Electronics WITHOUT soldering?! – Light up your 3D prints with LEDs and bulbs

Robots, automatic pet feeders, movie props, drones The list of cool projects that combine thepower of 3D printing and electronics is endless That said, some if not most of the projectscan be pretty intimidating And you can get easily discouraged when yourealize that you need to learn how to solder, write your own code for an Arduino or designa circuit board Well, fear not, because this time you won’t needany of that and yet we’ll light up our 3D prints You generally have 3 options when it comesto simple light sources that work well with 3D prints And that’s LED strips, LED Lightbulbs and small diodes One of the easiest ways to add lights to your3D prints are LED strips They’re cheap, often come with a remote, they're available both white and as RGB and most importantly, they’re really easy to power You could buy a whole roll of LED strip and use your own LED controller and powersupply, but not this time, we said no soldering So instead we suggest buying an LED stripwith a USB connector This way, you can power it with any old phonecharger, your PC, or a power bank The obvious downside of USB is its limitedpower so you can’t get really long or extremely powerful LEDs But really powerful LEDs also run pretty hot, so we wouldn’t want to use them anyway, especially with PLA LED strips always come with a double sidedtape applied to their bottom side So it's really easy to install themIf you stick them on the inside wall of a box you can get nice and even illumination Then print a front plate with a text or a logo and you’ll end up with a similar resultas our recording sign Alternatively, you can print and wrap a cylinderwith the LEDs and this way you’ll have the light coming from the center of the object Consider printing a diffusor from, for example, clear PETG That will make the illumination more even and hide the individual LED chips A cool thing about LED strips is that youcan cut them with regular scissors to adjust the desired length The spots were you can cut are always clearly marked so make sure to watch out for them Oh and LED strips work great as a light sourcefor the build plate Using lightbulbs with 3D prints is prettystraight forward For example, if you want to print a hanginglamp simply pick a shade you like print it, which can usually be done withoutsupports And then you just have to buy a lightbulbsocket with a cord and attach it to your 3D print Oldschool light bulbs were terribly inefficientand produced a ton of heat Luckily for us, LED light bulbs aremainstream these days And the amount of heat that they produce is significantly lower Still, be mindful of this and check how hot does your light bulb get You’re most likely not going to 3D printall of your lamp shades maybe just a few of them as a cool design piece In that case, modern smart bulbs are a great way to make your creation even cooler They can be controlled with a voice assistant like Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Apple Homepodand change color on demand Hey Google, turn the lights on (Google Home) Sure, turning two lights on Here are some smart light bulb options There’s the Xiaomi Yeelight, which is significantly cheaper than the competition, yet fully featured Then there’s Phillips Hue, which is expensive, but lots of fancy accessories And then there’s LIFX, which is also expensive but has greater maximum brightness Whichever lightbulb or cord set you choose, there is one challenge in front of you And that’s hooking up the power Mains electricity voltage can seriously burn you you or even kill you So if you don’t know what you’re doing please just stop right here and consider askingsomeone with more experience for help But if you know what you’re doing it’sas simple as switching the circuit breaker off triple checking that it actually is off, connecting the phase, which is brown or black, and the neutral cable, which is blue, insulatingthe connection and turning the power back on Most cord sets even come with a quick release mechanism for the cable connection The two previous solutions were for ratherbig prints In contrast to that, individual diodes canbe really tiny and fit almost everywhere They’re usually powered by 3.

3V, which is(un)coincidentally the voltage of most button cells For under $10 you can get a set of hundredsof these diodes in various colors which will usually last you, well, forever.

To attach the battery to the diode, you caneither use a rubber band or a printed part We’ve used this technique in our Halloweencrow and in our miniature tabletop gaming video We’ve just scratched the surface with usingelectronics in 3D prints But adding even a small light to your 3D printwill really make it pop Would you like to see more videos about electronicsand 3D printing? Let us know in the commentsAnd as always Happy printing!.

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