3D-printed Zoetrope Animation (Inspiration)



So I saw this:

I think we could make a laser-cut/engraved turntable out of wood and acrylic, that holds engraved acrylic “animation-frame-cards”, which would be edge-lit. There could be a single light-slot that each card travels over in turn, which would look similar to a normal zoetrope, or there could be leds embedded under each cards and controlled separately from the rotation of the turntable, for an animation that works it way around the circle, maybe chasing iterations of itself.
Or embedded leds could simulate the spinning of a turntable, for a single animation loop that circles around.

Prototype laser 'nixie tube'

That’s pretty slick! Make a cool nightlight.


Could you do something similar by cutting many layers of clear acrylic, and arranging them in a circle? I wonder if the edge lit acrylic would make a shape you can see through the other layers, when only one layer is lit.


Could you shine a light from the bottom? May be have the light under the turntable and have the acrylic punch all the way through?
That way they only illuminate as they pass over it?
Might be able to do that wireframe illusion on it too.


That is exactly how I first imagined it, since I could actually design and build that myself. I don’t have any experience of working with arduinos and “smart lighting”. I should really get myself a children’s learning kit of some type.
But, as this is a inspirational brainstorm, and totally theoretical at this point, I realized that someone with that knowledge could take it a whole lot farther. And I would like to see that. I would be happy to purchase someone’s Turntable Base Plans For 15FPS* Animation and focus my energy on the 15 individual animation ‘cards’.

*15 Frames Per Second. Could be significantly more, or as few as 7 for a pretty decent walk cycle.


I don’t know if you guys have seen it, but Disney’s California Adventure has a gorgeous Toy Story Zoetrope which I believe all the figures were 3D printed, the video doesn’t do it justice. The thing is on like a 5’ turntable:
Toy Story Zoetrope


If you did like the link, and had each 2D image pointed along a radial, then having a single slit somewhere in the table would work decently. But edge lighting of acrylic really works best when the light is flush to the surface of the acrylic, so it would still not be quite perfect.

You would want your light to be a strobe, matched to the frequency at which your acrylic frames pass over the slot. The video doesn’t really need a strobe effect since the 3D print gives a continual line between frames, which serves to enhance the quality of the animation.

POV (persistence of vision) is pretty easy, and quite well understood. The only difficulty really is making the electrical connections from the rotating platform to any stationary components (I would imagine most people just opt to make everything rotate).

So, just mount LEDs for each of your frames, and use a single chip Arduino type microprocessor to control LED timing. You could embed a sensor to pick up on the rotational speed of the platform, or just measure the rotation of the platform and program that in after an initial trial.