Junkbot tripod maker needs firmware so he can send his steampunk pirate ship to Burning Man

Andy makes and sells groovy scrap-metal light-up "tripods" that look like aliens; he uses the money to fund an enormous, ambitious steampunk pirate ship for Burning Man. The engineer who formerly provided the firmware for Andy's tripods has pulled out of the project and now he's desperate for technical help:

What we Need:
The physical design requirement for the PCB:
1-1/8″ x 2-1/8″.
Along the upper edge we need room for 8 thru hole RGB LEDs
An easily accessible programming header
A microphone to input sound
Powered by (3) AAA batteries (4.5v)
Controlled by a momentary Switch SPST
A single centered screw hole that can be tapped to mount the board to the back cover.
Use of the Atmel Tiny88 would be a bonus since we have a lot left over from the ship's construction.
A small PCB with solder pads for the switch (1-1/8″ x 3/8″)

Initial Software requirements:
Two software modes, the first would be color morphing of the 8 LEDs on two color channels, (e.g. four LEDs could be blue and the other four yellow)
The second mode would be sound reactive (turning on and off to the beat of the music and changing colors).

Tripod Help (Thanks, Todd!)


  1. oh, i’m sad to hear he’s having problems! i signed up to be notified about these back in june or july, and i haven’t heard any follow-up since. i guess this is why. i hope he gets the help he needs, because his Tripods are awesome (as is his pirate ship project!).

    1. The reason no new Tripods have been built since spring is because the crew was busy building the ship for Burning Man, which was in September. I have heard Andy is building more bodies now, but he’s chosen to reject the (actually quite reasonable) arrangement the designer offered with regard to lights. The sale of new Tripods will most likely be delayed by many more months now.

  2. Uhm…. Sounds like he’s looking for electronics as well as firmware to run on it. You should probably clarify the item title.

  3. That’s too bad about his engineer getting dollar signs in the eyes and shutting him down. This fellow’s getting a solid education in the need for open source stuff.

    I’d be happy to design a PC board for him, but someone else will have to do the software. Anyone interested?

  4. One of my pet peeves: why does everything have to be software based these days? The requirements (“color morphing” and “sound reactive”) could easily be implemented using classic hardwired electronics which in the eyes of engineering nerds like myself is 1,000x cooler than any software based solution.

    My kid brother & me made color changing/sound reactive light as a school project in about 1985 using half a dozen transistors, a couple of TTL IC’s and hand-painted flashlight bulbs (LEDs used to be way expensive….)

  5. I sent him an email offering to do the design work. I can do both the software and hardware parts. As long as I get recognition, and the design is released as open source (as well as the firmware), I think this is a great projects. And these things look terrific. Heck, it might actually motivate me to go to Burning Man one of these years. :)

  6. Andy decided not to use the original hardware/software because of a difference of $1500. He would have grossed $27300 at the expected price.

  7. All sales of tripods fund the pirate ship. There is no profit made by those who do the work except the joy of immersing yourself into an amazing project.

Comments are closed.