Make and Do Assignment – Reflection

For this assignment I was asked to take a recipe from online of making something that is useful or playful and multimedia based. I chose this idea, City Lights from the website Instructables. I love the hands on approach for both making and then playing with this project.

I changed a lot of aspects of this project. I widened it’s ability, as well as cubes that light up, the lights react to music. I also added speakers to the project. I changed some of the materials to make it more durable.

Changing aspects of the project made it feel like a completely new idea. Asthetically similar but how it was made and how it works is different.

Intructables Version.                             My Version.

City Lights

City of Light and Sound






I had many issues with making the project. I ran out of copper tape, the magnets where not strong enough, the magnet whiteboard warped effecting the connection between the cubes and the board etc. I over came all of these issues, changing the copper tape to alluminium foil tape, getting stronger and larger magnets. Unfortunately the magnetic whiteboard warping there was little I could do about it. As a result some of the cubes still will not connect to the board in areas correctly.


The project took a lot of work, each cube took a lot of work. Inside each had to have their own components. Between sticking, hot gluing, and soldering, copper tape, LEDs, a transparent straw, magnets, transistor and resistors (for the red LEDs as they took more power than the other colours) have been jammed into each cube. Two of the large speakers have a speaker in them also.

Each cube was make out of separate pieces of perspex, that was sanded down to be opaque and hot glue gunned into a cube. Each cube was then sanded down again.

The white board was fiddly stickking down the strips of aluminium foil that I had to cut into thin 6mm strips. Everything had to measured correctly to ensure a good connection. All of the speaker and power wires where soldered underneath the board.

One thing I would have tried to overcome would have been trying to create away to avoid users being able to turn the cubes the opposite way. The reason for this would be if the user puts the cube down the wrong way it would short the entire project. Because of this I have been more nervous allowing people use it.

I think that my make and do project has really opened my eyes in relation to my major group project this year. I have learnt a lot about wiring and electrics and how audio can be used to affect lights, all of which will come in handy for the major project we have decided to do.


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