This post first appeared on Patreon.
There’s a triple-point energy to working on something out at the edge of your abilities. Enumerated alongside the possibilities for failure are visions of the finished piece, installed and gloriously humming along, that make the long nights ahead less intimidating.
In late October of 2018, I began the CAD for such a project. Telapush had just closed our largest deal to date. We were to contracted to build a massive illuminated sign that would map social media interactions to custom animations to be displayed in real time. The piece was to run, un-attended for the entire month of December in the Center Court of the Prudential Center mall, inside of Boston’s most distinctive skyscraper.
Erin and I had been pouring effort into Telapush for some time, and this installation was to be the largest tangible result from that effort. Serious people spending real money and expecting actual results. Boston was my new home and I felt that this project was my chance to make a good first impression to this new and intimidating place. This heightened importance, paired with the reverence for the challenge, coaxed out some good engineering; the project was a rousing success. More details about this installation can be found in my portfolio entry on the project.
Luckily, one element of the installation that I was able to retain possession of after the installation concluded was the LED matrix. An overwhelming array of 1215 addressable LEDs, and a 100W power supply to drive them.
Still brimming with usefulness, and valuable as a totem commemorating the successful project, the light bar was filed into storage. Unfortunately, I lacked the bandwidth and inspiration to pick it back up. In the past few months however, on quiet nights, I could hear it calling out to me from the crawlspace, pleading to be reanimated. And after a few years of rest, this post describes how this favorite project is given a new lease on life to enhance my 3D printing workflow.