These NanoLeaf-Inspired Modular Lights Can Team Up to Create a Wall-Mounted Four-Digit Display

Built using a 3D-printed framework and an Espressif ESP32, this modular lighting system can double as a display.

Semi-pseudonymous YouTuber Reda, of Projects with Red, has put together a tutorial on building Arduino-powered wireless, modular, RGB LED lighting systems based on a 3D-printed framework — and capable of being assembled into nearly any shape, including seven-segment displays.

"I made a modular NanoLeaf[-inspired] light that not only allows you to make any shape you want," Reda explains of the project, "but you can also use the same modular segments to create a 4-digit display which can be used to display the time, temperature, humidity, or pretty much anything you want. All for a cheap and affordable price!"

The heart of the system is an Arduino-compatible Espressif ESP32 microcontroller, connected to a WS2811 RGB LED strip. A 3D-printed framework puts the LED behind an acrylic sheet to hide the components and diffuse the light — though, in Reda's case, assembly took a while. "Its not laser-cut," Reda explains. "I painfully used a scroll-saw to carefully cut each piece, which was not enjoyable at all."

This NanoLeaf-inspired lighting project can be arranged as a functional four-digit display. (📹: Projects with Red)

In its basic form, the project allows almost any number of gem-shaped modules to be connected in almost any shape and controlled from a central point. As an alternative, Reda has also written code that turns 28 of the modules into a four-digit seven-segment numerical display — and which can show the time or pull data from an optional environmental sensor to show temperature and humidity data instead.

Source code and design files for the project are available on Reda's GitHub repository under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license, while a walk-through has been published to the Projects with Red YouTube channel.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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