Do you remember when Pokemon Go became a thing and pretty much EVERYONE went crazy for it? I have long uninstalled the game, but not before I managed to walk my share of miles in attempt to 'get them all'. I started 3D printing Pokemon toys as gifts for some of my more enthusiastic friends. I begun with bulbasaur and oddish planters and eventually ended up making a full size incubator that also works as a night lamp. And here's how you can make your own.
You will need:
-Most parts are 3D printed, so you will need a 3D printer.
-Craft knife, sanding paper, scissors
-Two part epoxy
-Good quality acrylic paints
-Acrylic rod (5mm thick, 6cm long) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-3-4-5-6-8-10-12-15mm-...
-8cm polystyrene egg (available online or in hobby shops) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Polystyrene-Egg/2624769...
-Disposable brush, disposable shot glasses or yogurt pots
-Small brush (nail art brush would be perfect)
-Acrylic tube (the one I'm using is 120mm wide, 3mm thick and 140mm long) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Plastic-Acrylic-Perspex...
-Toothpicks; cotton buds; masking tape; two disposable syringes or small piping bags (OPTIONAL)
-6 LED strips
Step 1: Modify STL Files
Before you turn your 3D printer on, make sure your switch and acrylic tube are exactly the same as the ones I'm using. If they are not, you will have to modify the STL files yourself.
A few words about the acrylic tube. This part of the project is by far the most annoying one. Finding the right tube was very difficult as there aren't that many options available online (unless you want to buy a 2m long tube). I provided a link to an eBay store that sells the 120/114 tube. That tube is 20cm long, so you will have to trim it to ~140cm. You don't need any fancy equipment for that, just use a junior hacksaw.
If you don't mind your incubator being a bit flimsy you could find softer plastic that matches the desired size. Perhaps a plastic storage jar or a soda bottle. I recommend you find the right tube and build your project around it and adjust the incubator dimensions accordingly.
Step 2: Printing
If you have found the right tube and modified the STL files provided let's start printing.
Print top and bottom at 5 or 10% infill, 0.2 layer (or go for higher quality if you have the time and patience), 1.2-1.6 mm wall and get some extra layers at the top to make sure that the top is smooth and there is no pillowing.
Once printed, remove the brim with a sharp craft knife and sand it lightly. If you are printing using white filament and plan on leaving it as it is make sure your sanding paper doesn't bleed. Some sanding papers tend to dye white filament and it's nearly impossible to remove that discoloration.
Print ''other bits'' (bottom lid to cover the wires and that tiny bit at the top of the incubator) and rims in your chosen colour. Sand and trim rims (see picture 5)
Step 3: Painting Details
The devil is in the detail, so go ahead and paint a thin rim around this bit. Use thick and opaque acrylic paint and a very thin brush, keep your hand steady and have some q-tips on hand to wipe the mistakes quickly. You can free hand it or use a masking tape to mark the edges clearly.
Here's a tiny tip to make painting easier and less messy. If you try painting sharp lines on raw plastic, your paint will most likely bleed. I like to prepare the plastic by either applying a thin layer of PVA glue (any glue will do, as long as it dries clear) or a thin layer of FLO PLAST.
FLO PLAST is a chemical used by plumbers, it's cheap and widely available at DIY stores. It dissolves PVC pipes and helps to bond them together. It also dissolves PLA, not a lot, but enough to smooth it a little bit and prevent paint from bleeding. It works as a kind of primer, but dries clear.
Seal everything using spray on varnish.
Step 4: Bottom Lights
The bottom part of the incubator has two green and one red lights.
Take two pieces of semi-rigid, red and green coloured plastic and cut them into small enough pieces to fit inside the light 'cavity'.
Mix small quantity of two-part epoxy and use it to glue the plastic pieces on the inside. Keep it in place with your fingers until it dries. Don't forget to USE GLOVES. Apply a layer of hot glue on top of the plastic pieces to keep them in place and create a light diffusion effect.
Step 5: Egg Preparation
Make sure your egg doesn't have any dents or imperfections. Sand it lightly to remove the tiny polystyrene balls on the surface, rinse it and dry with kitchen towels.
You can paint it now, but I like to go a bit further and smooth it out. Not many products work well with polystyrene, as most of them just dissolve it, but I find epoxy works great. Mix a small batch of two part epoxy in a disposable shot glass or yogurt pot (you have to work fast, it dries in an instant). Poke a skewer or a chopstick through the egg to hold onto something while you paint. Using a disposable brush apply epoxy in an even layer, smooth it out as much as you can and work fast, as it gets gooey very quickly. Leave it to dry for an hour. Once it is fully dry and no longer sticky, use sanding paper to smooth the surface.
Paint using acrylic paints. When dry, remove the skewer, apply a small amount of epoxy inside and attach the acrylic rod.
Step 6: Soldering
Cut six pieces of LED strips and apply solder. Take one strip and wire both sides with 5cm long wires. Wire the SPST switch.
Take five loose LED strips (picture 2) and arrange on a black piece of foam sheet (cut to size to fit inside the top, as shown in picture 3) and adhere with glue gun. Wire them together. Last strip is wired to a 20cm wire. Glue the foam sheet inside the top part (picture 3)
Use the glue gun to attach the last remaining LED strip (picture 4)
Take the switch and thread its wires through the hole in the bottom part and pop it in place. Connect one switch wire with positive wire from the LED strip (picture 5)
Wire female plug with a positive wire from the switch and a negative wire from the LED strip (picture 6)
Apply solder and secure the wire connections with the heat shrink tubes. Use the glue gun to secure the female plug.
Step 7: Assembly
The incubator bottom is printed with a small hole underneath a thin layer of plastic (picture 1). Identify it and drill through with a small drill bit. This hole will be used to connect top and bottom LED strips.
(picture 2) Grab outside and inside rims, put them together (don't glue them!) and use them to identify and mark the centre of the incubator base. You have to drill a 5mm hole there to fit your egg.
Glue the inside rim using epoxy. Don't glue the outside part.
Take your outside rims and check if their holes are big enough to fit a straw through. If not, use a drill to make them bigger (picture 4&5).
Grab one outside rim and remaining inside rim and glue them together using small beads of epoxy. Place them on a sheet of waxed paper to dry (picture 6).
Use epoxy and disposable syringes to attach outside rims to both ends of acrylic tube (picture 7-9).
Use a straw to guide you and make sure everything is straight. Push it all the way to the end and trim it (picture 10)
Step 8: Final Assembly
Use epoxy to glue top part of the incubator to the acrylic tube. Thread LED wires through the straw before glue sets. Weigh it down with something heavy and let the glue dry.
Attach the egg with epoxy (picture 3)
Thread the wires through the hole at the bottom (picture 4), apply glue and position the tube in place. Weigh it down and wait for it to dry.
Flip it upside down and connect top LED strips with bottom ones. Plug it in and check if it lights up.
Use glue to attach the lid and that tiny bit on the top.
Step 9: Variations
It's up to you which colour variation to go for. You have three different egg colours to choose from and two different rims, all together six different possibilities.
Step 10: Finished
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