Jan 30, 2022

Fortnight Notes - More on Plastic Flowers

At the time of my last blog post, the Plastic Flowers had been carefully positioned in the base grid, a difficult job as they’re pretty fragile, so thanks again Sanna!:


As you can see, that still left a lot of wiring to be done. Mike G again volunteered to help with this, a task which apparently made him feel nostalgic for his time wiring up telephone exchanges:


We also made a box to hold the My Baby’s Got LED board and the PC power supply it runs off, based on one Arthur made for the Electric Liver Bird:


The My Baby’s Got LED board lets you easily set up addressable LEDs to be controlled by WLED software. You can run WLED from a phone app over Wifi, so once it was set up, it didn’t take much to try out different effects:



Left to do:

  • Update the My Baby’s Got LED board to the latest version of the WLED software (I’ve had it for a while now, and a lots happened with WLED in the meantime). This will let me set up the flowers as a 8 x 45 grid (there are 8 LEDs in each flower), so that each flower can be a different colour
  • Look into the sound reactive option in WLED as well, so that the flowers can react to music
  • Mike has suggested redoing the cables from the vase to the power supply in white so that they don’t show up against white table cloths at events (it seems like they might be the sort of think people would want to use at events, and you could even get them to match your bridesmaids’ dresses if you wanted…).

In other news, the paper I ordered at the end of December eventually arrived (after a complaint), and Ed at DoES Liverpool lent me some lovely old technical pens, so I did some more experimenting with pen and paper options for the pen plotter. One of the pens was 2mm, so puts down a lot of ink, meaning that the paper stays quite damp. This seemed like a good test.

Bristol board didn’t really stand up to the task, with quite large areas of damaged paper:


Fabriano Disegno 4 drawing paper, marketed as “extremely resistant to erasing, scratches and scrapes”, unsurprisingly did a lot better, with only small areas where the surface was slightly damaged:


I’d definitely recommend the Disegno 4, and I won’t give up on the Bristol board yet either; it seems to be what everyone in the pen plotter community uses so I’m sure I’ll be able to find out what works with it. The overlapping lines from the thicker pen, and even the ink-saturated and scratched surface are things I’ll look at using again too.

While I was doing these experiments, Pablo, a new member of the DoES Liverpool community, came over to take a look at the pen plotter, and has some ideas on reducing the amount of wobble in the lines. So that’s what we’re going to be looking at next Sunday afternoon - and hopefully I’ll have some excellent new pen plots for my next WeekNotes.

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