix that.Should be ready for another run in about a week.Big thanks to Avi Pryntz-Nadworny – Circus Artist for being my test pilot!#cyrwheel#ledcyrwheel#cyrcraft#circus#arduino#led#maker#prototyping

Posted by Jesse Hughson on Thursday, 4 February 2016

Big Redesign!

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.

Thanks!

Beta Production Update

Several beta wheels have sold so far, and the first two to ship should be ready in the next week. So far, all the orders have been for 71″ and 73″ sizes. I’ve decided to limit LED wheel sizing to 2″ or 5cm increments. This simplifies the number of templates I need to have on hand for layout and casting the LEDs into their mounting strip molds. It also simplifies keeping some backstock of replacement parts. By some coincidence, when using 60LED/meter strips, a 71″ wheel has 71 LEDs per strip per section. 73″ wheels have 73 LEDs/strip/section. Other sizes may not work out the same, as the LED spacing is not completely evenly divided over the length of a section. But it’s an easy way of keeping track of LED counts.

Here’s a simplified outline of the build process:
1) mark out tubing on the CNC with LED holes, bolt holes, mounting holes, etc.
2) bend the tubing on the tubing roller to a specific radius
3) manually drill out the marked holes after tubing is bent
4) bend, cut, drill, and tap insert stock
5) cast LED strips and wiring into a form to make the LED mounting strips
6) test fit
7) powder coat and skin the wheel
8) Final assembly with switches, batteries, microcontroller, etc

And here’s a little video showing some of that process:


 

I don’t use the CNC for drilling full through holes. My concern is that drilling fully through before bending will excessively weaken the metal before bending, causing the tubing roller to fatigue the pieces and/or deform them unevenly. So the CNC just countersinks all the hole ositions to give an accurate start point for manual drilling. On a 71″ wheel, there are two rows of 71 holes per section, plus about 10 more holes for bolts, LED mounting, etc. So that’s about 150 holes per section, or 750 holes per wheel that need to be manually drilled first with a pilot hole, then with the final size bit.

So that’s about 1500 individual precision holes to drill by hand, per wheel. At least for now. An important part of my production process is refining the workflow and improving techniques. In my experience, a lot of that just comes with repetition. There’s a feedback loop between product design and production methods that takes place over time. The drilling is just one aspect of production that needs this attention.

I’ve also put some time into rebuilding the 4th axis attachment for my CNC. Initially I threw it together out of spare parts. For a while my 4th (rotary) axis consisted of just a small 4 jaw chuck on the shaft of a NEMA23 stepper motor, and a steady rest made out of scrap steel and spare v-wheels left from building the CNC. The chuck and steady rest individually bolted to the CNC table, requiring re-alignment of both pieces at each use, and limiting the distance between the chuck and the rest to the length of the fixturing table.

Now the chuck and steady rest are bolted to a sturdy steel plate that takes just a couple moments to attach to the table and align. The entire attachment is longer than the table, allowing full lengths of tubing to be cut/marked, engraved at once. I’m still planning to add more supports at midpoints under the tubing, but for now it’s already functioning much better than before.


 

Lastly, I’ve finally gotten steel coupling insert stock milled. There’ll still be some tweaking to the final dimensions, but they’re working great for now. The steel inserts are a huge improvement over the aluminum in terms of rigidity. They’re going to get galvanized as well to cut down on chances of galvanic corrosion between the inserts and the aluminum tubing. Here’s the steel insert stock in all it’s glory:

Quick Prototype Video, and the Volta Wheel!!

I’ve just put up a quick video on the CyrCraft Youtube channel showing the LED Cyr wheel prototype. This is very early footage, but I’ll have another video soon showing some new patterns at full brightness. I’m currently taking direct orders for these. As of this post, there is still one available to ship in January. Here it is so far:


If you want to order a beta LED Cyr wheel, please contact me through the CyrCraft facebook page, or my personal facebook account. I was considering doing pre-sales through Kickstarter, but have decided to take sales directly for now as there are too many variables for a simple Kickstarter product launch.

