Tron Inspired LED Desk Lighting

Reddit user [barbarisch] thought his computer desk was a bit boring, so he came up with a cool project to spice it up: A Tron-inspired computer desk with embedded LED strips!

[Barbarisch] took a basic desk and replaced the tops with ¾” oak plywood. The LED routes were planned out on the computer first and then marked out on the plywood. Using straightedges, [barbarisch] carefully used a router to create the straight grooves and then he created a jig for doing the circles. A bit of trimming and sanding and the three pieces of the desk match up.

After painting the desk, it was time to take a crack at the LEDs. Originally, [barbarisch] thought about 3D printing some diffusers to cover the individual WS2812B lights, but it wasn’t coming out to his liking, so diffusers have been put on the back-burner for now. Holes were drilled in the desk so that connections could be made between the different parts of the grooves and soldering was done between bits of the strips when turning corners. The whole thing’s being controlled by a Raspberry Pi and a Fadecandy USB controller for RGB strips. [Barbarisch] modified a Pi case so that the Fadecandy board would fit as well as printing out a bracket to mount the hardware under the desk.

A fun project to update that boring computer desk and to help you out, the python code which communicates with the Fadecandy server has been put up on GitHub. From the Reddit discussion, it looks like [barbarisch] might have found a solution for diffusing the LEDs! If it’s an LED desk you’re interested in, though, we’ve seen interactive LED tables and Mega LED desks before!

via Reddit

26 thoughts on “Tron Inspired LED Desk Lighting

    1. Regarding use, is it really practical to have light from your desktop/workspace shine in your eyes constantly? Or blink underneath you causing distraction. Though it can always be turned of if desired. I imagine it will turn on if the screensaver on the computer kicks in.

      I also worry a little about getting dust/debris/breadcrums/pieces of wire from soldering tasks/etc get trapped into the LED slots of the desk. But that could be fixed with a plate of plexiglass or filling with transparent resin. The defuser strips (as mentioned) will solve that problem too.

      Anyway practical or not, this does look cool and is very nicely done. Cool desk.

  1. When I saw that the desktop was a piece of plywood I immediately thought that the LEDs would be under one thin layer of ply. That way they would be invisible until illuminated. I’m sure I’ve seen clocks done in a similar way. It would be great if this could scale up to a while desk.

  2. Love the project, so much so I would even consider replicating it. But I would make a few changes:
    1. Use MDF instead of plywood for a smoother surface. If it needed additional strength, it can be braced from underneath.
    2. I would have covered the whole desk in smoked glass. It would give a nice smooth surface (need a mousepad though) and protect the LED strips.

    Overall a great project.

  3. “After painting the desk, it was time to take a crack at the LEDs. Originally, [barbarisch] thought about 3D printing some diffusers to cover the individual WS2812B lights, but it wasn’t coming out to his liking, so diffusers have been put on the back-burner for now.”

    Try using a privacy window film.

    https://www.amazon.com/Coavas-Adhesive-Frosted-Suitable-17-7by78-7/dp/B00XHXU7PU/ref=lp_9197808011_1_1?srs=9197808011&ie=UTF8&qid=1525265828&sr=8-1

    1. I also found that very good and cheap way to mask 7segment displays and LEDs is self-adhesive foil used for car window tinting. But that “privacy window film” also could be a good idea, thanks for the tip.

  4. I know my employer has a number of safeguards built into their Internet access, but instead of a video, I got.

    Media error: Format(s) not supported or source(s) not found

  5. You can buy LED-strip channel pretty cheaply online; it’s lengths of aluminium extrusion to hold the LEDs, with a click-in plastic diffuser strip so it looks pretty. Comes in a bunch of different profiles, widths, corner/flat, etc. Great for installing under-bench lighting and all that jazz.

    Search for “LED channel” on eBay for a start.

  6. The aesthetic is nice, big fan of the original film but…

    Dislike the row-of-dots look that LED strips give, maybe EL wire would be more my taste. Even with a diffuser over LEDs the intensity would be uneven. Perhaps two strips staggered plus diffuser would do it.

    Daytime running lights on cars give me the same ‘meh’ feeling,

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