Physical Computing – Week #14 – Welcome Stacklight!

As we wrote in the previous post, we got our object to work. The remaining work we still had to cover was:

  • figure out the connections (to move away from copper)
  • choose final components
  • finish fabrication



We decided to give a shot to the magnets, as we have purchased bunch of them at the beginning of the project anyway.

For the test we drilled two holes on each of the layers to make connections work:

  • two holes in the center of the ground piece
  • 4 holes (2 on top and 2 on the bottom) of the middle piece
  • 2 holes at the bottom of the top piece

Just to note: it’s super hard to solder on the magnets as they keep running away! We’ve spent a lot of time to make it happen. The magnetism reduced a lot as we hitting magnets up in soldering.


Final components

As for now, we sticked to the LEDs. There are 4 LEDs in total: 3 on the bottom piece and one on the top. As both top and the bottom of the middle piece is acrylic, when you stack the pieces together, it looks like LEDs are in all of them.



Shir also used CNC again to cut the new pieces. We first cut the pieces out of blue foam to make sure that the final is as we need it and then moved on to the wood.


Here’s what we’ve got:


6B4A9930-1024x683 6B4A9955_1-1024x683

We’ve got good feedback during our presentation, we also made a keynote with our process – you can find it here.

We took some shots of our project before class, it was great to have our stuff working, as you can see in this pic:


All our fellow classmates express the stacklight could be a good toy/product in the future if we keep working on it. By product, we mean the stacklight could really be a lighting product in the bedroom. Users can stack rounds that have lamp inside up, depending on how much light they would need to consume. This can be a really good idea for the future side project.

However, since we did a lot of research on kids development and their toys. We really want to build Stacklight to a higher level.

Some options for the future:

  1. Work on better connections (magnets still keep running away and we should try working with bigger ones)
  2. Play with different outcomes (sound, motor, etc.)
  3. Try different wood (dark one should look really good together with acrylic)
  4. Add a pocket for battery disassembling


We have also applied for the ITP Winter Show: if we get in, we’ll have to work on some of the things from that list!

Although with frustrations it was a really good project: including research, playtesting with kids, pcomp part itself, and, of course, teamwork.

On my end, I feel that working on one project for a long time lead to good results and a number of revisions that we had, just helped us make it better. I wish we could make it work with the Neopixel, as we can have much more control on the outcome, but I guess that for this run we had to come up with lighter solution. 

I think that the choice of choosing simple interaction helped me to figure out a lot of the basics in Pcomp and troubleshooting that can help me later on- sometimes when things doesn’t work- you need to know the way back in order to fix it. It was a good experience, and I had great time also to bring some new techniques like the CNC to this project.

Thanks for reading this  🙂

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