Spinning ball of LED awesomeness

Take a few moments and watch this 3 axis rotating LED light display fire up.  The final effect of being an RGB glowing ball is nice, but we’re fascinated with the structure. There are tons of great detailed pictures of the assembly on the forum thread to feast your eyes on. Just getting power to the LEDs was a feat, he passes their power through 6 slip contacts. Parts were pulled from an old VCR and some old fans.

[via HackedGadgets]


  1. Tom says:

    That’s simply beautiful… Lovely construction too, so as not to fall apart at those speeds…

  2. Blinded says:

    Almost too much awesomeness. Almost :)

  3. Kris says:

    I wonder if you could get something like this to create a sort of spherical 3D (surface only) display by pulsing the LED’s with the right timing. It might require faster spin-speeds in order to cover all the locations while maintaining POS, but it sure would be cool.

  4. James says:

    I was just thinking this looks like the ultimate POV display possibility…

  5. hubert says:

    Hello, nice construction as i can see on the pictures on laserpoiter forums. But i cannot see the film it is not available in lots of countries (i.e germany9) because the music is copyrighted.
    it would be nice when the film were posted again, without music.

  6. Jonas says:


  7. Carl says:

    Hi, the video is unfortunately blocked in Germany, but there is a simple way around it. Use a free proxy service like “hide my ass” and watch it from there.

  8. asd says:

    This video contains content from WMG and Kontor New Media. It is no longer available in your country. <- Go FUCK yourself WMG…

  9. imagine a mirror-balled covered walled warehouse with several of those LED balls reflecting everywhere.. cause everyone to be mentally abducted legally for one night.

  10. Jake says:

    I wonder if using an inductive powering method (as opposed to slip contacts) would make the construction of something like this a bit easier?

    Better yet, simply power it inductively, and then interface via RF? :D

  11. Chris says:

    I kept waiting for a sphere with a miniature Jodi Foster to drop in from above.

  12. daw says:

    This video contains content from WMG and Kontor New Media. It is no longer available in your country. <– Big thanks. I'm sure that will make me buy your stuff…..

  13. Squirrel says:

    No way I would EVER build something like this. Waaay to distracting, would never get anything else done…

  14. M4CGYV3R says:

    HOLY crap. DO WANT!

    This has to be the coolest most mesmerizing thing I’ve seen on HAD in at least a year.

    I’m quite curious how he got reliable connection between the rings for data and power. I’ve never been able to create anything that strong for rotational power connections, just brushes and metal contacts usually. None of them ever last very long.

    I’m amazed that he’s got it tuned to the point where he can align each LED with an arbitrary axis while the others continue spinning. Just awesome.

  15. jukus says:

    Greater than the sum of its parts all right

  16. kvmanii says:

    I think I just saw god

  17. CG says:

    Awesome. A mechanical liquid raver. I want.

  18. Codewar says:

    Added to X-mas list…

  19. Finger says:

    +1 Chris

  20. Whatnot says:

    Builder’s (carl) link to vid without the audio from comments on hackedgadgets.com

    [video src="http://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk149/FML_01/led%20ball/?action=view&current=SpinningRGBLEDnoaudio.flv" /]

  21. Nomad says:

    This is totally awesome!

    I bet, feeding that thing with some µC which “listens” to music would make it even more awesome. It would be much cooler powering the LEDs with PWM…or even combine an “audio listening” µC and PWM-feeding the LEDs.

  22. Gordo says:

    only 3 leds (autoslapface)

  23. Whatnot says:

    Aye is is genius in its relatively simple (hard to get right though he says) design yet extremely impressive result.

  24. Ben says:

    The music is DJ Tiesto’s remix of of Samuel Barber’s modern classic piece, Adagio for Strings.

  25. nes says:

    Mechanically scanned lissajous figures! Bet it look even more awsum in the flesh.

  26. spiralbrain says:

    Brilliant! haven’t seen something so spectacular in a very long time.

  27. circtuirmage says:

    Freakin awesomesauce.

  28. backSLIDER says:

    Why would he need data? Stop providing power to the um… middle and secondary motor and the three leds would spin on the vertical axis only. I think you could do it with power regulation. I feel like someone with a 3d printer could make a cleaner middle bit but I don’t know that it would look cooler. P.S. That thing rocks!

  29. SOOPERGOOMAN187 says:

    As myself being once a HardCore Raver, I APPROVE!

  30. supershwa says:

    Just had an acid flashback staring at that thing. Look at the pretty colors…

  31. moo says:

    Good thing youtube doesn’t auto replay this or i would be stuck watching this all day. So hypnotic…

  32. Wiljan says:

    Some of the best I have seen for long time :-)

    Great work!!!

  33. fuckWMG says:

    Not available in your Country – Big fuck you to WMG.

    Never buying your shit again.

    Someone please rip it with keepvid.com and upload it on rapidshit.

  34. GIBurrito says:

    After reading the forum this is posted on…

    I would absolutely love to see a PIC and some optical gate sensors (or some other method for timing) added to this to have controllable displays!

  35. gt says:

    so now the most appropriate extension would be to setup color bands to correlate with specific tones think EQ bands and see interference theory for more reference. then tie in the motors to work off of the actual music played into it like, each sound range (highs – mids – lows) feeding the individual axis’ motors.. put a mirrored or stainless hood around it and you have a half sphere/shape (with most music/waves being 12/5 related a pentagon would be a nice style for a hood around the central piece) of pure awesomeness. sell em to night clubs all over to tie in with a music feed like a visual speaker.

    thanks for sharing this.. it is a great piece of electronic art.

  36. DoktorJ says:

    Very cool, but there is no way I’d be sticking my hands into that thing. A 6000 RPM delta can take the tip of your finger off, so I’m pretty sure the added mass of all that wood and metal would be enough to do some serious damage.

  37. jwstolk says:

    Pure awesomeness.

    (but the wooden base is begging to be covered in mirrors)

  38. Kashan Ahmad says:

    Two thumbs up :)
    Love it !!!

  39. alex says:

    He can solder like a maniac! Unbelievably beautiful

  40. mowcius says:

    Insane. That is brilliant. I was wondering about the slip rings. Must have been a bitch!
    Well, just reading the info, looks like it was. I especially like the solder counterbalancing. Often an issue when people try to do something like this, they don’t counterbalance it so it vibrates too much.


  41. Nek Siwel says:

    Is not this the device used to transport oneself to other dimensions in the movie Contact?

  42. Nomad says:

    Yeah i bet that thing could also do something like that if you get it in proper size to run at proper rpm :D

  43. Oliver says:

    This is what I want power sources of the future to look like. They obviously won’t, but, a man can dream.

  44. Hirudinea says:

    Best way to get an epileptic seizure, EVER!

  45. Grayda says:

    Y’know, if something broke on that and shards of material went flying and hit someone in the eye… I’d want one even more!

  46. Jim says:

    Theme music from Homeworld. Took me a few minutes to place it. That was an awesome game.

  47. edward@nardella.ca says:

    Spectacular! I want to see this produced commercially. I could see this being made into a fill 3D display. I remember reading up on true 3D display tech and something like this was postulated but was deemed unfeasible due to various constraints. This seems to have overcome many of them!

    I am all kinds of impressed.

    Also want to see improvements, sensors to allow finely tuned images, more leds all full RGB, semi transparent or mirrored base.

  48. mars says:

    This thing is AWESOME.

  49. strider_mt2k says:

    I also am quite impressed.

    WOW. :o

  50. Coyotecom says:

    Very impressive! By far one of the best light displays I’ve ever seen, on any scale. imagine it being much bigger, every touring band would want one or two on stage.

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