Yo Dawg I Herd You Like Trianglez


Josh Roy

Yo Dawg I Herd You Like Trianglez is a unfolding pyramid that is capable of filling an entire room with lighting effects, one of the integral parts of any good party. The pyramid is made solely using triangles and pyramids, hence the name. 

The pyramid is made of three main components: the outer pyramid, the inner pyramid, and the lighting pyramids. 

In addition to being used as a container for all of the other components, the outer pyramid has ultraviolet acrylic panels that glow. Each of the sides contains one UV acrylic panel as well as one UV LED strip to illuminate the panel.

Each of the sides can also unfold to expose the inner pyramid as well as the lighting pyramids. The base of the outer pyramid is raised about five inches off the ground through the use of four pyramidal feet. This allows the glowing sides of the outer pyramid to be viewed from the side, since they are still at an angle when unfolded. 

The inner pyramid acts as a casing for the arduino and all of the electronics, but also provides light and has a head that can move up and down. This pyramid is made of white plastic which glows when the internal LED strips are lit. In addition, the pyramid has a head that can be raised and lowered. Both the LEDs and the head can be timed to music to create an interesting lighting fixture.

There are also four smaller lighting pyramids aboard this structure. They are placed at each of the inside corners of the outer pyramid. Each pyramid projects triangle shaped patches of light around the surroundings of this project. Each pyramid has an internal LED strip as well as a piece of plastic, similar to the plastic in a kaleidoscope. The light from the LEDs is fragmented by the plastic and projected in the shape of triangles. 

Since the lighting pyramids are mounted on servos, they can spin in time to music and move their projections. When the outer pyramid is closed, spinning the lighting pyramids causes the sides of the outer pyramid to unfold. 

Our group focused on the “Mega Lights” aspect of the portable party machine - designing a mobile piece based around the experience of changing patterns of light. We started by brainstorming and consulting one another on the pros and cons of each design,sketch, and idea we had for the Mega Lights section. Afterwards, we came up with a good list of materials and supplies that we needed for the pyramid, but then realized that some of the materials that were needed could easily be made in the tool shop. Beverly tested materials for the projection tube, a detail inside the pyramid that shows a reflection with LED and cool reflection paper.

Towards the end of first week, our group decided to change the shape of the projection tube, from a circle to a triangle. This would change Beverly’s whole criteria of brainstorming because she would have to change the locations of tbe LED lights and materials. It came to our attention that by having  smaller triangles in the bigger triangles, would project a more  efficient effect of the lights.

It regularly happened that the design would change as a result to the measurements of the triangles being  moved to a different location on the pyramid. Each day there was something different for Beverly to change or add to the design. For instance, during the first week as a group we failed to take measurement of the objects that were going in and out of the triangle. Furthermore beverly took measurements of every single object being placed on/in the pyramid, in order for josh to make adjustments so that everything can fit. SHe then, worked on rhino with Saeed and gradually got a better understanding of it. And day by day, she  went through various of designs for the triangle to see which one our  group had preferred. In essence she spent all her time on rhino, which seemed to be an interesting experience.

Rhino had many glitches, which made it very stressful in terms of designing the triangles. During the final days we were all very anxious to see the outcome of the triangle projection lights.. It was clear to me that my designs needed to be perfect and concise,  because Beverly’s triangles projected majority of the lights in the project; but the process of making these designs were difficult. We were challenged by our coaches to make the design perfect, because it made us not settle for anything less.  

Process: Inner Pyramid (Ellis Cordaro)

Ellis Cordaro

The initIal idea for the portable party project was a pyramid that would have a speaker inside of it and would attach to a bike. The pyramid would be powered by the cyclist (chain driven) and would be able to change volume based on the user's speed and would have a lifting top to sound could escape. When everyone came together to integrate their ideas with one another's we split into groups based on the general use of the product. Beverly, Josh and I all wanted to make some sort of lighting fixture for the party. So, the bike mounted pyramid morphed into a compact and portable light fixture. In addition to the pyramid, we decided to add an outer pyramid which had a smaller pyramid enclosed inside of it. It also included smaller pyramids lining the perimeter of the inner pyramid. We then split up the work between the three of us. My portion of the project was the inner pyramid which originally included lasers, a projector, LEDs and a fog machine. However, the group decision was to get rid of the lasers and projector. We also decided to move the fogger to the bottom of the larger triangle.

The next step was prototyping. The  prototype included a truncated pyramid with a height of 6" with 4 trapezoid shaped sides and a square base with a width of 12". The top half consisted of 4 triangles with a base measuring 6" and a height of 6". The prototype was laser cut and was made from 1/8" plywood and the panels were joined by wood glue. The next iteration included the same plywood panels but was joined by polycarbonate strips and screws. Unfortunately, the strips did not provide adequate support. A wooden frame was then designed for each of the panels which were now made from HDPE. Next, hinges to join the panels to the base. I experimented with many different materials to join the panels to each other. It was decided that 3D printed brackets would be used to support the panels. Unfortunately, they did not print correctly and broke immediately. So, instead of making the brackets from an extruded square, it was necisary to draw the profile of the bracket on Rhino, extrude it, offset the surface and added a thickness of 5mm. There was also an effort to use brackets for the top pyramid. However it turned out that the holes would have to be so close together that the bolts prevented each other from being attached to the panels. So, with the last work day approaching, the top panels of the pyramid were hot glued together.

