How to Add LED's to Your 3D Printer!

Introduction: How to Add LED's to Your 3D Printer!

About: I am Rocket Burns. Yes, that's my real name! I am in middle school at Pine View, down in Florida. I like building a variety of projects, some more normal than others (see my website for some projects I made th…

So you just either bought or built your own 3d printer, and have spent hours printing little key chains and robots. Or maybe you have had yours for a long time, and are printing an InMoov robot or some cool mechanisms. Having owned mine for a solid 6 months, I felt something was lacking. Then it hit me, lights! Some 3D printers already have these, like the Ultimaker 2, and I think the Makerbot now lights up the print bed. But I have yet to see one with remote-controlled color-changing mood lights! In this Instructable, I will show you a quick and easy way to add flair to your 3D printer. This whole process took me about 15 minutes, and is incredibly simple!

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Step 1: Parts!

You will need the following parts:

  1. 3D printer
  2. LED light strip. these have been used in many other Instructables and can be purchased cheaply on amazon; Here's a link:
  3. A small wall wart power adapter (see the picture if unclear).
  4. shrink wrap, electrical tape, Kapton tape, etc.

Note about the 3D printer: Make sure you can access the 12v power supply. I built the Rostock Max V2, so it was a normal computer ATX power supply, but it depends on your printer. Never splice anything going directly to your controller board if you can help it. You don't know what the load might do! Open source printers are generally better for this mod, but I am sure you could find some power wires in other types of printers.

Step 2: Remove the Side Panels

This will be different for every 3D printer, but take the printer apart until you find the power supply, or some wires you can use. Mine was easy, I just had to remove some side panels. Don't lose any screws, and make sure you can put it back together. This will be different for every printer, so I am being a bit vague.

Step 3: Wire Up the Molex Commector

Now it is time to find and wire your power source. If you have a home-built printer, you probably used just a normal computer power supply. locate one of the Molex connectors (as shown in picture), or any black and yellow wires. Quickly power the printer on and use a multimeter to ensure the wires provide 12V. (Pro tip, the power wires are usually black and yellow) If you don't have a home-built 3d printer, look for wires leading to things like your controller board, or anything that looks like it might draw power. then follow them back to the source. If your power source doesn't have any spare wires, you should be fine splicing some that lead to non-integral or low current drawing components of your printer. Make sure you get your wire without anything crucial on it. For instance, don't splice one of the wires powering something important. While the LED's do draw little power, it's better to be safe than sorry.It helps to know a bit about electronics at this point. Then, snip off a positive and negative wire. pull them through the case to wherever you plan to fit the LED's in. They may require some extra wire. I wanted to thread mine through the other side, but it wasn't long enough. That's why I added the extra wiring. You can go ahead and add the wall wart as well. Snip the wire off of your wall wart adapter, and strip the ends of it. slip shrink-wrap over the end of the wire and loosely connect it to your power wires. Once you have ensured the polarity is correct, you can solder and shrink-wrap the connection.

Step 4: Time to Test It!

Now is a good chance to test everything outside the case. connect up the white box that came with your LED's to your wall wart connection. I went ahead and mounted the sensor to the side of my case as well. Plug in your LED's and cycle through the colors with the included remote. If this doesn't work, check your wiring, and ensure the polarity of your wires is correct.

Step 5: Fitting Everything Together

Bind the LED's together and find a place for them inside the printer. Here are some good tips:

  • Look for a place where they will be visible
  • Translucent panels work best for diffusing of the light
  • Make sure the wiring doesn't obstruct any fans or rattle around too much

The acrylic panels on the Rostock Max v2 work great because they appear black when the LED's are off, but show off the innards of my printer when they are on. Test it once more, then put on the side panels (or whatever part of the printer you removed)!

Step 6: Your Done!

Admire your lights! Mine can be left on for 10,000 hours before they start to dim, so I'm not worried about that. Have fun modding your printer! Happy hacking!

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