Here’s our submission video!
Vimeo video link (for those who are youtube blocked)
Backstory: Red Bull recently sent us a fancy shield for an Arduino, dubbed the “Turbull Encabulator”. This is a play on a joke engineering video that used a bunch of technical jargon that made no sense whatsoever. Nevertheless, this board was packing a ton of potential, (which others have covered in detail elsewhere).
Basically, it can control a ton of 12v standard RGB LED strips, individually addressable LED’s, has sensors for temperature, includes DMX protocol – the works. With this, Red Bull Challenged us to make something “awesome” using their device. The basic requirement was to include lighting and interactivity.
We started by studying the shield extensively:
We came up with a fun idea that turned out to be a lot more work than we bargained for: a nice light up Tic Tac Toe board.
Very early on, we could see the potential was there:
For this build, we relocated our home build CNC router to its new home in 757Makerspace:
Justin is seen below doing some initial wiring for the build. The LED strips utilized common positive. Standard “telephone” hook-up wire was used to connect the negatives.
Due to the spacing of the X and O pattern, each strip had to be separated. This involved removal of the waterproof barrier via heat knife and soldering extensions directly to the pads inside:
Alex did a great job designing the CNC cuts to be made. Borders, tops, sides, and plexiglass were all done with very tight tolerances.
We later discovered that it would have been much easier to simply make things “loose” and hot glue it in place. Hindsight is 20/20 though! Live and learn.
There were 8 cuts per square, 9 squares, and more plexiglass cuts on the exterior. These were all sanded with 60 grit for a nice opaque finish to allow smooth light flow to come through.
Alex cutting out the border on our machine:
After the border was cut out, 2 layers of paint were applied, as well as a clear coat to easily clean off dirt from people walking on it:
Below shows Justin working on the wiring. Being on a tight budget, we used spools of wire that we already had but was very stiff and difficult to work with. We had a few broken solder joints that had to be repaired after installing the light assembly. The breaks were purely the result of excessively stiff wire. Pro-tip: spend the extra money for “noodle wire”. It’s flexible, easy to strip, and solder. I had a limited amount, but none of those solder joints failed during the build.
The picture below shows the buttons made from PVC. They were sanded down, painted red on the top, and re-purposed bed-springs were used for easy glide motion with long throw. The switches we used were rocker style, wired to be naturally open against the retaining ring. By pushing down on the button, the retaining ring released the switch to connect it. In retrospect, we wish we had purchased better quality switches. We had major problems with them randomly popping apart from their (barely) press fit housing. We had to glue the case on all of them.
Below, Steve is seen working on his EE senior design project intermittently through the build; he still managed to pull off the programming for the Tic Tac Woah. The code was modified from a self-playing tic tac toe game, changed to accept inputs, interact with the Turbull Encabulator shield, and make nice lighting effects. The code is here: TTTLightXO
A picture of a game being played is shown below, but the pictures do not do it justice. A lot more of the detail can be seen in the video at the top!
Thanks for reading!