NeoPixel Assisted String Art Weaving

a semi-automatic method

One interesting form of string art starts from a circular or square canvas with nails on its perimeter. The strings/yarns are only wound around nails on the perimeter. The repeated straight lines can sketch out a portrait nicely(link to Petros Vrellis).

Here are bunch of other examples on Hackaday.

This is a cool algorithm implemented in Processing language (github link). Basically, you input an image, the program will output a list of sequential nail locations that the string needs to traverse, which is also called a weaving pattern.

(Additional Hough transformation may reduce the thread count, to be explored https://rosettacode.org/wiki/Hough_transform#J)

Interestingly computational machinery and the idea of programming came from weaving (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itd-4lMoXgI). A nice loop back (pun intended).

Unless you have built a machine to automate weaving, the usual approach is to print out that numbers list and manually wind the string/yarn through the nails one by one, for thousands of times, in order to complete the art work.

Let me introduce a semi-automatic way for weaving. The idea is that instead of reading from a sheet of numbers, finding the nails and winding the string through. A program reads that number sheet and lights up LEDs in sequence. You simply follow the LEDs to find out where the next nail locations are.

144 NeoPixel for semi-automatic string art canvas

The hardware to implement this is minimal:

That 144 NeoPixel string has LEDs 7mm apart. You can cut it into four pieces. And with some wire soldering, you can make a frame of 36 LEDs along each side of a 9.6" square canvas.

I used RED, GREEN and BLUE to indicate a single weaving action. RED is the previous end-point, thus the starting point. BLUE is the mid-point to traverse, and GREEN is the new end-point. Once it is done, you can step to the next set of tuple of RED, GREEN, BLUE.

Here is the code to drive 144 NeoPixel with a tuple. The next step is to import the number list from the weaving program and step through.

Note that although this is a 144-NeoPixel string, only 3 LEDs are light up at one time, so the USB power is enough to deliver the needed current.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store