Circuit sculpture specialist Mohit Bhoite is back with a new creation, this time turning his freeform 3D circuit-bending talents towards creating a compact volume unit (VU) meter using an LED bar graph and the LM3915 display driver.
Mohit Bhoite's circuits aren't like most: Rather than using a flat printed circuit board, they use solid copper wire links to act as both traces and structure — creating free-standing sculptures in which the components seem to float in mid-air. Previous designs have included a desk assistant powered by a Particle Photon microcontroller board which later received a servo upgrade and a live-view audio spectrum analyzer — the latter providing inspiration for his latest creation, a more compact VU meter.
Designed around a color bar graph LED display at the front, with full-size current-limiting resistors, the sculpture uses 20AWG copper wire to hold its components above a 0.25in walnut base. A microphone at the rear is connected to a Texas Instruments LM386 low-voltage audio amplifier, which in turn feeds an LM3915 dot/bar display driver to turn the incoming audio into a live VU display.
The VU meter is one of many of Bhoite's freeform circuit sculpture designs, but the engineer has advice for anyone looking to replicate his creations: "Remember to build this circuit on a breadboard," he warns, "before attempting to freeform it!"