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Topic: Art frames...sharing (Read 3488 times) previous topic - next topic


A few years ago I made an art frame/nightlight that used a "dumb" LED light and just relied on shadow casting. I thought I could make it more interesting with Arduino.

This is just a proof of concept piece...final version would need to be a lot neater (and Tony Stark needs to look a lot less like Al Jolson) but overall effect I am very happy with...video makes it look less clear than in rl;



Pretty cool! How does it work?

I've seen some cool projects that do edge lighting of multiple layers of engraved acrylic or glass but I think you are doing something different.


Well, this being me, with my lack of Arduino knowledge, you could place a safe bet that it's a low tech solution.

I'm not going to drag this out for a long time but for now I'm curious...How do you THINK I'm doing it?

I've got a Batman one to do next...but I need to buy more LEDs...!


Oh and you're right, it's not edge-lit acrylic...as far as I know you need clear acrylic for that, it won't work with frosted...

...there's a clue...the front panel is 3mm frosted acrylic...


I've played around with using multiple RGB LEDs to do shifting projections of sandblasted designs on the inner surface of blown glass I make. This is a rough proof of concept video:
The flicker is an artifact of the camera's refresh rate interacting with the PWM frequency. In person it's very smooth. The distortions of the patterns were caused by me leaving some minor tooling marks on the design surface while forming the glass, which I hadn't expected to cause such a problem. I've done some further work on refining the concept, including more fancy forms for the glass, but I don't see myself being able to manage navigating my way through the process of using this in a legitimate commercial product so I haven't been able to dedicate a lot of time to it.


Wow. Really beautiful. Commercialisation is a movable feast...I'm sure you could have a market for those on something like Etsy...then could reinvest some of the proceeds in further refinement.

My frame works in a similar way, but using colour filters. Tony Stark is cut from red tinted film using a vinyl cutter (fiddly!) and Iron Man from blue tinted film. The films are applied (fiddly squared!) to opposite sides of a glass plate. The frosted acrylic acts as a screen and gives diffusion.

When the LEDs are blue, the Stark filter blocks the light and thus appears black, but the Iron Man filter lets the light pass through so effectively disappears. When the lights are red, the reverse applies. The appearance of the hands and chest on Iron Man is just the setting of carefully positioned LEDs to white.

The frames I use are about an inch deep, so some very limited animation could be possible due to parallax effects when lighting different LEDs - I'm thinking of employing this in the Batman frame.

I was thinking of some limited sales but I can't over commercialise these in terms of mass production without getting a license for the characters - there is an exception for low volume artistic projects (so I'm told, still need to confirm). Price is another issue. With 20+ LEDs, a Trinket and a usb power pack in each project, unless I do buy in bulk I think the product might be overpriced if I pitch it to attract a profit.

Superheroes make a good subject as there's a good choice of options for the "switch"; superhero to nemesis, alter ego to superhero, or simply superhero to symbol (eg bat signal, superman "S" etc). I've got more filters coming including some secondary (cyan, magenta and yellow) colours. I don't know how they'll work compared to the primary RGB ones as they'll allow passage of two colours of light and only appear black under one.

Tinkering. I love it. :-)


I could definitely sell LED illuminated sculptures. I actually already have an Etsy store. My primary income is from Amazon but this sort of item would be well suited for Etsy. The stumbling block for me is dealing with the red tape involved with manufacturing and selling this sort of electronic device. I looked into it a bit and then decided it's over my head. I can still play around with it as a hobby but I don't have a lot of space in my house for decorative glass sculptures. The great thing about this sort of thing is you can continue to program it with new lighting effects so it really never gets old.

That's really cool about the color filters. I would never have guessed it!

I also used plotter cut vinyl for the designs on the piece in my video. But in my case I applied the vinyl to the projection surface, sandblasted, then removed the vinyl. Where the vinyl was the glass was protected from the abrasive and stayed clear. Everywhere else it was frosted, which gives really nice diffusion and forms an excellent screen to project on.

The licensing thing is tough. I think you could make some really nice ones by collaborating with talented, but not overpriced, artists. I'm sure there are some out there who would be thrilled to see their work in this format and actually I think some customers would really like less commercialized imagery. However, the superhero switch concept you have really does work perfectly with this!


Better video, same frame...this looks more like it does in real life.

Colours filters I use are a pain...window filters very, VERY thin films, photography gel filters very very THICK ones. Thin film hard to apply as so flimsy, and gel filters won't cut on the vinyl cutting machine, even set to FOUR cutting passes.

Need a medium film, Just a pain that the boxes are 9" square...thats 230mm and A4 is only 210 wide. Grrr.



Wow, that's really nice! I like the part when the circle on Iron Man's chest and the hands start glowing white.


Two more. Light sequence still to be programmed on first one.




They both look great!

For some reason YouTube says "This video is unavailable" for Spiderman, which is weird because the URL looks identical to the one that works:


Thanks for helping pert...don't know why my link doesn't work...


Feb 14, 2018, 05:51 pm Last Edit: Feb 14, 2018, 05:52 pm by GreyArea

Black Panther

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