Now that 3D printing in transparent materials is widely available, we really can start having fun with models playing with light. There's also super convenient ways to use high numbers of RGB LEDs with the Arduino, using Adafruit's Neopixels which only need one digital pin for example.

This Instructable, describes how you can bring life to your favorite models (in my case, fruit fly brains ^^) by lighting them up, using optical fibers placed throughout the volume which create a nice 3D light show. I give a little bit more context about this project on my webpage.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • Optical fibers (I sourced mine from Fiberopticproducts.com)
  • Adafruit Neopixels (I bought them in a strip, but a matrix would be easier, see step 4)
  • An Arduino to control the LEDs
  • A hardboard panel (3mm thick in my case) or other opaque material to make the box


  • A 3d printer capable of making transparent models. I had access to a Formlabs Form 1+ when I built this project
    You can order your print online from a 3d printing service like Shapeways.com
  • A soldering Iron
  • A laser cutter
    A hand drill and saw
  • A Dremel with cutting wheel
  • Epoxy glue

Software and files

  • Blender
  • A 3D model that you would like to turn into a lamp, ideally an stl file, start with a clean mesh. The one I used is on my Thingiverse repository.
<p>Great Job! kudos!</p>
<p>The final result turned out gorgeous! </p>
<p>love it! really nice diffusion of the light. they look like exotic jellyfish :)</p>
<p>Totally, a Jellyfish would be a great model for this !</p>
<p>Awesome, that simulation of the fruit fly brain is so very cool. Would be a great tool for physio classes, etc that learn about activity in different parts of the brain.</p>
<p>Thank you for your nice instructable.</p><p>Rima</p>
Turned out Beautiful! Great color spectrum. very pleasing to the eye. <br>Good Job

About This Instructable




More by naimo:Light show in a 3D printed model Hacking an old laptop into a 3D projector 
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