Driving P5 Panels With A Raspberry Pi

Building displays out of LEDs can be fun, but quickly becomes tedious as the pixel count increases. At this point, it’s worthwhile investing in off-the-shelf panels that have everything pre-soldered and ready to go. [Tom Hammond] wanted to run a P5 panel, and put a Raspberry Pi to work to get it going.

P5 panels are so-called for their 5 mm spacing between LEDs. The panels in question are built with RGB LEDs, allowing full-color graphics to be displayed. In this build, a 64 x 32 panel is used for a total of 2048 pixels. A Raspberry Pi Zero runs the display, using its GPIO to clock out pixel data. Software designed for Christmas light displays is used to program the light show, with xLights being the choice in this case. It’s all wrapped up in a tidy 3D printed frame, and the final product looks remarkably well put together.

It’s a great way to get familiar with P5 panels, and an excellent starting point if you’re contemplating a larger build down the track. If you’re going all out, consider how to make the most of your install from an architectural perspective. Video after the break.

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PocketNC P5 Takes Desktop CNC To The 5th Dimension

What do you get when you put together a husband/wife team of a machinist and mechanical engineer? If you’re [Matt and Michelle Hertel], you get a 5 axis CNC, which we think was one of the hidden gems at Maker Faire NY.

Hobby CNC machines have grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Nearly all these machines have been 3 axis (X,Y,Z). 5 (and more) axis machines have been around for years in the industrial world. These higher level machines never have made the jump to the hobby/home shop world.

The P5’s two extra axis allow for extremely complex parts to be created in one setup. A good example of this would be a turbine wheel. Compound curves on (and behind) each blade would make this an impossible job for a 3 axis CNC. The P5 was machining these parts all weekend at Maker Faire NY. Even more impressive is the fact that it was cutting Delrin, not wax.

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