Another large part of creating the inner pyramid was making the lifting mechanism for the top. So, using a CAD software for making gears, a three spoked gear was made and attached to a motor. A notched acrylic rod was also made to would fit inside of a bracket holding it to the top triangle. It was originally attached using a 3" wide 3D printed pyramid bracket. However, the 3D printed pyramid was useless because the slot for the acrylic diagonal instead of perpendicular to the edge. So, it was substituted by a laser cut panel with a slot that used an acrylic solvent to attach the two pieces to each other. The panel was then attached to the pyramid head using hot glue (because of time constraint). The motor also needed an acrylic panel that would position it correctly and provide a guide for the notched acrylic piece. The motor ended up being attached to the acrylic using tensioned fishing line. After changing the tolerances of the slotted plastic many times and adjusting the motor, it needed something else to guide the rod. So I made an acrylic piece that would attach to the same panel that held the motor which had bearings on it and acted as a guide for the acrylic rod. One problem was that the motor was hitting the inside of the top triangle preventing it from closing completely. So, the entire panel was flipped upside-down (as suggested by Sean). The final steps to finishing the inner pyramid was attaching RGB LED strips and wiring the motor that was connected to a servo and attached to an arduino which Josh programed. Because of a lot of other work to do on the other parts of the project, the LEDs never got programed. However, on a positive note, the motor mechanism worked quite well.

Process: Outer Pyramid (Josh Roy)

Ellis Cordaro

Originally, we wanted the outer pyramid to be solid black on the outside with one red button. When this button is pressed, we wanted our pyramid to mechanically unfold, revealing a smaller white pyramid inside. We also imagined that the top half of the white pyramid would lift slightly higher, bubbles and mist would come out the hole, and the top half would shine lasers and lights everywhere. We also wanted there to be tubes on the faces of the top part of the inner pyramid that would shoot triangular projections.

We changed both the dimensions of the inner and outer pyramid many times and eventually agreed that the inner pyramid would have a side length and height of 12 inches. We also agreed that the outer pyramid would have a side length and height of 21 inches. In addition, we changed the light tubes to light pyramids and stationed them in the area between the side of the outer pyramid and the side of the inner pyramid.

One day, we decided to change our design so that the outer sides would fold down, but continue to unfold so that they would act as legs and raise the entire rest of the pyramid. We also realized that the bubble machine was way too large to fit on our design, and we moved the mister to the bottom of the outer pyramid in order to give it a rocket ship look.

In order to get the outer sides to lift the entire structure, I brainstormed and prototyped many different systems of pulleys and levers. Eventually, I created a full scale model of the outer pyramid with the lifting mechanism. The lifting mechanism consisted of pulleys, motors, and fishing line. The fishing line was tied from the top of each side to a pulley that was located next to the side across from the side being lifted. There was also fishing line that was tied from the top of side and threaded underneath the base of the pyramid and attached to the pulley. Each of these pulleys were controlled using a central motor. I tried to lift the structure by pulling on each of the lines of fishing wire, but the structure did not lift. When I pulled harder, the fishing line that was guaranteed to hold up to 50 pounds snapped. To make the structure slightly easier to lift, I added pyramidal legs, but when I tried the same test, the fishing line still snapped. After doing some vector physics, I realized that most of the force I applied was not actually lifting the pyramid. In order for half the force I applied to be used toward lifting, the legs had to be about one and a half feet tall. We then decided against having a lifting mechanism.

I then proceeded to make an opening mechanism, and it was successful! There was one central servo that attached to four pieces of aluminum wire through the use of a laser cut mounting plate. Each of the pieces of aluminum wire was connected to one of the sides. This mechanism was able to both open and close the sides, although it used a massive amount of hot glue. Once the inner pyramid was fully constructed, we tried attaching it to the outer pyramid, but we could not find a way to mount it without disrupting the opening mechanism. Since the inner pyramid was integral, we decided to scrap the opening mechanism.

Since the mist maker was going to be attached to the bottom, I had to 3D model and print a piece that would attach to the bottom and hold the mister and water. After this part was printed, I attached it to the bottom of the outer pyramid and turned on the mister. Unfortunately, it provided a very small amount of mist, due to the small size of the mister and the lack of holes in the holder. We decided that the mister did not provide enough smoke to be worthwhile.

In order to jazz up the outer pyramid, we decided to design some new sides. I came up with this idea, with the help of our coaches, on the last day before our presentations and the end of the studio! Each of the sides was going to have a piece of ultraviolet reactive acrylic that was a scaled up version of one of the sides of the light pyramids. This acrylic would be surrounded by a wooden frame and lit from the bottom by a strip of uv LEDs. The wood and acrylic would make up the middle layer of a side and would have a piece of black spraypainted polycarbonate on either side. The polycarbonate would have a hole that is slightly smaller than the acrylic so that the acrylic can still be seen, but will not fall out. I then spent the next two days, and some of a night, building these sides. On the morning of the day of the presentations, we finally assembled the pyramid in full. The lighting pyramids were placed so that when they rotated, they would knock down the sides of the outer pyramid.

Although we were not able to fully finish the wiring and programming, the top part of the inner pyramid moved up and down and the UV LEDs on the sides lit up. We also had a model of the light pyramids that projected triangles.