Project Illuminate

CREATE and Project Illuminate

CREATE NSW Inc. is a student-led society of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) focussed on driving the maker movement across campus. By empowering people with opportunities to develop technical skills in design and engineering, CREATE can foster a community of like-minded innovators with over 150 active members.


For the past 4 years, CREATE has built large and interactive light installations for Sydney’s light festival VIVID including; Robotic Pacman, Mondrian Cube, Crystallise and Synergy. Attracting large audiences up to 3 million in 2018, the team continues to strive towards building larger and more dazzling displays to practice and enhance the technical skills of all members involved. As well, each project presents bigger challenges in designing an appropriate electrical system to handle the data transmission and power management of large arrays of LEDs.


Technical Details

Our project this year, Celestial Pancake was inspired by the primal link between humans and the stars. Humans have written endless mythologies and fables about the stars and have been constantly in awe of their beauty. The core concept of our project is that we wanted to bring that awe back; in a time where the sky is obscured by light pollution.


Celestial Pancake aims to recreate the beauty of the sky suspending over 2000 bundles of fiber optic cables on a ceiling that is 8m in diameter. Each of the lights will be individually controlled and the fibers move in the wind mimicking the stars do in the night sky. We also pay homage to the stories about the sky by suspending microphones that allow people to tell their own stories and watch them ripple across the universe.


The electrical systems will be supporting a large network of power and data communications. The aim is to create self-regulating boards with switch mode converters to drop 24v to 5v on each LED module. This eliminates large wiring networks and grounding issues. Initially, we tested normal 7805 voltage regulators these regulators dissipate high quantities of heat and are unreliable sources of voltage regulation. Hence an onboard switch mode system was created using the LM2596s-5.0 integrated IC to regulate the power. Our aim is to create PCBs with the LM2596 circuit and WS2813A LEDs which allows this system to be highly reliable and easy to manufacture. Additionally, our aim is to provide self-sufficient circuits with LEDs so other users can create magnificent displays with ease.


Further, the data communication will be supported by Teensy microcontroller boards using the Octo2811 adaptor boards to send data to the WS2813A LEDs.


7805 Heat Dissipation


Prototyping LEDs

Most prototyping LEDs were faulty which led us to design our own high-quality PCBs


PCB Design - LM2596s-5.0 & WS2813A incorporated circuit

Furthermore, 2500 PCBs are required to be manufactured and suspended with fiber optics to create a stunning visual display.


3D Structure & CAD



Words to PCBWay

Our society and our major projects that we undertake are often the first interaction many students have with developing hardware and apply their classroom learnings in real-world situations.


This gives our sponsors the unique opportunity of spreading their name recognition to a captive audience whom, if a favourable impression is made, will continue to use and recommend these companies for their personal or professional projects.


While this is the second year we have used PCBWay, this is the first time we are designing a board from scratch and we aim to use it as a way to teach circuit board design to the volunteers on the project.


We hope you realise what a unique opportunity this is for you to spread your name recognition among a group of eager students and to get them familiar with the design tools and manufacturing processes that you, as a company, can provide.





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524 Projects Sponsored
Feb 16,2019
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