Are you a fan of arts and crafts and all those masterpieces you can do using your hands? Do you know that it’s possible to DIY LED walls according to your requirements and preferences? Yes, it seems impossible and farfetched since it sounds too technical but it’s something you can do if you are patient enough to learn how.
DIY video walls are becoming more popular in the market because of the freedom it offers. If you hate being restricted by the specifications and content of your LED screens, the Do-It-Yourself option is a fine consideration for you.
What You Need To Know Before Building Your DIY LED Wall
When building a DIY LED wall, expect to spend money on it. If it takes you $500 to create one, it’s an affordable cost. Others take thousands of dollars to create one so you need to be sure that you have enough money to spare if you take on this challenge. This will all depend on the design you have in mind for your creation.
One thing that makes DIY video walls doable is its modular design. Since the screens can be split and interconnected, you have the freedom and flexibility to build the screen based on your preferences. In most cases, a standard LED display consists of 4 panels, making the ensemble a perfect shape. They are structured to be lightweight and portable, which makes the project more affordable.
Materials & Items You Need To Have
DIY LED walls can be an expensive project because of the items you will need to make it possible to build one. When planning. For your project, you have to visualize it to list down the materials you will need. Each has its design but in this case, you will require the following:
- LED strip
- Power supply
- Power cord
- PLA filament
- Light-diffusing cloth
- Cardboard sheets
You will also need to invest in the following tools and items for this DIY LED pixel display:
- 3D printer
- Gauge wire
- Wire stripper
- Soldering iron
- Hot glue
- Duct tape
Getting the 3D printer will take a lot from your wallet so if you’re diving into this project, make sure you have enough money to spend. It might be a good investment if you have many tasks where you can use this printer. If you’ll just use it for this project, you might need to rethink it.
Basic DIY LED Wall Steps To Follow
For a more convenient DIY LED wall, you need to follow the process one step at a time because it can get overwhelming. It is necessary to focus on each step to be more meticulous about the build:
1. Use your 3D printer
First, download the files of the designs you plan to print from the device. In the case of DIY LED screens, look for LED wall STLs and get the designs you find easy to handle. Print the tiles and start early to avoid having to spend so much time waiting for the tiles to get printed.
Each panel will need several wall grids and end wall grids in two sizes, 6×6 and 4×6. Simply check out the ones available online for this.
2. Start building the panels
The next step for this DIY LED wall building process is the actual building of the panels. Cut pieces with the size of 48×21 inches and prepare 16 36-pixel LED strips.
Install the LED strips into the cardboard, starting at the corners. Be thorough in sticking the strips so that it covers the entire panel across. Do this to four pieces of cardboard if you want to create a 7-foot LED wall.
Make sure each LED strip stays straight the whole way across. Be meticulous with your cuts. Making four panels for the full 7-foot wide DIY video wall.
3. Connect everything
Connect the LED strips and create a snake pattern from one end to the other. Use your preferred wire and a little solder for each pad. Connect each pad using iron and avoid getting burned by using pliers. Connect all strips by looking at the arrow sign located at the end of each strip. This simply means you must connect it to the next one.
When creating your DIY LED wall, don’t forget to connect the microcontroller by soldering the connectors. These usually come with LEDs and these are the following codes to look at:
- Red – 5V
- White – GND
- Green – D4
4. Test all the connections
Next, try out all the connections in your DIY LED wall. You can do this by using digital signage software like Arduino. Here are the steps to follow:
- Download it from the site and then run the program – Open the file “link.txt from Project Files and then copy everything. Click on File, go to Preferences, and then put your copied content into the Additional Boards Manager.
- Install the Library – Go to the Tools menu, and install the FastLED library from Manager Libraries. Run the file “FastLED_Test.ino” from Project Files.
- Adjust the settings of Flash – Change the settings by going to Tools the Board, clicking on ESP8266 (make sure it is plugged in through a micro USB wire), and then choose LOLIN D1 MINI.
- Code Uploading – Once the ESP is connected to the computer, press the upload button. Connect it to the LED panel and look for the color red light running through the LED strip. Each pixel will light up when all the soldered parts are properly connected. If not, double-check on all the parts.
5. Attach the power supply
The next thing to work on for your DIY LED wall is the power supply. Here are the simple steps to follow:
- Power Cables to Panel – Get your prepared 16 gauge wire and cut 3 pieces for about 4 feet long each. Strip one end and tin both tops with the red soldered to the 5V and the black to the floor. Pay attention to the proper spacing. Secure the wires using duct tape.
- DC Power Supply – Once the power cables are prepared, strip them, twist the frayed ends, and then bend them at a right angle. Do the same thing once you expose the three wires (white, black, and green) inside. Here are their respective assignments:
- Green – Ground
- Black – Neutral
- White – Live
- Power Supply Test – To make sure that your DIY LED wall is powered, you need to test the power supply. First, make sure that the ESP board is properly connected to the computer. Next, open “MAX_CURRENT_TEST.ino” and upload it into the system. Once completed, check the LEDs if they show white light. If some have pink spots, more power is needed in that area.
6. Connect the panels
Once everything is working well after the test, you will start to attach the tiles and diffuser. Layout all the tiles you’ve printed and mark each appropriately. Use your glue gun to connect the bottom of the tole to the panel. Press it for 10 seconds after dropping some hot glue on the tile. Start your way from the bottom to the top and cut off excess parts on the cardboard.
Note: You can add a diffuser by using a stapler and a piece of light box cloth at the back of the cardboard.
7. Use the software
Once all panels of your DIY LED wall are connected, the next task is to connect the ensemble to the software you plan to use. Your choice will depend on your visual requirements and preferences.
Is it expensive to work on a DIY LED Wall?
It can be. Some can create an LED wall with only 500 USD but others believe it requires more than a thousand dollars. What you need to remember is that getting an LED wall itself requires you to spend a bit of money not just for the device and the entire ensemble but also for other services that come with it.
How long does it take to build your LED wall?
It depends on how much time you spend on the project but it can take you around 1 month to 3 months, depending on the size of the LED wall too.
What is the recommended size and resolution for the DIY video wall?
You can go for an impressive 2 x 1.2 meters to start with a resolution of 384 x 256. You will need 48 panels to work with but it might be worth all the hard work. If you don’t want to start with a massive screen, you can start with a small size so that it will be more manageable for you.
Creating a DIY LED wall requires time, money, and effort on your part. You also need a basic understanding of how these digital displays work. When thinking about it broadly, you may feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the task. However, as long as you have all the tools and materials you need, it will be a piece of cake.