LED Matrix Cylinder — a blinkenlights tube

We see lots of addressable LED projects, but there was something weirdly charming and very pretty about this cylinder of squares. It’d make for a lovely interactive nightlight in a kids’ room, or for a grown-up lighting feature that you could also use as a news ticker or something that monitors your in-home IoT devices. Once you’ve built something like this, you’re only limited by your imagination — and it’s nice enough to display in your home.

This project is from makeTVee on Instructables. The cleverness is in the layout and the really meticulous execution: vertical strips of LEDs form a cylinder in a laser-cut frame, with a very thin layer of wood veneer glued around the whole thing to act as a diffuser. It’s simple, but really rather beautiful and very effective.

diffuser, diffusing

In the case to the side is the Raspberry Pi Zero that’s driving the whole thing. Here it is doing its thing:

makeTVee has built a Pygame-based simulator of the whole matrix so you can program it to do exactly what you want: scroll marquee text, make pretty patterns, twinkle at random, display images: the world’s your (pixellated) oyster. The code’s available at GitHub.

GUI for programming cylinder

Thanks, makeTVee — if you’d like to leave your real name below, we’ll credit you properly here!


Lanni Roderick avatar

Very nice where can I buy one

Martin avatar

Hi Liz,
Thank you for this feature; it is a great pleasure to see my project here at the raspberrypi.org blog. I am a Pi tinkerer from the very beginning and having one of my projects on your web page has always been a little dream of mine. ;-) So thank you for making it happen!
I have some other Pi based projects, so please check out my hackaday.io page: http://www.hackaday.io/maketvee

Marlon Samaniego avatar

Very nice and innovative !

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