Backyard LED Sculpture Inspired By Las Vegas Sphere

The Las Vegas Sphere is a large building. It stands 112 meters high and 157 meters wide, and is covered in a full 54,000 square meters of LED displays. That’s a little difficult to recreate at home for the typical maker. A scaled-down version is altogether more achievable though, as demonstrated by [DrZzs & GrZzs].

The Pixelhead Megasphere, as it is known, is 1.98 meters high and 2.4 meters in diameter. That makes it altogether easier to fit in an average backyard, and it comes with a much smaller pricetag than the $2 billion used to build the Las Vegas Sphere. It runs 20,028 individual addressable LED pixels, and runs on four 12-volt 100-amp power supplies. As seen here, it’s only running at 15%, so it can go plenty brighter to really get those power supplies toasty. The sphere is controlled by Xlights, with the LEDs interfaced via Kulp controller boards. It’s able to run a variety of different animations at a good frame rate, with [DrZzs & GrZzs] busy whipping up different designs for Halloween. The eye of Sauron is a particularly nice example.

We’ve seen some other neat LED spheres before, too. Video after the break.

17 thoughts on “Backyard LED Sculpture Inspired By Las Vegas Sphere

    1. It’s kind of like asking how much did money you put into renovating that car. It’s not a question you ask. However I can tell you that the cost is almost complete in the LEDs. The frame was CNCed out of plywood. The cost there is pretty minimal compared to the cost of the LEDs.


    2. 20,028 ws2811 pixels and Kulp controller boards is the answer.

      The prime factors of 20,028 are 2x2x3x1669. This could suggest that they are using 12 strings of ws2811 1669 pixels driven by three 4 port Smart Receiver (v2) (3 x $30) operated by any Kulp controller with at least three outputs (~$150 to $300).

      All ports can be configured to output as many pixels as the ws281x spec allows
      The ws281x LED protocol runs at a fix rate of 800kHz. Or each pixel in the string takes 30µs to update.
      So with a string of 1669 pixels could update in 50070µs, or ~19.97 updates per pixel per second.

      At about 60 ws2811 pixels per meter, for 20,028 leds, you are talking about 334 meters (~1096 ft) in total and that will dwarf the cost of everything else.

  1. I think the black hole in the orange is probably supposed to look like the eye-thing in LotR.
    Maybe my brain was damaged by the late 90s internet, but to me it just reminds me too much of a certain goatse :-/

    I’d focus more on the other more harmless animations.

  2. So, a 2.4m sphere has a surface area of about 18 million mm^2, but ballpark, only 80% of that is covered, so about 15 million mm^2 is covered by ~20,000 LEDs, for about 725mm^2 per pixel, or about 27x27mm each. It would be nice to see something of its structure, like is it open-frame, or what, and is there any sort of diffusion?

    1. No. There is no diffusion. It is just straight PIXEL leds. There are other videos that we have made on the channel that show some of the core of the machine. We are working on getting a detailed DIY/Engineering video on it as well as a more fluffy style video.

      However, you can see one of the videos that shows the skeleton of it. It is made of CNC routed plywood. There are 18 vertical supports and 4 (or maybe 5) horizontal rings that hold everything together. The frame has interlocking grooves for most of the pieces, but are glued and nailed together. The frame was painted black to protect it from the weather, but also hide the interior.

      If you have more questions reach out to us on the video comments.

  3. OMG, now that’s amazing. I wonder how much they spent on LEDs. How do they hold it together? It looks like somebody could get inside, and wear it on their shoulders (if it wasn’t too heavy). You can have some fun with this. Hmmmm….???? Pornos?

    1. Some of the other videos on the channel will answer some of your questions regarding the frame. Just search Drzzs and Grzzs Sphere on Youtube. You will be able to see a couple of video regarding this topic.

      You can fit inside it. Most of the cabling and wiring is moved outside of it for ease of access.

      Ignoring porno comment.

  4. adding some details here
    this is 20028 pixels
    77 layers of pixel strip
    29 ports on a kulplights k32 pixel controller
    using hp server power supplies
    custom 3D xlights model
    xlights and falcon pi player driving it
    there are 700 pixels per port and as of now no power injections
    running at 15% brightness

    it does appear it needs power injection
    but thats a easy fix

    great job to the Pixelheads GrZz’s
    and Dr.Zzs

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