In other news, have you seen David Matz’s Volta Wheel??? It’s awesome!! He’s been working with SpinFX for some time to produce this, and the effort shows! From what I gather, the Volta wheel uses Corbin Dunn’s technique of embedding the LEDs into the skin of the wheel. This gives the wheel a beautiful, even glow. And the patterns and POV graphics are incredible!! They’ve definitely set the bar high for what the CyrCraft wheels will become 🙂

For now at least, the Volta Wheel is not for sale, and is being used solely by David’s troupe, Torque Method. I can imagine it being difficult to scale production for a commercial wheel when using the skin-embedded-LED method. With hundreds of vital electrical connections protected by a thin layer of PVC/epoxy, there is definitely a possibility of damaging the LEDs while the wheel is in use. There may be workarounds though, so I’ve still got it on my list to experiment with. Here’s the Volta Wheel video, in case you haven’t seen it:

LED Prototype Test Run, Thoughts

Got the LED wheel out for the first full test run this week. Avi Pryntz-Nadworny did the honors and it rides great! He took it through the paces from waltzes to muscle-ups to coin spins. There are lots of pics and video to sort through, and I’ll be posting more over the next week or so.

Click on this image to play the video, and scroll down for more thoughts:

It was great to finally see the thing in action! After months of design and modeling various pieces in different ways, it’s all working together as planned. But, I’ve already got a list of revisions for the next build (I’m starting on two more after next week).

1) More Power! – I’ve been trying out various batteries, and not settled on a final type yet. For this test run, I just used 6 AA cells to simplify things. The entire wheel might pull about 18 amps at full brightness, but with the AA cells I definitely wasn’t getting half that. Add in that we had it running for well over an hour, and by the end of filming the wheel was starting to look pretty dim! A friend pointed out some tiny yet power packed lithium cells today though. I’ve ordered those and will be trying them out soon.

2) LED spacing – This build has both rows of LEDs placed facing outwards, away from the center of the wheel. This means the center of the wheel isn’t directly illuminated by the LEDs I was trying to keep the LED holes as far as possible from the bolt holes. The bolt holes are the most points in the wheel, so it’s good to have a lot of solid material around them to spread out their load. That said, I want to bring the LED holes a little further out onto the sides of the wheel.

3) Wiring and connectors – The prototype has Cat5 cable supplying power and the data signal. This is just what I happened to have plenty of lying around. The entire electrical harness was done in one piece just to save the labor of terminating all those ends. The next build will use a heavier gauge wire and modifed P4 power connectors between the sections.

4) Lights on the inside – A big goal is putting some lighting on the inside of the wheel to highlight the performer. These may be controlled separately from the rest of the wheel. Not sure when this will get implemented though, it may not be until Halo.

5) Inserts – The prototype uses aluminum inserts which have been cut and ground down to allow space for the LEDs and wiring. These have held up great so far, but I worry about metal fatigue in the long run using aluminum. I’ve been experimenting with steel inserts but still need to find an efficient way of machining stock for them.

6) Patterns! – Obviously this is going to be a major piece. These will improve over time though, and I can start really digging into this once the basic hardware/mechanical issues are taking up less of my head space.

I’m hoping to implement some of these changes in the next couple weeks and have even more stunning videos to share! Thanks for looking 🙂

All the LED details so far

I’m realizing I’ve got micro-updates scattered all over the internet in various social media posts, so figured I’d post here with a more complete version of the sales plan, warranty info, and build specs. Changes might still be made before the Kickstarter launch, but this is all pretty close to final.

Super Awesome Deal Happening Right Now:

I’m currently accepting two more direct pre-orders before the Kickstarter campaign launches. The next one to sell will ship by Christmas(that one’s sold). Two more direct sales are available to ship in January. Selling these directly rather than through the Kickstarter helps immediately fund all this early development. I’ve put in a couple strong incentives to buy one of these first beta wheels:
1) the direct sale betas include a FREE upgrade to the final production model (nicknamed Halo) in December 2016. This equates to a $1200 savings (Halo is $3500 at full retail, see below for standard beta upgrade options). Early supporters also get use of an LED wheel a full year before Halo rolls out.
2) these first betas will ship in December and January, well before the Kickstarter beta wheels.
These are the best value of all deals offered over the next year. The upcoming Kickstarter deals will not include a free upgrade to final production specs, that will be a paid upgrade.
Contact me through the CyrCraft facebook page if you’re interested in this option.

Beta Testing and Halo:

Because these are such a new development, my goal for this campaign is to get a lot of wheels out into the world for beta testing and feedback. Buying a beta wheel makes you part of the development team. I want to hear from you about what to improve, what to get rid of, and what you love about these wheels. In addition to a great price and being the first to get your hands on one of these wheels, you’ll get a full warranty and technical support through December 31st 2016, as well as the option for a prorated upgrade to final production specs [Halo] once beta testing has ended.

