What is the Vase Dazzler?
The Vorpal Vase Dazzler is an open source 3D printed project that consists of a 3D-printed base and electronics that can light up a 3D printed vase with color LEDs. The LEDs are individually addressable, meaning each one can be a different color when driven appropriately from a microcontroller. The kit includes a potentiometer dial and pushbutton to allow you to change the brightness and light pattern. Complete kits of parts that do not require soldering are available from the Vorpal Robotics Store, or you can source the parts yourself (see below for a list).
The Vase Dazzler software provides ten different light patterns, including:
- fades between different hues
- twirling and blinking effects
- a "flame flicker" effect
The entire project is open source so you can easily add your own custom effects using the Arduino IDE.
Here are some photos of the Vase Dazzler by itself and also in use. Click on a gallery image to see a larger version.
Bill of Materials (BOM)
A complete kit that does not require soldering and has the program flashed on the Nano is available from The Vorpal Robotics Store
- 1 x Arduino Nano
- 1 x 12 RGB LED light ring. These are addressable LEDs such as WS2812B or similar.
- 1 x 10k ohm linear rotary panel potentiometer with 6mm shaft, nut, and dial cap
- 1 x 12mm diameter panel mount pushbutton
- 1 x Unregulated 9v electrical system which includes a 9x13mm rectangular on/off switch, 9v battery clip, and Dupont jumpers for output of the battery ground and +9v. This is preconstructed if you use a Vorpal Robotics kit, otherwise use the following hookup diagram.
Before beginning assembly, you need to 3D print the Vase Dazzler parts. There are only three parts: base, top, and battery drawer. They are available [ The Vase Dazzler Thingiverse Page].
- STEP 1: Flash the Arduino Nano using the latest Vorpal Vase Dazzler control program. It is hosted on github here: Vorpal Vase Dazzler Github Project
- STEP 2: Place the LED Ring on the top part of the Dazzler case. Feed the wires through the rectangular hole. You will need to carefully angle the wires downward a little. There are three small nubs around the circular hole you placed the LED Ring into, you will angle the LED Ring under two of them, then snap the LED Ring past the third one. It should hold securely with no glue or other means of retention.
- STEP 3: Make connections as shown on the diagram. Test the unit now before putting everything in the case by attaching a 9v battery and turning it on. Pressing the pushbutton should cycle through different lighting patterns and the potentiometer should adjust brightness of the LEDs.
- STEP 4: Put the potentiometer into the hole near the center of the back of control panel and secure with included nut. Push the dial cap onto the shaft. You need to carefully bend the connections to the potentiometer so they are at a 90 degree angle with respect to the face of the control panel. This makes room for the Nano to be inserted later.
- STEP 5: Put the pushbutton into the hole on the right side of the control panel. You do not need the nut on the pushbutton, it should hold well just due to insertion force.
- STEP 6: Angle the nano into the area on the left where the rectangular hole is for the USB port. The USB port side should go in first. You will need to insert the Nano so that the black wire on the side that faces the bottom of the Dazzler case is underneath the wires sticking out of the potentiometer. You may need to wiggle the Nano into place so it sits in the small slots along the floor of the Dazzler case.
- STEP 7: Push the on/off switch into the rectangular hole near the top of the control panel.
- STEP 8: Place the top on the base of the Dazzler case and secure with a screw in the center of the case.
You may now place a suitable vase on top of the Vase Dazzler and let the awesome begin!
Supplying Power Using USB
On maximum brightness a 280 mAh NIMH rechargeable 9v battery will last only about one hour. On a more moderate brightness level it will last several hours. If you wish to have this project lighted without batteries, you can do that by attaching a USB A to mini cable to the Nano's USB port (which is conveniently exposed on the back of the case). A standard cell phone wall charger that has a USB A jack in it can be used to power this project indefinitely.
The only downside to this is that the on/off switch will not turn off the unit when it is powered through the USB port.
Operating the Vase Dazzler is very simple. Clicking the button on the back will cycle through ten different light patterns. Turning the knob adjusts brightness.
The brighter you make it, the shorter your battery life will be. However, even at low levels of brightness this project can easily be seen in normal indoor lighting conditions. In a darkened room even the lowest settings look great.
The light patterns are numbered 0 through 10, where 0 is a special mode that cycles through all of the other modes. When you tap the pushbutton, the mode number briefly displays on the LEDs as a count of LEDS. For example, mode 1 will light 1 LED, mode 2 will light 2 LEDs, etc. This gives you an idea of what mode you're on if you can see the LEDs.
The modes are:
- Mode 0: This is the mode on power boot, it is a demonstration of the other modes. Cycles through the other 10 modes one by one, each one five seconds long.
- Mode 1: cycles through "rainbow colors", all the colors of the rainbow.
- Mode 2: cycles through "lava colors" which is reds, yellows, white
- Mode 3: this is rainbow colors but with black stripes in between to make it look like its flashing
- Mode 4: "Valentine mode" cycles through pinks, reds, and purples.
- Mode 5: "Ocean colors" mode, gives you greens, blues, white.
- Mode 6: "Cloud colors" cycles through blues and whites
- Mode 7: "Party colors" cycles through red, blue, yellow, purple.
- Mode 8: "Flame flicker" mode simulates a candle flame, it's mostly shades of yellow and will flicker from time to time.
- Mode 9: "Forest colors" is mostly greens, browns, and greys.
- Mode 10: "Heat colors" cycles through colors in order of black body radiation sequence. (I.e., red hot, white hot, yellow hot.)
Extending the Control Program
The control program uses the FASTLED library and there is a great deal of tutorial information and example programs with that package. For more information see The FASTLED Library Project Website
The Vorpal Vase Dazzler is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike International 4.0 license.