Every Color of the Rainbow

29 06 2008

I’ve made some significant progress this weekend! I extended the Glowy Green LED’s to Blue and Red. I also soldered up a circuit to power the LED’s instead of just hooking up each part individually. That got pretty crazy really quick with all the alligator clips all over the place. I’ll explain more later.

The next part is to use the mosfets to allow the microcontroller to control the brightness of the LED’s. This will allow me to change the color and mix them as I desire.


24 06 2008

So, I’ve always been fascinated with mood lamps, green and blue glowy lights. I have, in the past, tried to make my own mood lamps. There is just something about the way that is changes color seamlessly from one color to the next.

So, I’m trying it again. What’s going to make this time different and what does it have to do with a laminar nozzle? Both very good questions, I’m glad you asked. The lights are going to be for the fountain. I’ve always wanted a fountain, and I’ve always loved mood lights so why not combine them! The fountain is going to have some LED’s and some fiber optics which will port the light right up the center to the water. When the water shoots out the light will be able to travel right through the water just like fiber optics.

I have a friend in Switzerland who is doing the same thing as I am doing. We share information back and forth. He has come up with a brilliant way to make the LED glow, and glow bright. Not to mention an easy way to the control the brightness of the light. Thanks to him I KNOW I cannot fail at this task.

Currently I am just working with 1 Green 5W K2 star from Luxeon. This light is soooooo bright. The one light can light up the entire room as shown below.
Just to give you an idea of how bright it is, a regular LED (like the one on your DVD player) uses 20mA of current. The K2 star is capable of using up to 1000mA. That’s 50 times more current!!!!!!!

Because it uses so much current you can’t turn it on without it being properly heat sinked. That’s what that hugh chunk of Aluminum is. The heatsink helps draw the heat away from the LED and a fan blow over the aluminum and cools it down.

Just so you know this is only 1 LED. I’m planning on have at least 3 more if not 7 more. I will also need to purchase some fiber optics in order to port the light into the fountain. This will be a challenging but really rewarding task once it is completed.


16 06 2008

Ok, so here is how the nozzle will look. I will post more later.

Now it’s later and I have a minute. This is the nozzle that I am designing. The principle is basic. The water will enter into the tube tangentially into the nozzle chamber where it will swirl around until it gets to the sponge (not shown in picture above). The sponge will break up the flow and disorganized the flow. The sponge is juxtaposition to the straws, so the water will flow through the straws (shown as red in picture above). Once it exists the straws the water will be moving at the same speed. It will gather together in an open chamber before shooting through the brass exit nozzle. Once it leaves the brass exit nozzle it will be clear and beautiful. Then if the cutter mechanism is open the water will exit the top. If the water is being cut, the flow will continue through the side of the nozzle and back into the water system.

It’s simple in theory! =) Now I just need to build it and make the water behave like I think it should behave.


Underwater Tests

13 06 2008

So a very smart friend of mine brought up the point of the mechanism working underwater. I didn’t know. So I had to find out.

Cutter Mechanism Underwater test


To observe whether the mechanism will work in an underwater environment.


The cutter mechanism is going to be used in order to deflect the water from the air to the underwater piping system giving humans the illusion that the water is jumping. Each nozzle will be timed in such a way that the water will appear to be jumping or leaping from place to place.

In order to cut the water the Cutter mechanism will push and pull a plate in from of the orifice in order to deflect.

We must be certain that water will not affect the mechanism. The mechanism must be able to cutter the water in either a partially or fully submerged environment. This test is designed to find out if the water will cause any problems. We are particularly concern with the solenoids and how they will perform.

The setup for the cutter mechanism is the same as the setup in other cutter mechanism tests with the small addition on waterproofing. I applied a liberal amount of hot glue to the connections and any point that might have a leak.

I filled a 5 gallon bucket with a small amount of water just enough to cover the mechanism.


The cutter mechanism was suciffiently waterproofed and I was able to contain the magic smoke. The cutter operated as designed.

The video below show the results.


The cutter mechanism performed well underwater. The proof of concept was succesful and the mechanism will be introduced into the design.

The mechanism was observed to be a bit slow moving from position to position, but has not be confirmed. However, the majority of the drag is probably due to the vertical plate. The Laminar Nozzle will have a significantly reduced drag since, the cutter mechanism will have a U-channel instead of an L-bracket. This should alleviate any drag induced problems.

Jumping Laminar Jets

10 06 2008

So a special thanks to my friends who listened to me to help me put together this spreadsheet with all the information about the Jumping Laminar Jets. A special mention to Will for building the spreadsheet for me! For those who aren’t fluent in geekspeak what this spreadsheet tells us that it doesn’t tell you is how height and far the jumping laminar jets will go based on a number of key numbers.

First column
Flow Rate: This means how much water will flow through an area in a certain amount of time. This is measured in Gallons/Min. It’s like how fast you would be going if you were a liquid.

Second column
Flow Rate: Same as above but just converted into different units.

Third column
Angle: This is an important one! Once we build this water fountain we will mount the nozzles at these angles

Fourth and Fifth column
Diameter and Area: The diameter is the diameter of the outlet for the water. Subsequently, the area is the calculated area for the water outlet.

Sixth column
This one is important too. This is the amount of nozzles you can have.

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth
Velocities. The Seventh column is the total velocity, and the Eighth and Ninth are the component velocities (velocity in the horizontal and vertical directions).

Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth
Time in the air, Height, and Distance. Pretty self explanatory.


It is all based on two principles. First, is flow in must be equal to flow out, Qin = Qout. This obviously simple equation in fact states a lot. From this equation we are able to get the exit velocity of the water because we know what the area is from whence the water is leaving. =)



solving for v

v=Q/A (Eq 1)

so Eq 1 gives us the velocity of the water leaving the nozzle. From there we can treat this like a particle motion problem. Or

h = 1/2*g*t^2 +vy*t+ho (Eq 2)

Since we are going to be putting these nozzles on an angle the velocity that we obtained from Eq 1 isn’t the velocity in vo. We need to adjust the velocity for the different angles. So we need to compute the vy (velocity in the y or vertical direction).

vy = vo sin (theta)

knowing that we can calculate the total time the water is in the air. Using Eq 2 we know that the water starts from ground and ends up at the same level (ground). So h=ho = 0. Rearranging Eq 2 and solving for t you get.

t = 2*vy/g Eq 3

Using the answer from Eq 3 and subsituting it back into Eq 2 we can find the height the water will travel.

To find the distance we need one other equation. Distance = Rate * Time


D = vx * t

where vx = vo cos(theta) or the velocity in the horizontal direction.

Again, thanks to those who helped me with this!

Cutter Mechanism Design

9 06 2008

Ok, it’s pretty late and I need to get to bed so that I can get up for work tomorrow, but I thought I would as least throw these images up. I’ll edit this post tomorrow, and give a full description..

My Desires for the Final Product

8 06 2008

Watch this awesome video! This is what I want ours to look like when it is done. Pay particular attention to the part with the jet jumping out of the ground in the rocks. That is what mine is going to look like. The dry rock creek bed part is around the 50 second mark.