The beta testing period will last about a year, during which I will gather feedback from the beta team (that could be you!) and tweak the design as necessary. By December 2016, Halo will be ready to ship. Note that both the beta versions and the Halo models can be pre-ordered during the Kickstarter campaign, so be sure to look at the ship dates and specifics for the reward you’re choosing!

I’ve been getting questions about why the final model is named Halo. It has nothing to do with video games. I was brainstorming names of things that are glowy and round, and Halo just felt good. Others on the list were: chakra, corona, sol, helios. Halo just feels right.

Pricing and Timelines:

I’ve set up pricing to incentivize early adopters. The wheels that are shipping earliest are least expensive. As shipping dates progress, prices approach the full retail value of $3500. If you get the early bird special through Kickstarter, you’ll save $1,500 compared to full retail. If you choose a later shipping model, you won’t save as much, but you’ll get a wheel that will be much closer to Halo specs. You can also choose to pre-order a Halo during the Kickstarter starting at $2700. This won’t ship for a year, but you will save $800 versus waiting to order once Halo is released.

After the Kickstarter, beta and full production wheels may still be pre-ordered directly through the CyrCraft website. However, prices will never be as low and shipping dates as early as offered in the Kickstarter.

Build Specs:

The CyrCraft LED Cyr wheel has two rows of super bright, full color LED strips that can be programmed to display a virtually unlimited number of patterns and sequences over the surface of the wheel. Out of the box, each wheel is pre-loaded with many stunning patterns. More patterns can be added or existing patterns customized using the Arduino IDE on Mac or PC (see the CyrCraft github page for more info).

There is a power switch and a programmable tactile button accessible on the outside of the wheel. The button is initially set up to select between patterns, but can be modified to select brightness levels, pattern duration, or anything else you can think to use it for.

The LEDs, along with all wiring, batteries and controller boards are safely protected inside the aluminum frame of the wheel. Thanks to the accuracy and repeatability of CNC machining, all pieces of the wheel are modular and replaceable for any given wheel size.

The brain of the wheel is a Teensy 3.2 (LINK) microcontroller. This controller can happily drive thousands of individually addressable RGB LEDs to create an unlimited number of patterns and sequences. The Teensy controller is also Arduino compatible. This means the wheels are fully user programmable using the free Arduino IDE. The Teensy is also easily removed from the wheel for programming, and can even be replaced or added onto with other hardware to enable WiFi control, bluetooth capability, SD card storage for larger programs, and more. Some of these features may even be default by the Halo rollout at the end of 2016 – these options may make nice stretch goals 🙂

The wheel is powered by rechargeable lithium polymer batteries. One of the variables during beta will be comparing different types of battery packs. Some wheels will have a series of USB power bank style cells that can be recharged with a standard phone charger. Others will have Li-Poly battery cells and come with an external charger. Batteries will also be warrantied for the duration of testing.

Beta wheels are constructed from 1.5″od 6061 aluminum tubing with a 1/8′ thick wall and steel inserts. These are 5 piece wheels with a 3/16″ PVC skin. The LED holes are located as far as possible from the bolt holes, which are the highest stress points on the wheel. This design holds my weight fine at 250lbs, but lots of testing from all types of spinners will be very valuable in determining the need for any improvements.

Warranties:

Beta test models are fully warrantied through December 31st, 2016. If there are any issues with a wheel, I want to know all about it so I can improve the design before final production. I’ll just require that any failed components be shipped back before I send out replacements. Since all the components are modular I should already have replacement parts on hand, keeping turnaround time to a minimum.

Halo models will be warrantied for 18 months from the date shipped.

Upgrading from a Beta Wheel to a Halo:

Beta team members will also be able to pay an upgrade fee to trade in their beta wheel for a Halo. Halo models will ship starting in December 2016. The amount of your upgrade fee will be calculated by subtracting the beta price you paid from the full retail price of $3500. The beta upgrade trade-in option expires on December 31st, 2017.

Shipping, Taxes, and International Sales:

Shipping and 8% NYS Sales tax will be added to all domestic orders. International sales will not be accepted through the Kickstarter campaign, but on a case by case basis as direct sales. International orders may have different warranty policies regarding shipping costs and timeframes.

