Another Newb saying Hi and a Question about spheres

Hi everyone! Just thought I’d introduce myself on here. I randomly found out about the Pixelblaze after looking around for my new LED projects. I tend to make things for festivals and my house/ friends. Now, I’m no programmer so I have no idea about coding (only super basic bits like changing the number of LED’s etc…) I try to just build fun things I like to look at :slight_smile:
I’d love to take a programming course specifically for writing LED code but it doesn’t exist, so I just usually grab something that is similar to what I need and make it work.

aaaaaaaaanyway, I’m about to jump in and order a V2 with the expansion for a mic. I was wondering if there are examples of code for spheres or spherical matrices? I have a plan to 3d print a sphere with hexagonal features across the surface and wire in some WS2812s throughout to display patterns. Is this something that already exists or am I punching a bit high in my weight class? hahah

Cheers all!

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PB is perfect to learn on. And sphere stuff is on my radar to work on shortly cause I have all the bits ready except I have to 3d print some clips. But I’ll be happy to write up stuff as I go, and I intend on doing a lot of sphere based things (including modifying existing patterns) so welcome and if you have any questions as you go, just ask!

Hi @tattooedferret,
Welcome to the forums and Pixelblaze!

@jeff put together an awesome introduction to Pixelblaze coding pattern tutorial. You follow along in the code, and the comments guide you to understanding and most importantly, playing around with pattern code so you can see it in action.

An Intro to Pixelblaze Code.epe (22.0 KB)

There’s also tons of other patterns to look at too, and a lot of folks get an intuitive feel for things just by messing with existing patterns. The whole idea around the live-coding experience is that you can experiment and get a feel for what the bit you are editing does to the LEDs.

When it comes to spheres, I think you’ll be the first, but don’t let that stop you. There’s plenty of smart folks here that I’m sure will have ideas and tips! My suggestion is to plan and write out how you’ll wire it up first, that will inform how to map it.

Of course there are polyhedra LED sculptures and if you do go with one of those there may be some examples to draw from.

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So if you are going to 3d print a sphere, one issue is placement of the points. (If you are going to wire an existing sphere, that’s a different task, but related. I’m doing that, and I did the research for how to lay it out “best”. Turns out the best might be more effort than it’s worth, and at this point given the materials I have, I have a solution I like, which I’ll share shortly)

You’ll notice this arrangement also matches Jason Coon’s golden spiral disc (discussed elsewhere on this forum). If you are going to lay out a “hexagon” structure for a sphere, that’s almost the same as equidistant points/circles and there is a pile of math effort people have done to discover the best layout (look at a golf ball, it’s not regular, for example)

Depending on the complexity, you’ll likely end up with a sphere with holes to push pixels into (I’d suggest the barrel ones, which are uniform and fit snuggly). Make sure your sphere is big enough to fit those on the inside. The minimum size would be the tiny individual pixel discs, but those are a pain to mount (I’ve been working on a good way to do so.). The fairy wire stuff we’ve been discussing are a good option too, and I’m actually going to switch some of my existing unbuilt projects to use those, as it solves some issues I was facing.

Long story short: design the sphere first, and the programming will follow, and I’m sure I’ll be writing enough basic tutorial info about sphere specific patterns to help you grasp the next steps after you do the above tutorials that exist.
Not that 2D programs won’t work, they will, but a good sphere layout will allow things the 2D matrix stuff won’t easily do. (Think why a map of the world looks different from a globe)

Hey everyone,

Cheers for the welcome! Stoked to play around with some ideas:)

As for the sphere idea I was planning on working with my buddy who’s a bit handy with solidworks:)
Here’s the sphere:

With individual WS2812’s in the centre of each hexagon, running something similar to this: But it would be amazing to run selectable animations. (my projects have been static patterns run off Adafruit Flora up until recently)

Thanks so much for all your pointers scruffynerf :slight_smile:

Wizard, rad, thanks for the link! Looks like my winter project has a good place to start (I mean, along with my CARL inspired infinity project and some Anjuna things:))


Nice design… That’s a icosahedron (imagine just the pentagons as the points, it’s a D20) with another 5 hexes per face (so 20*6 = 125 LEDs)
Shouldn’t even need extra power.

I’d love to see the 3d stl(s) once you get them working.

Yeah, that will be easy to map, because it’s regular and mathematical. Happy to help with that. And there will be a ton of patterns available soon. I need to get my sphere built. (Of course, I just got some dodecahedron glass terrariums to turn into infinity boxes, too many projects, too little time)

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Me too! I’d love to see the stls :slight_smile:

Awesome! That would be rad! And yea I’ll absolutely share the STL. There’s actually a full tutorial online somewhere on how to design it as well if you wan to play around. I’ll find it and post it up:)

Ha, No way, the link with the video tutorial has a link to the finished file:)

Gonna get this to my mate so he can pull it apart and make it printable as a shell:)

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Either add mounting holes for led barrels, or you could make the innermost layer thin and transparent (printing in white) enough to pass light behind it (then you could use anything you glue behind it…)

Do share the final stls!

Oh I like how your mind works!