Fiber Optic Boombox Powered by Circuit Playground!

Thanks for sending this in Derrik! Check out Derrik’s blog where he details the custom boombox he made for his wife here!

writing a little after the fact here, but i recently built my wife her 9th anniversary gift. I know that she likes sparkly things, music, unexpected gifts. so I tried to do what I could to combine these aspects to win this year
so I knew for a while she wanted a bluetooth speaker but would never buy one for herself, its too expensive, I’m the tech guy etc. I also know she likes retro sort of things, so it had to look like a tape playing boom box in my mind.

so armed with this I started secretly working on it whenever she would work late or be gone with a friend. being sure to check the mail myself for any parts I had ordered
I figured it needed to light up in some cool ways, and looked around my things until I remembered I had a bundle of fiber optics from a lamp I bought when I was 15 PERFECT!
but how to light them up and where to put them?

I thought about this for some time and decided that the top panel should have a saying or something that she would like. I used a lifeline and bounced my initial idea off one of her friends. first I had thought of making it say “# TEAM JESS” (she would have liked it) but her friend convinced me to do something more romantic and use our wedding date.
so it was finally settled, to be “D&J 3-15-08” that’s 10 characters to be lit up by…something and it can’t just be an on/off situation, that’s not fancy
the next time I was at Radioshack (prior t the mass store closings) I saw the perfect thing for the job; the Adafruit circuit playground. it has 10 RGB addressable leds and a handful of sensors including a microphone! more on this later

once I had the main box built of 1/4 inch MDF, I taped down a thin layer of black polystyrene to the lid and a nice font of “D&J 3-15-08″ that looked like a good size. I had planned on building a small drill press to aid in making the holes but settled for a pin vice in a hand drill. it only took me about 3 hours to drill the 450 odd holes each about .025” diameter a bit bigger than the fibers themselves. once all the holes were finally done, I cut out the section of MDF around the letters to just leave the top polystyrene to glue the fibers onto….. the fibers.. took a LONG time to do. a few things to my advantage were 1, the decision to use UV “insta fix” glue and the fact that I could just hold the fiber to a backing plate and then glue and set it nearly instantly. if this were done with regular glue i would not have been able to finish, I would have given up. it worked very well for the job I had, many people don’t like it but in the right places it’s a great option.

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