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Topic: Disco LED Dancefloor + more (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


Hi there,

Got referred to arduino from another forum poster in that they suggested that the lilypad products would be what I needed from my project. I'm completely new to electronics but I'm hoping for a point in the right direction and anything else would be gravy so thanks in advance to any advice you can provide.

The project is for a wargaming model conversion, essentially installing some LEDs, etc to give a model some more life on the tabletop.

What I want is to have the following:
- 8x8 programmable flashing LED 'dancefloor' so it looks like a cliche disco dancefloor (alternating colours per square would be nice but not overly necessary)
- A slow rotating discoball
- A programmable sound/music player with several options via buttons

For reference, I've made a mock concept of what I'm hoping to achieve. The base is 120mm in diameter.

Obviously, I will need to have raised platform on the base to hide batteries/electronics/LEDs within and while I get the idea of hooking a small model motor up to a battery with a switch, anything else beyond that is somewhat of a mystery to me and so I'm doing some research on the best possible solution.

Any assistance would be pretty helpful as I don't want to go jumping into this headfirst. Thanks!


Looks like a great project! I can chime in on the LEDs. 120mm / 8 is 15mm LED spacing. If you can live with 16.67mm spacing, either by dropping an LED or expanding the diameter to 134mm, then the new WS2811/WS2812 pixels would be pretty much ideal. I just put some in my store, but you can probably locate them elsewhere: http://macetech.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=44

That strip is spaced at 16.67mm between LEDs. Each LED is 5x5mm, and a couple mm tall. Every LED can be addressed separately, and the strips can be cut at any point. So you could do 8 across, 6 across, 4 across, etc in order to fit within your round platform. Only 8 strips needed.

Actually constructing the platform could be fun. It would be ideal to take a layered approach. First, a white plastic layer for the LED strips to be glued on. Then, an opaque white layer with laser cut square holes, leaving thin lightproof barriers between each pixel. Maybe 1/4 or 3/8 thick. Then, a layer of translucent white plastic; perhaps 40% or 60% sign-white, 1/8" thick. Below that, the base could be made thick enough to hold electronics and batteries (AA probably best choice, but a flat Lithium-Ion could work).

I'm assuming you'd need some wires leading up to the disco ball motor. A small channel for that could be built into the design, along with laser cut holes to match pins on the feet of the model and allow easy gluing.

A little tougher, but the same type of LEDs could be installed in several locations on the model itself.

If all this is daunting...the project looks fun enough that I'd be willing to help out with laser cutting and constructing the LED base at least.
Unique RGB LED Modules and Arduino shields: http://www.macetech.com/store


Hey, thanks for the reply.

So, a quick schematic on what I've currently thought of over the last two nights. It's more of a sectioned dancefloor rather than using the whole circular base. Admittedly, it's a rough as guts of a schematic.

As for the LED strips, I think it's a pretty decent idea. I had been originally looking at a 8x8 RGB matrix with a controller but it is smaller than originally intended although it seemed pretty easily programmable and looked like it would fit in a small space like what I have to work with (although Im not sure on that part). https://www.sparkfun.com/products/759
If I was to use strips, how would program them into a suitable 'disco' light pattern? Or even have several patterns that cycle? The obvious constraint is that it all has to fit into a 120mm base and not end up being massively tall.

Pretty spot on with the idea about a translucent cover and some lightproof barriers though. I was thinking more of a black lattice of 18 black plastic strips though.

I do also agree with some extra light on the model itself, prob some white LEDs to shine off the discoball as it spins. =]


Hmmm.. this might solve the dance floor construction very effieciently.

Of course, I'd only need one.


It depends on the look you're going for, and whether you want to really go over the top with it. Here's part of a concept:

Unique RGB LED Modules and Arduino shields: http://www.macetech.com/store


Hah, that's pretty cool.

What I would like to do is program in around 3 flashing patterns and have it cycle between the three of them. The dance floor would also be square shaped preferably so either 8x8, 6x6 or 5x5.

Another thing that forgot to mention that the actual area is more like 110mm as I forgot about the rounded lip of the base. Could just ignore it but it's usually good form to leave it in.


I have no idea if 120mm is a hard limit; if so, the design I posted is a bit oversized at 124mm without accounting for an additional black border around it. So with the WS2811 pixels, you would either need to go 6x6 and fill in the edges diagonally as best as possible, or look into creating a custom PCB with closer spacing (10mm, 12mm, etc). That actually not out of reach, assuming you buy from Seeedstudio or another place with cheap PCB prototypes.
Unique RGB LED Modules and Arduino shields: http://www.macetech.com/store

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