Triangular Bipyramidal Ether Light

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Project Name TBE light
Contact User:Hafnium
Status in progress
Budget 7100
Fabric Length (meter)

Prototype 2 with string LED and nylon thread

Crystal shaped lamps on a pole with RGBW leds. The general idea is that they will be on top of scaffolding poles and be visible from a decent distance. We will fabricate 10 units first, and see how it goes from there.

Source files:

The idea came from planning and prototyping the Light_Pillars project, we gathered experience from hackers that had experience with Ohm lights and got the inspiration to continue with the same vibe as the Crystals project.


Main contributors for this project are:

  • Hafnium: Initiator, project lead, management&logistics, finance&documentation, holding everything and everyone together, working two jobs and still takes on more whenever an idea is shiny and sparkles a lot; also prototyping and production and everything else, currently single-handedly leading assembly and deployment on-site
  • Oliver Taubenheim: Concept and mechanical design, CAD modelling, prototyping, production, also laser cutter technician. Can't resist sparkles either
  • Richard Graham: PCB design, making the initial blob of dev-boards into a lean and feature-rich custom board beyond all expectations.

A big thanks to all contributors that helped during the prototyping of this project.


Current progress: Getting Ethernet to work with an ESP32 board running WLED and designing lower half of light

  • 2022-04-06: Killed Light_Pillars project and sketching for prototyping
  • 2022-04-07: Prototype zero created
  • 2022-05-01: Prototype 1 up and running
  • 2022-05-13: Name change from Crystal Octahedron to Triangular Bipyramidal Ether Light (TBE light)
  • 2022-06-06: Prototype 2 ready after a lot of modifications
  • 2022-06-28: PCB ordered
  • 2022-07-07: First PCB assembled
  • 2022-07-08: Test PCB with stem


  • Iterate over prototype with acrylic plates. Do more iterations
  • Create CAD file. Reiterate CAD model for fixing minor stuff and create bottom half of crystal
  • Apply di chroic film to acrylic plates. It looks pretty cool
  • Add budget Mostly done
  • Fabricate
  • Software development. Slightly modified version of WLED
    • Get Ethernet version working Works
  • Write assembly guide for angels
  • Find a solution for better light dispersion
  • Order custom PCB and assemble


  • We aim to make them more suitable for transportation.
    • Its part of the design now and the aim is to fit them in euro crates.
  • We are looking into using PoE.
    • Other things are more prioritized now, we will wait to look into PoE support for hardware and software.
  • Custom PCB for ESP, LED and power
    • Custom PCB are being designed


We will do 30 units

BOM for 10 units
Product Amount Amount/unit Total (EUR) Seller Note
4 Watt Chainable RGBW NeoPixel LED - Warm White - ~3000K 20 2 206.33 Seller: Adafruit (US) Tax not included in listing price, will be calculated at checkout
Adhesive Di Chroic film 500 mm x 15000 mm 120.65 Seller: Aliexpress (China)
Adhesive one way mirror film 500 mm x 5000 mm 16.63 Seller: Aliexpress (China)
3mm x 1000 mm x 600 mm acrylic plate 5 1/2 79 Seller: Interglas (Denmark)
8mm x 1000 mm x 600 mm acrylic plate 1 1/10 64.5 Seller: Interglas (Denmark)
100W 12V Switching PSU 2 1/5 50.52 From Aliexpress 5 units per PSU.
5.5x2.1 mm DC plug cable 10 1 20 From Aliexpress
Custom PCB controller board 10 1
Euro create and waterproof boxes 55.1 From Bauhaus
Scaffolding poles 10 1 Rented from Boels
3 pin JST connectors 12.38 From Aliexpress
Cable stuff 42.64 From Aliexpress
String led 25 m 2.5 m 69.23 From Aliexpress
Ethernet cables 1000 m 100 m

Note: None of these products are sponsored, links are left for future makers to get started easier.

The most expensive part a unit is the acrylic plates. It will be calculated someday how much material is used on one unit.

