Introduction: LED Lights for Type a Series 1 Pro 3D Printer

This mod works with either the Series 1 or the Series 1 Pro.

Type A Machines makes a seriously great 3D printer. However, depending on your work, shop, or studio environment you may need better lighting for your build platform. We considered a few different options, and opted to go with a HomeKit enabled LED lighting setup. This would controlling the lights from anywhere in the space, simply by using the 'Hey Siri' functionality that's already in iPhone, iPad, and the Apple Watch (you don't need my help finding those links).

Before you start, you'll need to get the right stuff. I'll assume you already have the 3D Printer :-)

I started with an off-the-shelf LED lighting kit from LED wholesalers (here's a link to find it on Amazon). You can probably use any number of other brands/models of lighting, but the key specs were 10 inch length lights that had a .3mm width and height, and it included the connector cable and power adapter needed. The size is important, since you don't want the lights to interfere with operation of the 3D printer.

In addition to the lights, you'll need a HomeKit-enabled AC plug. I went with the iSP5 from iHome (here's a link to find it on Amazon), though you can use anything that's compatible with Apple's HomeKit.

Finally, you will need some double-sided tape. I went with Gorilla tape (here's a link to find it on Amazon). There are probably countless varieties of double-sided mounting tape out there, just make sure you use something that's going to last, or you risk the lighting come loose and interfering with the printer.

Step 1: Make Sure the Lights Work

I know this sounds silly, but sometimes things don't work right out of the box. And sometimes a connector either doesn't fit right or needs adjustment. Once all three lights are in sequence and powered on, you'll know you've got working lights and can proceed.

While you're here, you may want to check and make sure to remove any clear plastic from the lighting. The manufacturer includes it to keep the parts from getting scratched in transit, and you don't need it anymore.

Step 2: Get Sticky

I used 3 pieces of double-sided tape on each section of light (in the middle and both ends). Unroll a little onto the backing of the light, and then cut the tape with an exacto knife. Pro-tip: do this part with the lights turned on so you don't accidentally put tape on the side with the light. The kit I used was made of rigid plastic, so I didn't need to worry about cutting through into the light strip. Do not peel off the backing of the double sided tape yet.

Step 3: Last Things First

You want to install the lighting from the left side to the back and then to the right, with the power cable on the right side. The easiest way to do this... is backwards. Start with the last light strip in the sequence. Unplug the last light and connector cable from the end of the middle light (because you don't want to have to struggle with getting the connector into the back of the light in the back left corner).

Now feed that last light and connector cable through the gap between the printer mechanism.

After you've done that, connect the cable into the middle light to make sure you've got a good connection.

You still have not peeled the backing off the double-sided tape. At this point, you want to move the light strip into place and hold it there with your finger. You want just below the belt that pulls the printer back and forth, but just above where the printer mechanism will travel.

It can be tricky to get this right - if you have an iPad or iPhone you can bring up the OctoPrint web app for the Series 1 in your device's browser and use one hand to hold the light strip in place and one hand to move the printer forward/backward in 10mm increments.

Once you've seen the space you have available and are comfortable that you can place it in that gap, peel off the backing and stick the light strip to the frame. Congrats, you've gotten the hard part done!

Step 4: Keep Your Cables Tucked

Next, disconnect the last light and cable from the middle light, and carefully tuck the cable behind the 3D printer's cables as shown in that first picture.

Then re-connect the cable to the middle light, peel off the backing and stick the middle light up in the back center. You have plenty of room, but try to keep it even with the height of the strip you put up on the left.

Now disconnect the cable from the end of the first light, and carefully tuck it behind the printer's cables in the back right corner.

Step 5: Get It Right

The right side is pretty easy. Reconnect the cable to the middle light, and all your lights should be working.

Now take another look at the left side and back - ideally the lights are even and will show you where you want to put the one on the right. Now peel off the backing and stick it in place.

I added another small strip of double-stick tape to the back of the connector (you can see the connector in the picture), this should keep the cable neat and out of the way.

I slipped the power cable out the back right corner of the printer frame.

Step 6: Adding the Plug

Now it's time to connect and configure the HomeKit-enabled adapter. On the iHome kit, you plug the adapter into the wall (and the lights into the socket). Once you have a green light on the outlet, you can start configuring the software. In the case of iHome, that meant downloading the free iHome control app for iOS and then walking through the prompts to add and discover the connector. This process will vary by manufacturer, but the net result is basically the same.

Step 7: Let There Be Light

I named the plug 'Printer Light' since that was easy to say and for the software to understand. Now, as long as I'm near a compatible iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch) I can just say 'Hey Siri, turn on/off the printer light' - and it just works.

For us, this can really be handy. A print job can easily take several hours, and we either don't have hands free or we're using the webcam on the Series 1 Pro to monitor a job from the other side of the workspace. It's now easy to toggle the 3D printer's lights on from anywhere in the studio.


kavish laxkar (author)2016-05-12