Fabric LEDs

Introduction: Fabric LEDs

I designed a case for the popular WS2812 LED that allows you to sew it to fabric. I primarily designed it to be used in theatre on costumes and accessories, however you could use it for a warning light for traffic to be sewn on your backpack or on cycling clothes.

I have the downloads for my Instructables hosted on my website and also some other, but more specific, designs. I thought I should give my project a name, so I called it Impression LED.

Supplies

WS2812 LED

3 different colours of wire

Approximately 20 grams of 3D filament in a light translucent colour.

Superglue (I recommend Bostic Clear)

Needle and thread

Controller (I used a NodeMCU to make control wireless)

Step 1: Print Your Parts

You can download the STL file for this project from my website which can be found using the link below.

http://harrylb.co.uk/impression.html#costume_section

It is in STL format so it can be sliced as required. I use an AstroBox to give my printer a wireless interface. I would recommend it as it has a slicer built-in and you can send the machine code straight to your printer.

Step 2: Preparing Your LED

You don't have to use a WS2812 LED however, you should keep in mind that your substitution should not exceed 10 mm in diameter and 4 mm in height. This restricts it to SMD style LEDs however, this does keep the size down.

My WS2812 LEDs are pre-soldered to a small circular PCB. I would recommend using these as it makes soldering the LED easier.

When you're soldering your LED, I would use different colours of wire as when the case is mounted to fabric, you have a restricted view of the LED. I used red, black and blue, but you could use a different colour scheme.

Step 3: Insert the LED Into the Case.

Bend the wires so that they are 90 degrees to the PCB. This will allow the LED to fit better into the case. When it does go in the PCB should not extrude higher than the base. Its ok if the LED is higher as an indent is present in the lid to allow for this.

If you want to seal the unit and make it waterproof, you should do this now. This is not necessary as the thread would hold the case together but I advise you to seal it if you intend to use it outside. Fill the insides with superglue and pull the wires till the LED prevents them from moving any further. Apply the lid ensuring that the holes align. Clean up any excess glue that has found itself outside of the casing.

Step 4: Your LED Button Is Now Complete! What Next?

You can now sew the button wherever you want. To power and control it, you can make use of an Arduino or NodeMCU. You can find Arduino library and sample code for this in the link below.

https://github.com/FastLED/FastLED

Step 5: Using Blynk to Control Your LEDs

This is really easy to do. You simply open the sketch file and fill in the blanks. (Click HERE to download the sketch) You will need to enter your SSID, password and Blynk token (generated when you create a project on the Blynk app). This can then be uploaded to the NodeMCU. To set up the app, create a project and grab the RGB Zebra. Set it to merged and virtual pin 2. Solder your LED to the NodeMCU using VCC for positive, G for ground and D2 for DATA. Press play and watch your LED come to life.

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