Brighten Dark Spaces with this Car-themed Animated Night Light

By October 3, 2014Technology

When Marko’s young car-loving nephews asked for a night light in their room, he decided to tap into his inner gearhead to come up with something they would truly enjoy. He found this cool image from the popular Need For Speed video game that he could light up but wanted to take it a step further to really wow the boys. The end result was a “living” scene with animated headlights and sidewall arrows.

He accomplished this by printing 2 versions of the image, one in full-color and a black and white (grayscale) version, both the exact same size. He then cut out the portions he wanted to light up in the grayscale version of the image and laminated both sheets together, the uncut colored image on top of the grayscale one with cutouts making sure they lined up.

Cutting Out Portions of the Image to Animate

The case to house all the wires was made at a local woodworking shop but you can make your own or purchase a pre-made box at a craft store. Another option is to buy a shadow box picture frame which are made to display items so they are deep enough to house wires.

A QT140 sensor gives the night light the ability to turn on and off with the touch of your finger and the animation is controlled by a ATtiny2313. Although he admits the wiring could look nicer, he hasn’t had any trouble with the light yet.

Wiring for Animated Car-themed Night Light

If you’re interested in creating your own, check out Marko238’s tutorial on Instructables.

Additional Tips for Finding Images

The best place to start your search are desktop wallpaper sites. Those images come in large sizes so you get a better resolution (sharpness) when it’s printed out. If you have a scanner, you can also look through some of your favorite magazines and scan the images you like. Magazines have print on both sides of the sheet and when you shine a light through it you’ll be able to see both sides so you can’t just cut them out and use them as is.

If you want to go big and create an animated piece of wall art, you’ll have to buy a poster and then use a copy center like Staples or Office Max to make a grayscale copy of the same size. You can’t just blow up an image you find on the internet because those images are always low-res and will look all pixelated when you try to stretch it out beyond its original size.

Do you own some killer rides? Why not light them up? Take some photos of your car against some nice backgrounds, put them on a disc or thumb drive and take them to a copy center to print them out any size you want.

Photo credit: Marko238 | Instructables

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