Building SpokePOV and the magic of Open Hardware

It all started about two years ago when I saw all those crazy hardware projects all over the Internet which made me became interested in hardware. Before that, I could only see hardware as ready-made equipment. Not anymore. Since my first glimpse into this universe I learned tons of things and the time has come to build something… Something very cool!

Enter the world of Adafuit Industries who I consider the leading force behind the Open Hardware revolution. Unlike most of the companies, they share everything about their projects and operations, they are extremely community friendly and not only they don’t make you sign any NDAs, they outright hate NDAs. Seeing their philosophy, their cool projects and the level of passion they put into everything they do I immediately felt that warm and fuzzy feeling.

POV projects were always incredibly interesting to me as I’m very visual (which probably shows even on the streets when I check out da ladies, but that’s another story). Maybe the fact that most people don’t have the slightest clue what these gadgets do until they start moving is the most exciting part about them. They stimulate our senses and make our mind work to figure out how it’s possible to do what these things do. I’m not quite sure what’s so magical about them, but they fascinate me every time I see them in action.

SpokePOV is one of the most interesting POV projects in my opinion. Who doesn’t want to be a badass daredevil biking in the city, showing off something that probably nobody has ever seen? Nah, don’t be shy, you can hold up your hands!

The build instructions are crystal clear and the perfect setup is given so let’s rock and roll!


Let’s zoom on a little bit.


That’s lots of LEDs, a fair amount of shift registers, resistor arrays and some other stuff.


SpokePOV is mounted into the vise, nothing can stop me!


Halfway through the work it’s time to take a little pause and drink some water before I fall off my chair.


Zooming in. The sheer beauty of the soldered shift registers gotta make your inner geek joyfully sing.


We’re almost there.


Ladies and gentlemen, after making almost 400 solder joints this baby is ready to fly… I mean spin.


I asked my buddy from the neighborhood to help me test SpokePOV on the bike in action. Reluctantly though, he said yes but we’ve had such a fun time that I hardly think he regret his decision. POVing with one SpokePOV is pretty challenging unless you’re an athlete. I guess I should have bought three of them. The desired result didn’t come easy with one piece.

Let’s see the first try.

And the second.

The third.

And lastly, but not leastly, the fourth try came with the sweet smell of success!

It’s hard to describe the feeling of building and riding SpokePOV but one thing is sure: it’s addictive. It’s a feeling that everyone should experience. As for open hardware, I’m probably addicted for life. What to do now? I’m not sure but I wanna move to soldering SMDs and I have a couple cool projects on my mind.

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