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IJW's Aristeia! Board (with LEDs and Pi)

Discussion in 'Scenery' started by ijw, May 17, 2019.

  1. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Last year I started a custom Aristeia! board, and slowly worked towards a fully working colour-changing monstrosity.

    The first step (before even planning the board) was making some walls and obstacles.

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    After some quick tests with pipes and a jungle Paradiso feel, I ended up planning hexagonal obstacles, because hexagons. Blu-tacked together:

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    These ended up being made from five 'layers':
    Magnetic sheet on the bottom,
    30mm thin MDF hexagon,
    Plastic till roll cut down to half-length,
    A second 30mm hexagon,
    A 20mm hexagon on the top.

    There was also some foamed PVC to fill the gaps for the multi-hex walls.

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  2. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    These were then undercoated dark grey and airbrushed up to a paler grey:

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    As they were very grey, I decided to liven them up with some printed adverts. First a test:

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    Then proper photo paper:

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    Most of the images came from the A! website, plus I used the team logos that people had designed (with permission).
     
  3. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Then a detour, a customised interior for the A! box:

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    jherazob, volgo, coleslaw and 2 others like this.
  4. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Obstacles, with almost identical production methods:
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    We then used the A! arena as part of an infinity table with some success, followed by making some dedicated side panels.

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    xagroth, jherazob, volgo and 4 others like this.
  5. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    I then started mocking up a 3D control panel and double-sided scoreboard:

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    jherazob, volgo, Section9 and 2 others like this.
  6. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    With Aristo logo stickers:

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    While at the 2018 Interplanetario I picked up a Customeeple MDF and translucent acrylic board, with the idea of adding some coloured lights under the scoring zones, with a bunch of switches to change the colours:

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    Then the real breakthrough - the local Lidl had a cheap RGB LED lightstrip, which could be cut into smaller sections. Something like this:

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  7. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    A short section of LED strip held in place under one of the translucent scoring zones:

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    Space Ranger, jherazob, volgo and 4 others like this.
  8. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Then I added a Raspberry Pi and it all started getting a bit ambitious...

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  9. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    This project looks very cool!
     
    ijw likes this.
  10. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    I then spent a couple of weeks learning how to program a Raspberry Pi, and, realising that it could be used as a WIFI hub and a web server at the same time, decided that a set of physical switches wasn't actually needed...

    A tablet logged on to the WIFI hub in the Pi, accessing a web page run on the Pi!

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    jherazob, volgo, Section9 and 3 others like this.
  11. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Thanks!

    Then came the sparky bit. As the Pi itself can't cope with the electrical load of seven segments of LED strip, I needed to add a whole bunch of MOSFET transistors so that the low power outputs on the Pi could control the high power circuits for the LEDs - bear in mind that each zone has a strip of 'nine' RGB LEDs, each of which is effectively 3 LEDs - so in total each zone has 27 LEDs in it, with a relatively hefty power draw.

    Which meant it was time to practice electrical soldering, because electronics at school was back in the Eighties and I was a bit rusty...

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    jherazob, volgo, Section9 and 2 others like this.
  12. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Then a slight detour from the electronics - a game being played with all the finished walls and obstacles, and starting to work out how to make the board segments fit together - it would need to come apart for transport.

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  13. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    For testing purposes, I loosely put the LED strips into some cardboard pots and manually positioned them so that the MDF board could be placed on top:

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    jherazob, volgo, Section9 and 3 others like this.
  14. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    The board segments were then magnetised, which worked pretty well, and even more magnets were added to the occupied spaces and to the walls, taking the project so far up to around a hundred 3x2mm magnets:

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  15. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Then it was testing time. I'd spent even more time programming the Pi, and adding a nifty 3D interface using 3D CSS transforms.

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  16. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    I then tried a few different ways of inking the translucent acrylic zones, so that the numbers would be visible. In the end I ended up using capillary action to spread VMA Black through the engraved lines, then using a fingernail to scrape off any excess. The first attempt used some quickshade but it wasn't dense enough.

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  17. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Then it was painting time. I was planning to use an airbrush for the main coverage but was worried that it wouldn't reach into the engraved lines, so painted them in first. This was after painting on a thin coat of varnish to help seal the MDF and give a better finish for painting.

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    Once the main shading was done, I added lots of texture and hints of colour with a sponge (hints of many different colours!):

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    jherazob, volgo, Section9 and 3 others like this.
  18. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    I then slowly started painting the board edges and occupied spaces black, and also realised that the hexes weren't distinct enough, so ended up taking a fine-tipped marker and drawing over all the lines with a ruler. A pain in the neck, but worth it in the end.

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  19. ijw

    ijw Wargaming Trader, Freelance Editor (UK)
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    Finishing touches included oil leaks, blood splatter and assorted lights.

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  20. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    absolutely superb!
     
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