Honeycomb Array

(10, 2015)


Honeycomb Array is an interactive sculpture built from surplus PCBs and CNC-milled hard maple. Ten LEDs, one for each hexagonal cell, flash in decorative patterns, execute cellular automata, and display the time from an RTC. An ambient light sensor allows these LEDs to dynamically adjust their brightness, while two concealed tactile sensors allow for configuration and a piezo buzzer provides feedback.


I started the sculpture by photographing the hexagonal boards and experimenting with different configurations. I then designed the wooden base in Autodesk Fusion and rendered concept art in Blender. Once I had settled on a design, I created a CAM tool path and cut out the base and stand, first in plywood then in maple. Once this was done, I sanded and coated the wood with polyurethane to protect it and give it a glossy finish. In the mean time, I worked on reverse-engineering the PCBs to access the LEDs and sensors within them. I carefully soldered 30-gauge wire to traces on the boards, then mounded each one to the base using standoffs. These were routed to an Adafruit Boarduino micro controller. A MOSFET was installed in series with the common cathode to allow easy brightness modulation. The Boarduino was also connected to an RTC module for timekeeping.

All in all, I am pleased with how this sculpture came out, and am particularly proud of the professional level of craftsmanship.