Design Iteration, Beta testing, and Pricing

Design:

I think I’ve redesigned the prototype about 12 times in the last 3 weeks. I’m finally happy with the plan though, and hopefully throwing the rest of the wheel together to get video this weekend. The biggest change I’m happy about now is the LED mounting. I had tried a variety of materials and adhesives for mounting the LEDS in alignment with the holes. Here were some of the experiments in LED mounting:
a) LED strips epoxied directly to the aluminum – looks great but leaves the LEDs not serviceable; no telling how well the epoxy will hold up over time with assembly, disassembly, flexion during use, temperature changes; does not protect the LEDs from a misaligned insert scraping at them.
b) LEDs pressed into place with a foam backer – works, but really time consuming to align everything properly, and leaves the ends around the inserts unprotected, so not that good.
c) Polycarbonate mounting strips cut on the CNC to match the curvature and LED spacing inside the tubes – works great for one row of LEDs, but takes too much space away from batteries, inserts, wiring inside the tube if 2 rows of LEDs are used.
d) LEDs superglued to 1″ polypropylene tubing aligned with the holes, the polypro tubing cut lengthwise into strips just big enough to mount the LEDs – this works great in almost all aspects. Still a bit hard to align two LED strips perfectly parallel on the same strip of polypro so that the LEDs mesh with the holes perfectly on the first or second or fifth try. Also it’s still a tiny bit too tight for the batteries. This is good enough for the prototype though. All sold wheels will use the next method though.
e) THE BEST — LEDs laminated together with layers of thin clear plastic and epoxy resin to create a monolithic rigid LED insert. These will be molded over a form specific to one size of cyr wheel. This method ensures proper LED alignment to the holes on the first try, and then each time the strip is inserted or removed afterward. Each LED strip for a particular size wheel will also be interchangeable. This makes a strong, thin, repeatable part.

As I get further into the details of the build, I’m realizing these are going to cost more than originally announced. The full price for a Rev1 LED wheel will be $3500, rather than the original $2700. Beta testing versions will still be available starting at $2300, but the price will increase by $100/month until December 2016 when Rev1 wheels are in full production. For the Kickstarter campaign, beta pre-orders will also be $2300, but won’t start shipping until March. A limited number of Rev1 wheels will also be available on the Kickstarter at $2700. I’m still going to take a handful of direct beta pre-orders that will ship before the kickstarter wheels. This all gets a little confusing, so I’ll probably put together a timeline to straighten it all out.

Also, beta testing is getting extended to about a year. I’ve been hearing concerns about the holes weakening the tubing. I’m confident in the strength of the design, but a lot could still be gained from a longer testing period. Full Rev1 wheels will not begin shipping until Fall 2016, but a lot more test wheels can be produced in the interim. Beta users will have the option of a discounted upgrade to a Rev1 wheel after beta testing is complete.

There are a lot of pieces to balance, but I’m working on a plan that gets more wheels out for real world use and feedback, incentivizes early adopters, protects the buyer’s investment, and brings in some income as I’m developing and fine tuning manufacturing. I’m hoping to have this sorted and posted tomorrow.

Thanks!

-Jesse

Revisions and Decisions

I’ve been changing the LED prototype design quite a bit over the past week. I keep thinking I’m almost done, but the closer I get, the more new ideas pop up that I want to try out. Click the image below to see video of various pieces in progress:

Here are a lot of LED Cyr wheel parts! After 3 revisions in the past week, I’m happy to have finally sorted out the mechanical side of the build. My first concept had one strip of LEDs along the outermost perimeter of the wheel. This is a great design from a manufacturing perspective. But it just doesn’t feel like enough lights, and the LEDs wouldn’t be directly visible from in front of the wheel. Second concept had two rows, one on the front and one on the back. This gives plenty of light but sacrifices some strength, as the inserts need to be cut away on two sides to make room for the electronics. This also puts the LED holes pretty close to the bolt holes, which are the highest stress points on the wheel. Not so good. Final concept, which I’m loving, is two rows of LEDs near the outermost perimeter. This gives a lot of light, requires only one flat ground on each insert, and places the LED holes very far from the bolt holes. Next step is to pack in all the electronics. Tomorrow is gonna be a shiny day! #cyrcraft #fullcircleforge #ledcyrwheel #cyrwheel #circus #fabrication #arduino #led #neopixel #maker #diy #personalmanufacturing

A video posted by Jesse Hughson (@fullcircleforge) on

Things in the shop right now are about as hectic as the video seems. But it is all coming together. All the major design challenges have been addressed, and so all that remains is to put all the pieces together. This is going to be time consuming, as I’m still trying out different techniques as I narrow down my production process.

Having completed all the design hurdles, I’m going to take a few days off from LED Cyr development to get a couple other orders shipped. But stay tuned for more developments around the end of next week!