Another little progress update today:
Apologies that there wasn’t anything from me last week, I’ve been occupied with other things for the last few days. However I did manage to get a bit more stuff done over the weekend, and felt it was suitably photogenic to be worth doing a quick writeup for you.Warning: More Pictures! (Click to show)
This is one of the fibre optic lighting blocks for the reservoirs, which – after yet another afternoon’s soldering – are all now operational. There are four of these, top and bottom for each reservoir, which are wired together in series. The front and nearside fan backlighting units, although they have separate power cables, share a data connection and so run from the same Arduino output. These four are powered separately and run on a different header, so they can run a different lighting effect and can also remain switched on when the fan lights are off. As such a conveniently placed switch will let me change at will between the full rig lighting and a more subtle ‘low-power mode’ look.
The lighting blocks are exactly the same basic setup as the original wooden one I made for testing the concept - just neater. Each consists of a small piece of acrylic, four countersunk drill holes, four 3mm push-fit LED holders, plus some lengths of the side-glow optical fibre. The Neopixel lighting strip is secured on the back courtesy of some electrical insulating tape and fixed (removably) to the case frame with strips of self-adhesive Velcro. The original plan had been to use two much longer lighting blocks (one each side) that would have supplied all of the fibre-optic lighting, however I have subsequently decided instead to do the reservoirs and the Raystorm/GPUs separately.
This picture show lighting block 3 installed and online, plus the connections to the top of the front-end reservoir in place and illuminated (this is the only one which is finished thus far)
. Cutting and fitting those fibres is a complete pain, because the working room is so tight, but overall it doesn’t look to bad at all. The outboard two fibres could be trimmed just a fraction shorter, but that is basically how it will look from this side.
This shows the equivalent positions at the bottom of that reservoir, which as you can see I have not had time to trim to size yet. After doing the first one I discovered it would be much easier to fit the fibres into place, then cut them to the required length in-situ. The lighting block is mounted to the side rather than mirroring the top one, as there isn’t room. It is also slightly higher up than you might expect, as there needs to be a space to the left of that female QD3 to fit the 4-way hub for the front fan cables.
From the nearside, the result looks like this. You can clearly see the two most prominent fibres that go in to supply the front light guides inside the reservoir. You can also just see another of the fibres, which supplies one of the rear light guides. Those are extremely tricky to fit and a quite tight turn, but to my great delight they work perfectly – once they’re in.
These are the bottom light-guides, showing the resulting elimination that you get. I’ve no doubt that with the standard installation, a fixed-colour LED directly into the port, you would get a brighter light - but overall this idea works surprisingly well. I’m still not wholly sure that I shouldn’t have shortened the guides so that they are right down in at the base of the reservoir. This would help keep the light source invisible to the viewer and ensure from most angles you only see the illuminated bubbles.
Anyway, I hope to have some more pictures for you once I’ve finished fitting the rest into place. But, in the meantime, this is what it currently looks like: