This animated LED buckyball has little to do with modeling a carbon molecule but a lot to do with adding some excitement to your party decor. [Tim] felt that the LED cube hacks had run their course, so took on the challenge of a sphere made out of pentagonal and hexagonal components instead.
As with many LED projects, finding a good diffuser is paramount. [Tim] decided to go with hot glue sticks, which do a great job of both diffusing, and piping the light from RGB LEDs. The unintended consequence of this choice is that the shape sags under the weight of 90 glue cylinders.
At the end of each glue segment you’ll find a tiny surface-mount RGB LED and controller combo. This is [Tim's] own design and in bulk it gets the cost of each node down to about one dollar. With the help of a soccer ball as an assembly jig he finished off the construction and wrote some code to produce the eye-pleasing animations seen after the break.