8 Bit LightShow

Group Name/Group Members:

Fawwaz Allie and Katelyn Kemble 


Bill of Materials

Item Description Brand Quantity
Sound Impact Senor module that register sound Parallax 1
AC/DC Adapter 9V 1 AMP Wall AC/ DC external Power Supply Adafruit 1
Diamond Taper Point (3/32 in. Shank) Dremel Bit Dremel 1
5050 Blue Led Flexible Flash Strip 300 Leds Blue LED 16 Feet SUPERNIGHT 1
Cast Acrylic Clear 8″ x 8″ 3/4 thick [ Edge Polished] Art Display for Led Lights TAP Plastic 1
Cast Acrylic Clear 8″ x 8″ 3/4 thick [ No Edge Polished] Second Acrylic TAP Plastic 1
x-acto knife Cutting Paper/ Scratching x-acto 1
12 gauge Wires [Stranded or Solid] wiring system unknown unlimited
Arduino Uno Core System Arduino 1
Painter’s Tape Taping the Acrylic Design Any Brand 1
Wire Stripper Cutting and Striping Wires Any Brand 1
Hot Glue Gun Harding Wires Any Brand 1
Electrical Tubing Harding Wires Any Brand 1

Order Settings For Acrylic


Prepping The Acrylic



In Photoshop or Illustrator your going to make a 8″ x 8″ design that will be printed on Standard U.S. paper. Keep in mind that those margins above is a guideline that can be printed. Try to have a design that will be 7″ x 7″, because we would like to have a 1″ negative space as a boarder to be aesthetically pleasing.

Once you have you design ready and printed. Keep In mind that the unpolished  version  looks better, and is also has SHARP EDGES and so take precaution. Now bring your Cast Acrylic or Acrylics to the work-space.

Stenciling The Acrylic


Now that you have your design printed, and place the Acrylic on top of the printed design. If you have used the paper margin guide then also do this step. Now cut away the negative space while pressing the Acrylic down.

Once cutting away the paper. Place the paper with the design on top of the acrylic and center the design. Now grab the Painters Tape, and tape the edges of the paper to the acrylic.

Try to tape the paper design as straight as possible 


Once finish it should look something like this.

Scratching The Outlines On The Acrylic

Now in these steps depends on your design. If your design has eyes you would work cutting inside the eyes first. By using an X-acto Knife scratch  inside and then outside of your design.

Once scratching out the design outlines remove the design paper, and the painters tape.

Dremel & Etching



Now attach your bit on a Dremel or a Rotatory Tool. In the video we are using a Flex-Shaft Attachment for the Dremel. Start by etching the outlines of the scratched design, and once complete. Start frosting the design by angling 60 degrees with the Flex-Shaft Attachment.

When finished here is the end result of the Acrylic



Prepping Circuitry

Now it time to cut and strip the wires that will be connected to the Arduino and the Sound Impact Sensor. On the LED Strip count 12 individual leds and cut the breakaway mark. If your using 2 Acrylic’s then repeat this step again.

The wire length is your choice in our case we did 2 feet for every wire.  Make sure you soldier the sound Sound Impact Senor leads using a correct color and I preferred using Solid 12 gauge wires. Here is how to setup the wires to the Arduino and LEDs Strip.

arduino setup

On the Sound Impact Senor the Pin SIG would go to “Digital PWM 7″. Ground goes to  the Arduino “Power Ground”, and the 5V’s goes to Arduino “Power 5V’s”.

For the LED Strips the “~ 9 is Ground “for the LEDS and connect the Positive to Arduino”Power VIR”

Note if your going to use 2 Acrylics you’ll need to wire another strip of LEDS to the LED Strip.


Notices how the LED strip has silicon over the – and + markers for the LED strips cut with a X-acto  knife carve away the Silicon to reveal the copper leads for the – and + connectors.

Arduino Coding

Now copy this code and load into the Arduino VIA USB then Unplug the USB when the code is uploaded, and plug in the AC/DC 9 volt adapter to a wall outlet.

#define LEDstrip 9

void setup()
  pinMode(7,INPUT); //SIG of the Parallax Sound Impact Sensor connected to Digital Pin 7
  pinMode(LEDstrip, OUTPUT);


//this function will make the LED dim once the Parallax Sound Impact Sensor sends a 1 signal, and then return to it’s original brightness.
void loop()
  boolean soundstate = digitalRead(7);
  if (soundstate == 1) {
         analogWrite(LEDstrip, 255);

Printing 3D Base 

3d Base

You can use the base we designed here, but you can find alternative methods to make a base.

Once you have found or printed your base your going to place the LEDs inside of the base.

Base was printed in Translucence Blue


Notice that there are holes at the corner of the base to thread the wires through for 2 Acrylics. Thread the wires through opposite ends and now solider the wires of the LEDs to the copper connectors and connect the + and – leads to the second set of LED you cut. Make sure that the + matches with + and so-forth with – sign. If you have one Acrylic don’t worry about this step.

Now your going to harden your wires either with hot glue or Electrical Tubing


Placement for Arduino & Sound Impact Senor


The next step is to place the Sound Impact Senor underneath the  IPod Dock Speaker. This the a similar version we have used.


Next is to carefully take the wired Arduino and place it diagonally behind the IPod Dock housing.


Once placed in back of the IPod dock assemble the 2 or 1 printed bases next to the IPod dock. Now take your base and place it next to your IPod Dock.

Now mount IPod on Dock and Play Music.

End Result

Someone Interacting With The Object

CT101 Digital Storytelling