DIY Slow Dance Frame

Project By: Justin Widen

My DIY version of the Slow Dance frame created by Jeff Lieberman & Kickstarted in 2016. This has been my first major woodworking project ever and I think it came out wonderfully! I learned a lot through the process and I could not have done it without the tools at PS1. The frame relies on persistence of vision to make its illusions work by vibrating whatever is placed on its steel plates at 80Hz. The lights that line the frame are also strobing, but with a slight phase shift of 79-84Hz adjustable by a potentiometer on the back.

The frame was made out of a 4x4x60″ piece of eastern red cedar I got for a bargain at a Wisconsin barn sale. Sourcing a large enough piece of wood to make the 2×2″ thick frame was quite difficult as normal 2×2 lumber is actually 1-3 /4″ which wouldn’t work for my design. The electromagnet in the middle I wound by hand around a steel core for a total resistance of 6.6Ohms which was plenty strong at 18V. The electronics are based around an Arduino as it had plenty of functionality for this relatively simple device. I roughly followed the schematic design & used the code from this GitHub/Instructable, but made some modifications which I plan to upload in a full length Instructable build eventually. My other main inspiration was from this Instructable by which was beautifully constructed & gave me the idea for the rear face plate.

The tools from PS1 that allowed me to make this, and do it so well, where vast & worked flawlessly for me even with zero experience. The jointer flattened my slightly warped & bowed lumber to give it perfectly right angled faces. The planer helped be bring each of the 4 pieces of the frame to within ~0.02″ of each other. The bandsaw let me rip cut the 12-14″ pieces down to 2×2 swiftly, then faced with the jointer. The table saw was used for everything, including the slots for the LED’s which was one of many great tips from Ralph Brendler who authorized & gave me some great advice. Lastly I used the table router to cutout the rear electronics pocket after removing the bulk of the material with a forsner bit. Lastly I did the glue up for the whole frame and used numerous clamps to remove any gaps. Then it was on to surface prep, staining, poly coating, then assembly.

This was an incredibly fun & educational project for me and im so thankful for PS1 and all its members especially the ones that helped me or gave me advice along the way!

Extra photos can be found in my Google Photos Album showcasing everything including some videos of it operating.

8 thoughts on “DIY Slow Dance Frame”

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