Immersion Wheel update

The plates of the immersion wheel are now laser etched and cut to shape. The plate which acts as the main support has a straight bottom edge. The straight edge provides an excellent opportunity to edge light the plate’s motif with LEDs. The LED strip that I chose can produce 7 colors, and has a number of different settings such as blink and fade.

The second plate which rotates via a ball bearing to create the effect is circular. Because of its shape and its motion, it is not as straight forward to edge light this plate. Without edge lighting the second plate, the dynamic radiant effect is rather subtle. While the subtle effect is interesting to look at, it could be worth exploring ways to edge light the free spinning plate. So far I have 3 main ideas on how to do so:

1) Stick small battery powered LEDs onto the edge. Without a cord to interfere, this should edge light the plate and allow it to spin.

2) Create a housing for the entire sculpture. this would allow LEDs to be placed around the top of the arch to better illuminate the round plate.

3) another plate that is essentially the off-cut of the round piece to transfer teh edge lighting upward from the off-cut’s straight bottom edge. There is some uncertainty that enough light could escape the acrylic sheet that would be in direct contact with the LED strip, and enter the edge of the circle to create a strong lighting effect.

Special thanks to Thomas for getting me up and running on the laser cutter!

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Roshan Misra
    April 11, 2016 8:26 pm

    Holy Canoli Jason! This is super cool! I’m really impressed with how this already looks! I haven’t been following your project too much but happened upon your post and I’m very excited to see how it’ll look when its finished. While the battery powered LEDs are probably the simplest fix for your solution from an implementation stand point, using a separate plate might look more clean, or allow for more flexibility for the configuration of the LEDs.

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    April 10, 2016 10:12 pm

    I am wondering if you would be able to add a second set of lights (or bend your set around) to illuminate the front disk from the bottom. Acrylic LED signs are usually illuminated from a single edge, either top or bottom, and don’t have a full enclosure. The lighting in your images make the back plate really pop, and I wonder if you will get a better Moire-like effect if the etched images are both prominent. Adding a full enclosure could get really complicated, and take away from the simplicity. From the video audio, it sounds like you might need a little spacer to stop the plates from rubbing. The LED lighting effect looks awesome in the dark. You should definitely request a darker room to show your piece off at the design expo.

  • Jason I have to say that this looks stunning. Congrats on getting that far with your project, you are ahead of your schedule I think. As far as edge lighting the spinning plate I would go for your first proposed solution by adding small powered LEDs on the edge if they fit in between! I think this will be the easiest fix specially under your time constrain. One more think I would recommend when you are done with the project is to have a good video shots of it. Good Luck!


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