See the line where the sky meets the sea
It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I'll know
If I go there's just no telling how far I'll go

               - Moana: How Far I'll Go - (Lin Manuel Miranda)

Explore the depths of your own personal ocean. Epoxy resin, alcohol inks, sand, and seashells come together to make a magical luminous ocean experience for your wall or desk. Each piece you create will come out unique, colorful, and beautiful.

Difficulty Level

The electronics assembly is pretty simple - the only soldering you'll need to do is stacking and assembling the Feather and FeatherWing. The LED matrix plugs into the FeatherWing and into the wall using connectors, so doesn't need to be soldered at all.

Epoxy resin is tricky by nature. Temperature, humidity, and dust need to be managed with any resin project. However, as resin projects go, I've found this to be about the easiest one I've ever done -- and also the hardest to mess up. Stray bubbles or dust motes in your resin actually add depth and interest to this particular project - more bubbles make the ocean waves look more realistic! And as you'll see, mixing and pouring all the pretty colors is incredibly satisfying. 

The software and coding requires a little bit of setup if you haven't used CircuitPython before. Once you're set up, you can copy and paste our code and images or dig in and customize with your own artwork.

Parts

64x32 RGB LED Matrix - 4mm pitch

PRODUCT ID: 2278
Bring a little bit of Times Square into your home with this sweet 64 x 32 square RGB LED matrix panel. These panels are normally used to make video walls, here in New York we see them...
OUT OF STOCK

Adafruit Feather M4 Express - Featuring ATSAMD51

PRODUCT ID: 3857
It's what you've been waiting for, the Feather M4 Express featuring ATSAMD51. This Feather is fast like a swift, smart like an owl, strong like a ox-bird (it's half ox,...
OUT OF STOCK

Adafruit RGB Matrix Featherwing Kit - For M0 and M4 Feathers

PRODUCT ID: 3036
Ahoy! It's time to create a dazzling light up project with our new RGB Matrix FeatherWing. Now you can quickly and easily create...
$7.50
IN STOCK

5V 4A (4000mA) switching power supply - UL Listed

PRODUCT ID: 1466
Need a lot of 5V power? This switching supply gives a clean regulated 5V output at up to 4 Amps (4000mA). 110 or 240 input, so it works in any country. The plugs are "US...
$14.95
IN STOCK

USB cable - USB A to Micro-B

PRODUCT ID: 592
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
IN STOCK

If you want an easy on/off switch for your project, I recommend this one - it plugs right inline into your power cord.

1 x Power Switch
In-line power switch for 2.1mm barrel jack

I also used rare earth magnets to fasten the resin panel to the shadow box. 

4 x Magnets
High-strength 'rare earth' magnet

Additional Materials Used

My ocean is 12"x12". If you're making a similar sized ocean you'll need about 2 cups of table top resin or casting resin, alcohol inks and mica powder for color, and a piece of clear acrylic or glass to act as your "canvas".  You'll also need gloves, mixing cups and stirring sticks and various other accessories. I've made an Amazon shopping cart with everything I use when I'm pouring resin.

You'll also need an enclosure for the electronics. I built my own out of spare plastic sheeting I had in my shop, but you could also use a clear plastic tray or a shadow box frame for your project. Just be sure it's at least 2-3 inches deep to give enough space for the electronics and a little extra room for diffusion.

This guide was first published on Aug 12, 2020. It was last updated on Aug 12, 2020.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Sep 28, 2020.