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Topic: Ambient Orb style casings (Read 2399 times) previous topic - next topic


Hi guys,

I am currently building my first project with the Arduino, an ethernet-based Ambient Orb clone. It's going great, but I need a casing of some sort for it now

At Ikea, there is: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/10096375 which is fairly nice and cheap, but it's huge and I don't want to have to go to Ikea!

I'm looking for something smaller like the Ambient Orb thing or their beacon device:

There's plenty of mathmos-style lamps out there which look great, but are quite expensive since they have a light source etc. in them. How hard can it be to find a simple empty opaque piece of glass that you can put things inside?

Ideas welcome!


Secondhand stores are a good source of parts for lamps. Various frosted lamp globes and other shapes are available at home lighting stores.
Unique RGB LED Modules and Arduino shields: http://www.macetech.com/store


Get some translucent Sculpey (polymer clay) and make your own! Its kinda translucent milky white in color, you bake it in the oven to make it harden. Once cured it can be machined (drill and tapped for instance) and/or polished to make more translucent. It works really well as a diffuser for LEDs.



I'm interested in the more technical side.  Years ago, I built something similar with a pic chip to tell me when someone posted a comment on my website.  It was a pain because it was serial, so it needed external power and a data cable.  And the PC side software was very kludgy and limited.

I've throught about remaking it with an ArduinoBT so I'd only need a wall transformer to plug it in anywhere in the room.  But I'd want a lot more functionality from the PC software (ambient orb stuff like stocks, weather, etc).  But web scraping scripts are so tedious to write and for the cost of an arduinoBT, I could buy an original ambient orb.

So I'd love to see what you come up with, especially on the PC end to send data to your orb.


I'm using Flat White Mist fluorescent lighting diffuser panels from Home Depot, vacuum formed into a ring. With water-clear RGB LEDs some additional diffusing is still needed at a distance of 1", so I'll need to add it to the device below.

LED colors never look right on camera...
Unique RGB LED Modules and Arduino shields: http://www.macetech.com/store


Acrylic is _really_ easy to work with.  You can buy some 5/16ths or thinner acrylic, cut it with a jigsaw (easy) or, if thin enough, use a scorer (more difficult), and then use a chemical bond to connect the pieces.  I use two corner clamps to bind pieces together, and either epoxy (fast, look doesn't matter), or solvent weld (looks better, more difficult to do well) the pieces.  You could make a box like that in 20 minutes for just a few bucks.


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