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Space Wizard

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Painted Space

LED Shield Display

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

June to August 2018

For our Dr. Strange and The Ancient One cosplay for the DragonCon 2018 costume contest, I designed and created Dr. Strange’ s LED shield display. It is inspired by an adafruit Poi Spinner and uses modified software from those instructions to control the 52-LED DotStar digital strip. I created my own software to bring in a square image and divide it up into 52-element strips, then feed to the strip output, timed between the motor and the lightstrip to display a circular projected image. The software can hold multiple designs, switch between them, and vary the speed of the display up and down.

The holder is my custom 3D printed design to support the motor, controller, and wiring. It uses an Arduino Mega 2560 to control the lights and a Hobbypower brushless drone motor with speed control to spin them. The motor software was incorporated into the LED software so both work together with one Lithium Polymer battery. The wiring goes through a 6-wire slip ring with a through hole to put the least weight and friction possible into the rotating display, to allow for the highest speed possible in order to match the motor output. Modifying the original spinner design from start to finish took approximately three months, working in the evenings.

The pictures below are professional photos in our full costumes. The shield designs don’t capture well on film, as a long exposure is needed.

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