It's all about the blinking...
See a comparison of the hardware used to run the displays between 2007 and 2017.
It must be time for repairs. This ropelight item had a few bad parts that were not too obvious last year, but this year it looked terrible, so I had time today to restring it with new 24V White Ropelight.
The ropelight item of santa and the reindeer before I started work on it. Huge number of sections out, but the green surround was fine, so was left in place.
Slowly getting there, but using a LOT of cableties in the process. It was too dark to take an image once completed, but the sections which were colored in the previous image were once again sprayed, and then a topcoat of UV protecting spraypaint was applied to see if it helps the ropelight last a bit longer.
The show has been running for a few days, but we struck a problem - the megascreen matrix developed a fault and needed to come down for urgent repairs. Because of the new design that uses an electric winch to raise and lower it, the repair of 1 faulty pixel, and another which was stuck on white, took less than 2 hours.
The screen is lowered and rested against the ladder to allow the back to be removed and the repair carried out
One of these is faulty - can you find it?.
A closeup of the repair in progress as the screen was tested before the LED was soldered in place.
When we put the show up and started running, there has been one area that I always thought looked a little poor - the leaping arches. The length of the arch was great, but the pixels on it were too small an area over such a big arch, so it looked too sparsly lit. Some people had used various covering of the arch to give the LED's more impact, but I wanted something different, so I came up with a newly designed C7 light, but it's a little smaller than the ones I used on the other items in the display. This C7 LED cover has a flat side that is ideal to mount against a rope or, in this case, conduit, so I went off and started printing 300 of them with 255 needed.
A bare pixel on the arch, and because the arch is black, it does not really light up much additional area. This is the back of the arch, so it does have a lot of scratches, but the front looks fine.
The arch with covers installed. You can really see the difference in the area that the light illuminates, and the arches themselves look a lot more defined and full.
A few more covers in the printer for the last couple of arches.
Rather than simply cabletying the tint tubes to the fence and risk cracking them, or scratching the fence, I did a quick design for a 3D printed fence mount. 2 Cableties hold the mount to the fence rails, and 1 more wraps around the tint pole to hold it in place. One of these will be placed at the top and bottom of each tint pole along the driveway.
A low quality print at 0.3mm is all thats needed as these items are basically hidden parts of the display.
Here it is sitting on the tint tube.
And installed on the fence
Due to the increase of people walking into the yard in previous years (usually by lifting up the tape and walking under it), we decided to place a fence down the driveway to block access to the front yard entirely. I am still waiting on the gate, but the fence is in place now, and that will be an ideal place to place the old tint tubes that were next to the driveway in the past.
This is the driveway fence, still with supports to hold it straight until the concrete dries completely.
1700 or so LED Light covers are completed and 2 coats of UV protecting spraypaint have been added to them all.
Today I started adding the covers to the LED's for the show and I am quite suprised how they look.
Here is a row of 100 LED's used on the shrubs at the front of the house. The left side has the new 3D Printed covers installed, and the right side is bare LED's still let to have the covers installed.
Ready to be stored away until they are used this year. I probably should have turned them off, but they looked so good lol
I started installing the covers on the Minitrees as well, but I did not bother tidying up the branches yet, as that can wait until they are installed.
The Minitree in closeup. They do need replacing, but that will have to wait until next year, or as funds allow.
A lot of LED light covers have been done, and I have started to spray paint them with the UV and weather protection. A couple of months ago I selected 4 clear spray paint types and tested them against a control set of light covers and determined the best coating setup to protect the covers from rain and UV damage.
It appears as though most of the coatings gave adequate protection, but the best overall was a combination of Dulux DuraMax Plastic Primer and Septone Acrylic Topcoat Clear with UV stabilisers. This setup did not peal off, formed a waterproof coating and did not get any mould growth on the outside.
Now it's time to start spraying the covers 100 at a time, or in this case 200.
I managed to complete 7 stars so far, and the majority of the 8th is printed waiting for assembly.
Here is a short video I grabbed to show you just what the stars are capable of.
The stars are starting to be put together today.
Here are 3 of the stars being glued together.
The first 10 pieces are put together before the pixels are put in place, and then the last 2 pieces are installed and glued in place, forming the completed star.
Well I have been flat out printing parts for the 12 pointed 3D stars.
I am still unsure where the stars will be located, but I am now thinking they might look good on the Minitrees or on the front deck.
700 LED Light covers now bagged and ready for use, and another 60 more done, and ready to be bagged tomorrow once another 40 are done.
The three stars are completed and tested, and have been put away ready for another few more to be printed later this week. I'll start adding them to the sequences later in the month, and try to get a decent video of a few of them running.
Almost 600 LED Light covers completed, and more on the way, 3 stars printed, 2 complete and 1 ready to finish tomorrow.
I even had time to make my lovely wife the Garden Well she always wanted. Apparently she did not see the minutes of effort I put in to do this!
Parts for three stars have now been done, and we are flat out printing stars and LED Covers pretty much constantly.
People have asked what the 3D printer looks like when printing, so here are a couple of video's to show you.
Printing 20 LED Covers at once. Yes it takes a while, but I remotely monitor them from inside when I am not in the shed.
Printing 2 of the Pixel star pieces. I normally do 3 at a time, but I had loaded a new filament and I wanted to ensure it worked fine.
Let it snow, let it snow...
15 Minutes later - Make it stop, make it stop!!!!!
Lithgow Snowfall on 17 July 2015, taken from a Walkera H500. Not lights related, but it was a fun day of photo's and flying.
A lot of Covers done so far, with 400 completed, and more Natural ABS on the way to complete even more.
Also been flat out printing parts for more 3D stars, and you can see the results below. Once I have a few of them I'll do a decent video lol.
The Pixel Star contains twelve 5V pixels and will be powered by an output from a J1Sys P2 this year.
A rough video of the star in action, just taken on the iPhone. Each one is 36 channels, so it will eat channels up nice and quick for such a small item.