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Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Woodwork

Planning and assembling the wood and components.


Past parts of this series:

Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Introduction
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Playmobil parts
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – LED Stage Lights
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Disco Ball with stepper motor
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – LED Rings
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Audio Output from microSD with Arduino
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Audio Spectrum Analysis from WAV input with simple logic, FHT and MSGEQ7
Tinkering Tuesday – Playmobil Stage – Audio Spectrum Analysis using Sound Sensor Module


When I planned the stage I did not really think about the dimensions it needs. So I just layed out some DIN A4 sized sheets of paper and had a look:

That is DIN A3 and looks quite good already. But I need some space on sides as well (for all of the electronics) so I planned to make a typical stage as can be seen on festivals, e.g. Rock am Ring:

So I initially planned with DIN A3 size for the stage and half a DIN A4 sheet for the sides. I thought about using precut wood like the following that is available in the DIN Ax sizes:

But then I also decided that it is not very cool to cut and merge different sheets to get to the DIN A3 plus DIN A4 size. So I decided I need to get that custom cut at the home improvement store and went with 5mm MDF. That’s when I came up with the following sketch, planning with the 4mm A4 precut sheets and the custom 5mm sheets:

I had a look in the different stores and some only offered 3mm and I also wanted to go with premade laths for the top and bottom of the stage (30 and 50mm in the sketch, at the top I need minimum 22mm to fit the stepper motor which will drive the disco mirror ball). Those are also supplied in different sizes in different stores. I planned to make the top sheet overlap the back and the side sheets, so it has to be wider by the width of the wood I buy.

I decided to make an excel sheet to dynamically calculate the required sizes which include the different material widths.

It calculates the required sizes based on the given dimensions of the stage and the width of the wood. I also added the height of the top and bottom as a variable to adjust to the different sizes of the laths, in this case it was Bauhaus with 24x48mm. I adjusted the inner size of the stage in the excel to 250mm widht because I plan to have a sheet of acrylic glass in the back and Bauhaus offered a precut sheet with a height of 250mm. Additionally the stage size was reduced to 600mm as the laths are 2m long and this way I can cut it into 3 parts and still have 200mm which I can use for the sides.

Unfortunately the wood I initially wanted (MDF, 3mm, black coated) was not available in the Bauhaus. It could have been ordered but 2-3 weeks were too much for me. So I went with 5mm raw MDF and decided to paint it myself.

After I got all the wood cut I layed it out and wondered why it didn’t fit. After several measurements I gave the guy at the wood cutting station the wrong numbers. I read columns D and E instead of E and F… So another trip to the store… But luckily it wasn’t that many sheets that were wrong. So: always check/measure twice before cutting and joining.

In the following picture you can see how I want to layout the acrylic glas and the sides:

In the following pictures you can see the final layout of the stage put together loosely.

Then I went to my little workbench in the cellar and build up the base using mostly my newly acquired Dremel 4000. First drilling and counter sinking all the holes

After that I put it the base together:

The next step was to paint everything:

Then adding all the components. First the servo from the top and the bottom:

Next the rods for the stage lights (I just drilled through everything and the outer panel is holding it in place):

I sanded the acrylic glass, which can be seen in the background here:

All of the other components are going into the left side of the stage, hot-glued in place:

Putting all the LED stage lights and LED rings in place (see the posts for those). I initially planned on using a USB connector for PC cases to power both of the Arduinos. This caused some weird sounds when the servo or especially the LED rings were turned on. I tried several things, also having some capacitors in several places (I wasn’t aware of the principle of decoupling capacitors at that time… now I am at least a little bit…) but nothing worked out. My first tests were done using two separate power sources (240V to USB adaptors from smart phones) and at that time there were no problems, so I had to go with two sepearate power cables. One for the Audio Arduino alone and the other one for all the light components and the other Arduino.

The sound sensor is facing to the front:

All of the outer sheets were fixed with black nails but to be able to reopen the stage to get to the electronics parts (which I already did once to check the speaker cabling because it was not loud enough) I used screws at the left side and glued on black plastic caps to have a better look (you can also see that it is not 100% perfect… I am not the most precise woodworker…):

At the back of the stage there is the push button, a switch, the potentiometer and the two cables (secured with hot glue and a rubber from a beer bottle):

This was the woodworking part. Next up is the final Software. After that I will share some problems, learnings and additional possibilities (that I planned but lacked time).

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