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3D printed skull with LED strips for added creepiness.

Step 1: Find a Model and Import Into Tinkercad

There are (eerily enough) LOTS of skull models out there on 123Dapp.com, Tinkercad and Thingiverse. I found a great one in the Tinkercad that was an import of this original on Thingiverse.  Tinkercad is a solid modeling program, so it gives some extra facets to models that I kinda like.

Step 2: Drill, Baby, Drill.

I knew it would be suspended, so I used a cylinder set as a "hole" and aligned it with the center axis of the skull (left to right).  It shouldn't be centered from front to back, you can just eyeball where the tippy-top of the skull is.

When finished, save as an STL and 3D print.

Step 3: (Cooking Show Cut Here)

Once I had the model finished, I printed it on an Objet Connex printer.  That's fancy, but you could also have it printed through iMaterialise, Sculpteo or Shapeways - or on a MakerBot or another home 3D printer.  I printed it upside down to minimize support material.

Now that you've got your skull, here are the rest of the bits you'll need:
RGB LED Strip - <$30 on Amazon
4 Color LED extension cable - $5 Amazon
Some Wire
Nut and bolt

Step 4: Solder Your Extension.

The LED strip is awesome, but the 'tail' coming off the end is pretty short.  That means the IR receiver and the black power supply are only about 5" from the actual lights.   I used some 4 color extension cable to give it some room.  With this, you could make the LED object just about any length from your ugly power supply.

I snipped the four-pin connector from the LED strip and patched it to one end of the extension wire.  Measure how long you want your lead to be and cut.  Then on the other end, solder each wire to its respective color on the LED strip.  The 4-pin connector has a little <- arrow on it to line up the other plug - that one is the ground.  In the pix you can see that the ground is white on the plug, but black on the extension.  Just remember that if it's not R(ed),G(reen) or B(lue) - it's the ground.

Step 5: Get Sticky.

With your strip and extension cut to length, thread the extension out the top of the skull so that only about 2 inches of the extension is visible inside the skull.  Then you can remove the adhesive backing from the LED strip and stick it to the inner perimeter of the skull. 

Tips: 
- A hot glue gun is great at persuading adhesive to stick to resin-based 3D print.
- Don't put too many rings of LED strip - remember that anything on the wall of the skull is actually partially blocking the light, when v viewed from the outside.  In other words, if you covered the inside wall with LED strip, the only place that light can escape is the top and bottom.  We want GLOW.  The strips can get pretty bright, so 2 rings will do.

Step 6: Wire Hangers.

I just grabbed some light gauge electrical wire, cut to length.  The goal is to have it take the weight of the skull, not the 4 color extension.  

Thread one end through the skull and tie it around a nut/bolt or any other solid thing that's bigger than the hole.  Now ziptie the extension loosely to the black wire, all the way up.  Loosely, meaning if you pulled the black wire taut, the extension will have a little bit of slack and not take any weight.


Step 7: Voodoo Glow Skull.

Now you're done.  Hang it where you want and run the cables where it makes sense - out of sight - and plug 'er in.  Be sure the IR sensor near the power supply is visible if you want to use the remote control.  

Now you can play with all the preset patterns for a soft, even transition between colors or go crazy and strobe it.

Happy Halloween!

drgbt4b3tr
Looks great! The light works really well through the print plastic! :0)
Wow very cool!!! :)
That's 3d printing

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm the Community Manager for Tinkercad from Autodesk. I like to see 3D solutions for common, real-world problems. After that, I like to get ... More »
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