310.32 EUR was spent on prototyping the Light_Pillars project, which have been carried over to this project.

Design Goals

Current list of components

  • 2x 4W 5V WS2812 LED
  • 1x 12V 15W power supply or PoE splitter 12V 15W
  • 1x PCB with ESP32 as controller
  • Di Chroic film
  • Acrylic plates
  • Zip ties
  • Use Ethernet version of WLED

Prototype list of components

  • 2x 4W 5V WS2812 LED
  • 1x 5V 2.4A power supply
  • 1x ESP32 microcontroller
  • Di Chroic film
  • Acrylic plates
  • Zip ties
  • Be able to use Ethernet version of WLED
Structural requirements
What Discussion. Why? Why not? How? Submitted by
Survive 20 days of rain It's July in the Netherlands. It rains. Hafnium
Survive heat wave We've had days of 40+ weather. Black things get hot Hafnium
Some way to store them We'd like to re-use them Hafnium
Single event use If we don't intend to re-use, the components should be reusable Hafnium
Re-usable for X years Components should be easy to fix / replace. Storage and documentation becomes an issue Hafnium

PCB design

Improvements to future designs:

  • In-built 12V to 5V voltage regulator
  • Flash firmware from micro-USB port
  • Ethernet fix works in Rev1.1. It was manually fixed in Rev1.0


Ethernet PHY: LAN8720

Predefined board type: ESP32Deux / ESP3DEUXQuattro

The GPIO configuration from wled_ethernet.h:

// ESP3DEUXQuattro
	1, // eth_address,
	-1, // eth_power,
	23, // eth_mdc,
	18, // eth_mdio,
	ETH_PHY_LAN8720, // eth_type,
	ETH_CLOCK_GPIO17_OUT // eth_clk_mode

Flashing firmware

Collect the binary:

The current version of the board need a USB to UART bridge (FTDI adapter) like the Silicon Labs CP2104 to program the ESP-WROOM-32D chip. The micro-USB port is for 5V power only

How to flash:

  1. Turn off board
  2. Connect FTDI adapter to programming pins on the right side of the ESP chip
  3. GPIO0 needs to be connected to ground, this can be done by pressing the SW2 button.
  4. Flash

Also note that WLED supports OTA updates, so you don't need to physically connect to the board every time.

Power requirements

30 units in groups of 5

One unit: max 12 watt

Power options:

  • 12V 1A with 5.5x2.1 mm DC connector
    • 12V 100W PSU to power 5 units
  • 5V 2.4A with micro USB cable
  • POE splitter: 12V 1.3A and Ethernet or 5V 2.4A and Ethernet


All units will use PoE splitter for power and Ethernet, spare DC cables and PSU's exists

  • Ethernet PHY: LAN8720
  • Bandwidth: 100 MB/s
  • PoE splitter, IEEE802.3af/at: 12V 1.25A = 15W


Howto: Angels

  • Shell assembly: 2-3 angles for 3 hours. No prior knowledge required 😎
  • Electronics assembly: 2 angels for 3 hours. Soldering knowledge required 💡⚡️, will also flash software
  • Boring holes/install poles: 2 angels for 4 hours? (I got no idea of the time budget in this one). Need at least one person with knowledge of holding a power tool in their hand ✋🔧
  • Installation: Needs poles installed first. 3 angels for 5 hours. No prior knowledge required. Installation requires coordination with NOC and Power team, so will take quite a while to do.

Howto: Manufacture

  • Take a 3 mm acrylic plate
  • Apply di-chroic film with soap water on film and plate
  • Laser cut acrylic plates according to CAD model
  • Repeat...

Howto: Buildup


  • Bind together plates A,B for the top pyramid with zip ties from the inside (engraved side)
  • Bind together plates a,b,c for the bottom pyramid
  • connect bottom pyramid to the AB top part
  • attach cable to brain stem
  • Insert brain stem
  • close off with part C


  • Dig hole for scaffolding poles
  • Zip tie light to pole
  • Connect to power supply

Enable Ethernet:

  • Flash ESP32 Ethernet version
  • ESP board will open WiFi access point called WLED-AP, with password WLED1234
  • Open [1](
  • Go to WiFi settings
  • Select Ethernet board type: ESP32Deux
  • Reboot ESP board

Howto: Teardown

  • ToDo


Will arrive in euro crates early at buildup ready to be assembled like building blocks