[Matt’s] Bubble Display Updated

[Matt] emailed in to show us how he has improved his bubble display since the last time we saw it. If you recall from last time, he was having issues with the air pressure dropping when multiple bubbles were released, resulting in smaller bubbles. This time around, he has added an aesthetically pleasing air reservoir to help ensure that his bubbles don’t vary too much. There really wasn’t a reason to use two containers for the reservoir, aside from the fact it is what he had on hand. He has also torn part the part of the display that houses the oil, replacing it with individual tubes for each vertical segment. This makes it easier to regulate the speed of the bubbles, as he found they travel at a constant rate if they are in contact with the edges of the tube.

One downfall of using the vinyl tubes is the fact that it comes in a giant roll. This leaves the tube wanting to curl. To get around this, he stretched it on a wooden dowel and heated it with a heat gun till it relaxed. Using clear PVC or acrylic tubing would be an alternative but would be more expensive.

14 thoughts on “[Matt’s] Bubble Display Updated

  1. ok now light the tubes with RGB leds. so the bubble reflects the light. and you just made a new way to play rock band.

    if you had 8 bars. with rgb leds so the color of the tube tells you what octive/note to play. no insed of learning by sheet music you can just have the notes scroll up this. i love it.

      1. my original idea was different than the one posted… because i don’t think its possible. so you have it scrolling the bubbles up to a “hit zone” were you play the note, if you get the note right it will pop the bubble. than i realized how do you pop a bubble under water.

        but kids are starting to like video games and stuff that remind them of video games, so insted of having only 5 buttons you have lets say 8 octivs of 8 notes… so you can actually learn real music on real instruments. and than you just thought your kid real music while they think they are playing a game

    1. you could “pop the bubbles” have a pop zone with an air escape controlled by a solenoid that opens and lets the buble of air out. The oil from above would then fall back down and fill in the gap. the only problem is any bubbles above this zone would be affected by dropping and maybe even have some effect on the ones right below it.

      1. I like this idea, instead of pumping plain old boring air into the bubbles, I could switch it over to a propane/air mix and then have pilot lights at the top to light the bubbles as the reach the top. The individual pilot lights would only pop the bubble if the user was pressing the button at the right time.

        1. the only problem is if they are like me and don’t hit many you are potentially building up an atmosphere of propane, for when they do hit one, the room goes up in flames.

        1. well that gave me a laugh… that would be the best way to teach your kids to play. just put as much pressure on them as possible.

          Althoe… it could be fun to try. it would get me playing better real quick.

  2. Uplifting!

    I see a slight problem that when a bubble is released into a column, it shifts all the other bubbles in the column up a touch. This would cause them to be out of alignment as they got higher. I wonder if there is a solution to this. The only thing I can think of off hand would be an “OR” valve that rather releases oil OR air in the same volume so that the other columns would get displaced too.

    Cool job though. I’ve got an idea for some solenoids and helium filled balloons if I can just get it off the ground.

    1. Trav, you are absolutely right about new bubbles shifting up all the other bubbles in the tube and that causing distortion. The “OR” valve would probably work, but making it work practically is a bit of a challenge. To get around the problem, I have the software account for the shifting and spit out the bubbles in such a way that they all line up after its done printing

  3. My local science museum (St.. Paul, mn) had a 3-4 story version if this in their lobby when I was there a few years back, it looked like it used 4″ clear tubes with mineral oil, controlled via laptop. It was a great looking instaliation. (currently looking for link)

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