Post 6 – Main Project Plans and Inspirations

For my main project I have been inspired to create something that incorporates the flat iron mountain range that any one who has been to CU Boulder would be well aware of. In order to accomplish this goal, I needed to think of a way to make my project not only visually representative of the flat irons, but also, dynamic in nature as to bring this project to life. With the plethora of resources available to us as
CU engineers, I wanted to take advantage and use this technology while I still have the chance. After some brainstorming with friends, I have come up with the idea of utilizing the Idea Forge machine shop to laser cut out a silhouette of the flat irons to be the main focal point of my project.

Above is an image I found on (1) which is a representation of the overall shape I wish to accomplish through the water cutting stage of my project. One thing that may be a bit tricky, is developing a proper CAD model that will be acceptable by the machine shop prior to them cutting this piece out of a sheet of aluminum metal. Once cut, I then plan to sand blast and then paint the mountains a matte black to create more contrast for my end product.

Once I accomplish this first stage of my project, it will be time to bring this piece to life by acquiring a set of individually addressable LEDs. The goal for these lights will be to affix them to the back of my aluminum sheet of metal, hopefully mirroring the general shape of the mountains.

Above is an image I found on (2) which represents and example of the type of individually addressable LEDs that I plan to use with this project.

In order to program and control these LEDs I will need to source an Arduino along with a photoresistor to accomplish the dynamic goal I have for my project. The thought process I have, includes the utilization of the Arduino to hook up to the LED strip and then take the photoresistor to then be hooked up to the Arduino. Although a lot of coding will be necessary, I plan to locate the photo resistor in my window sill which will then tell the Arduino how much light is outside. Given the level of light, the Arduino will change the colors and tones of the LEDs behind my flat iron mountain range to simulate that of the sun rising and setting throughout the day.

The above image found on (3) represents the general schematic that I will need to have in order to hook up the photo resistor to my Arduino. I believe that there will need to be a lot of thought that goes into how I am going to make all the wiring not only functional but organized as to not get damaged. Once all of these task are compete I plan to hang my lit flat iron silhouette on my wall creating a unique piece of wall art that I will have for years to come.

Works Cited

(1) Hafiz, S. M. B. (2023, April 13). Flatiron: Over 3,767 royalty-free licensable stock illustrations & Drawings. Shutterstock.

(2) Lighting, B. (2024). BTF-Lighting WS2812B IC RGB 5050smd pure gold individual …

(3) Vigyan, E. (2023). Interface ldr(photoresistor) with Arduino. ElectroVigyan.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Kyle Hashiro
    March 3, 2024 9:29 pm

    Wow, I really like this, I can already imagine a cutout of the flat irons with RNG backlighting on my wall. Do you think laser cutting or water jetting is more suitable for this application? One other thing you may want to consider is the color accuracy of the LEDs. Sometimes certain LEDs can struggle to produce certain whites and yellows.

    • John Bileschi
      March 17, 2024 2:28 pm

      Hi Kyle, I do believe that using a laser cutter and acrylic will be the better option after looking into the cost of cutting out the mountains in aluminum. Accordingly, I have looked into the various types of individually addressable LEDs and agree with your comment that not l color schemes are created equal.

  • Hey John, I think this projects is ana amazing idea and very creative! I’m very excited to see how it turns out. It may be a good idea to add a spacer between the wall and the silhouette cutout as a place to put the lightning. Either way though, its a great idea!

    • John Bileschi
      March 17, 2024 2:34 pm

      Hi Kyle, yes I agree that the spacer between the wall will be necessary. Without any space I think that the backsplash lighting effect that I intend to have will not be accomplished. Accordingly, I thank you for taking the time to read into my project.


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