If you visit DMC's Denver office, you might notice a rainbow glow greeting you. Learn how a few of the Denver DMC engineers took it upon themselves to add a new LED illuminated sign to the office entrance.
Workplace Improvement Initiative
DMC has a program called WIN! (Workplace Improvement Initiative) that empowers employees to work on projects that are outside of the scope of client work. WIN! is designed to foster and coordinate employee initiatives with a basic mission statement of "Do Better." These weekly, hour-long sessions allow employees to work with different people on new technologies that they might not otherwise be exposed to.
The project began when DMC ordered a metal sign with the DMC logo on it, but instead of getting the positive image (the cutout logo) we were given the negative image (a stencil of the logo). To salvage it, the sign was offered as a WIN project and a couple of our engineers took the project on.
They decided to illuminate the sign with multicolored LED strips. To power and control the LED strips, they chose an Arduino Mega board. The NeoPixel LED strips chosen are made by Adafruit and they have an Arduino library built for them. To start the LED programming, a few small strips of LED were wired up to the Arduino Mega. Once the proof of concept was complete, the team went to work creating the full sign.
The team ran into issues getting the LED to illuminate the acrylic. In order to disperse the light, they scratched the face of the acrylic with sandpaper. The LEDs were bleeding into each other, so additional LED strips were added to reinforce the static colors of the DMC wheel and cardstock was placed behind the acrylic to prevent reflection of color off the wall to show through.
Before the sign was hung up, the team decided to add wireless connectivity to the sign. They chose an ESP-32 NodeMCU to enable the sign to connect to the internet. Using the ESP-32 as a server, a website was created where users could turn the sign on and off.
The sign was then mounted on the wall using aluminum stands-offs since space behind the sign was needed for the Arduino board and wiring to sit.
A Bright Future
Future improvements to the sign include changing the color patterns, turning the sign on and off automatically on a timed schedule, and allowing for over the air updates. We hope you'll stop by the Denver office to see it in person!
Learn more about DMC's company culture and check out our open positions to join our team.