Lumarca is a DIY and open source project. Anyone can make their own, even if they’re not that good at construction or fabrication (it will require some patience).
Note: Albert Hwang has also posted his instructions for making his WireMap project here. It’s a different construstion technique, but once completed, his structure can be used with my libraries with minimal adjustment. Albert’s structure is more stable, but also requires much more precision in construction.
If you already own a projector and a computer, you can make one for less than $100. If you don’t have those 2 things, it will be substantially more. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
1) A computer that can run java and use a projector.
2) A projector with at least 1024×724 native resolution
3) 2ft of string/yarn multiplied by the number of strings you want to make (slightly elastic is better)
4) 2 thin peices of non-magnetic, strudy materail, 34”*24” planes
(larger is ok. I used clear plexi, but foam core is ok too)
5) Structure to support one of planes 2ft above the other, with the bottom one at least a foot off of the floor (can be 4 wooden dowels)
6) 2 nuts per string
7) 4 magnets per string (i got 1000 for $40 on ebay)
Here an overview of the steps to make your own:
1) Download and run the source code.
2) Create a stucture out of planes and supports (#4 and #5).
3) Position projector to project onto the bottom plane.
4) Tie nuts to strings, so that they can be held by the top and the bottom to the planes, taught.
5) Place the strings approximately in the right position with magnets and guided by projection.
6) Position each string into exact position with calibration program.
7) Run the display program and enjoy!
Here’s a detailed break down of everything you’ll need to do to make your own:
Step 1: Download and run the source code
For an explaination of where how to download and the code, please go the code page.
Step 2: Create a stucture out of planes and supports (#4 and #5)
This part is somewhat based on what materials you use, but basically, you need to create a structure that looks like this (the more stable the better):
If you’re using foam core and dowels, drilling 4 holes in the foam core while they are clamped together. Insert the dowels and hold them in position with clamps and use a level to make sure they are flat. Glue should work to hold them in place.
Step 3: Position projector to project onto the bottom plane.
Make sure the projector is stable and level.
Project the Construction program (press 1 while running the Lumarca app) and make sure the entire projection falls on the plane. It should be 19.5 inches from the middle of the bottom white line to the middle of the top white line.
Step 4: Tie nuts to strings, so that they can be held by the top and the bottom to the planes, taught.
This is harder than it seems. Cutting and tying strings to 2 nuts at the same length over and over again can be tricky.
I recommend cutting one, holding it to the top and bottom plane, to make sure it’s the right length. Then tie the nuts to it and again make sure it holds to the top and bottom with out too much strain. If it doesn’t make another one until you make one that works. Then use this one as a guide for making the rest.
Step 5: Place the strings approximately in the right position with magnets and guided by projection.
Project the Construction program (press 1 while running the Lumarca app) again. Now, place a magnet on the top nut of a string. Hold the top nut to the top plane, and place a magnet on the other side of the pane. This should hold the string to the top plane, but leave it adjustable. Now, do the same thing with the bottom pane, being careful to pull it from the top. place it near one of the white dots projected onto the pane.
Do this for each string.
Step 6: Position each string into exact position with calibration program.
Project the Calibration program (press 2 while running the Lumarca app). A single green line will be projected, near one of the strings you placed in Step 5. Adjust the string by moving the magnets on the top and bottom until it intercepts that beam of light exactly. It should glow a bright green.
Do this for every string.
Step 7: Run the display program and enjoy!
Press 2-0. You wil see a variety of content developed for the Lumarca.
They are pretty, but there is more that can be done. When you’re ready to make your own content, go to the code page and make your own.