Project Updates

In a previous post I described artist Peter Hazel‘s new plan to create a a 20-foot Mako shark, made from fused glass plates mounted to a brushed-steel exoskeleton, for Burning Man 2022.

That’s still the plan, but now Peter has added a couple more projects for this year. The first is really just a renovation. For Burning Man 2015 he built a 24 foot tall, fused glass and steel Manta ray called Fly By. It has been exhibited in several locations and currently resides in Nipton, CA, at the northeastern edge of the Mojave Desert (long story why it’s there…) Due to all the moves and weather exposure, the original LED lighting system (not mine) has been damaged beyond repair, and Peter has asked me to design a replacement lighting system.

This is a pretty fast-track project (~6 weeks), but I’ll try to find time to write some posts describing the design and implementation details. At a high level, it will use the FLiCr board as a master controller, which will also drive 3 or 4 WS2815 LED strips in the body. Two SLiC (secondary controller) boards will drive 5 or 6 LED strips in each of the wings. The total LED (pixel) count will be about 1900.

The second additional project is a compete rebuild of a huge sculpture that Peter built for Burning Man 2017 and 2018. Bloom is a 40-foot tall jellyfish made from 1600 glass bowls handcrafted using recycled liquor bottles. It’s been in storage since then, and many of the parts (both the artwork and the lighting) are missing or damaged. The sculpture itself can be repaired, but as with Fly By, the lighting system will be a completely new design/build.

Bloom will be a good test of how the FLiCr/SliC design can scale up to something really huge, incorporating both LED strips and RGBW flood lights.

For both the Fly By and Bloom projects, I’ve spent a lot of time researching materials and techniques for weatherproofing the electronics, LEDs, and wiring. Water from rain, snow, or just condensation is an obvious concern, but given the desert locations, ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from the Sun is also a major consideration. In my future posts on these projects I’ll describe my proposed solutions.

OK, gotta run. Stay tuned for more posts on these projects (and some others that I haven’t mentioned yet).

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3 thoughts on “Project Updates

  1. I’m enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to seeing these art pieces at Burning Man this year. If I remember right you’re working in Reno and it might be possible that I could come out and volunteer for a week to help with refurbishing these projects.
    – Daniel aka Red Beard


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