How to Easily Add Any Types of LEDs to Your 3d Printer

Do you have some spare LEDs collecting dust in your basement? Are you tired of not being able to see whatever your printer is printing? Well look no further, this Instructable will teach you how to add an LED light strip on top of your printer to illuminate your print bed so that you can watch your printer, well, print...

NOTE :This mod was made on a Creality Ender 3, but it should work on most 3d printers.

Enough talking, let's get started !

Supplies:

The supplies needed will depend on what you already have and what you want to do :

  1. 70 centimeters (28 inches) of both red and black wire
  2. An LED strip that is longer than 35 centimeters (14 inches)
  3. (optional) An electronic switch
  4. (optional) A soldering iron and some solder
  5. Some 3d printed parts

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Step 1: Choosing the LEDs

  1. If you want to re-use spare LEDs, check to see what voltage they use.
  • If it's 24 volts, then you're good.
  • If not, you are going to need a buck converter. This little device will allow you to convert the 24 volts coming from your printer's power supply to a lower voltage, either 5V volts or 12 volts. But we are not going to cover how to adjust the voltage. For that, check this instructable.

2. If you don't have any LEDs, you can order some through the internet, like these.

WARNING !!!

Applying 24 volts onto 12 volts or lower LEDs WILL result in burnt, blown and therefore unusable LEDs that will need to be replaced, so be careful...

Step 2: Difference Between Regular LEDs and RGB LEDs

You also need to determine if your old LEDs are RGB or not. Lucky for you, this is really easy.

  • The RGB LEDs have 4 connectors between each parts of the light strip. This means that there is some more soldering to do, but you have some extra colors to chose from other than white.
  • The regular light strip has only 2 connectors, positive and negative.

Step 3: Soldering the LEDs (regular Ones)

If you have RGB LEDs, skip to the next step.

If your light strip already has the red an black wire connectors, you can also skip this step.



If there are no wires atached, then you are going to have some soldering to do :

  1. Get some black and red wire, each of a length of around 70 centimeters, or 27.5 inches
  2. Strip both ends of the wire to expose the bare wire
  3. Heat up your soldering iron and get your solder ready
  4. Solder the red cable to the positive terminal and the black to the negative, as shown on the previous pictures
  5. Pull slightly on each cable to check if they are correctly attached to the LED's connectors

Step 4: Soldering the LEDs (RGB Ones)

If your LEDs are non-RGB, skip to the next step.


Let's get soldering :

  1. Get 1 red wire of a length of around 70 centimeters (27.5 inches), 3 wires of a length of 5 centimeters (2 inches), and 1 black wire of a length of 65 centimeters (25.5 inches).
  2. Strip all wires to expose the bare wire
  3. Solder the long red cable to the positive(+) connector of the light strip
  4. Solder the 3 small wires to each remaining connector (as shown on the picture).

You can now choose what colors your LEDs will be.

Now, we know that RGB means Red, Green, Blue. This means that these LEDs are capable of emiting a colorful light, and not just some boring white.

Wiring the RGB LEDs :

  • For just the simple white, twist the 3 small wires together to connect them into one larger cable at the end ( as shown in the above picture)
  • For red, green, or a blue light, you won't need the other two wires, so either cut them off or just don't solder them.
  • If none of those colors please you, you can try mixing 2 different wires together and see what color you get. For example, mix the red and blue to get some purple.

Step 5: (OPTIONAL) Adding a Switch

Why a switch you ask? Well, imagine you are going away from your printer while a long print is taking place, there is no point in leaving the LEDs on.

If you don't care, then just skip this step.


I just took a random switch I had laying around, but if you don't have one, you can buy one here.

Now, to wire it into your circuit :

  1. Cut the long red wire about 5 centimeters (2 inches) from the top
  2. Strip the wires you just cut to expose the bare wire
  3. Solder one wire to any of the prongs of the switch, and do the same for the other longer part of the red wire

Step 6: Hanging the LED Strip Onto the Printer

Now that you have your circuit all wired up, you just need to actually attach it to the frame of the printer.

To do that, I printed out this model to hold the light strip. I had to print the model twice to fit on the whole top frame, but if it doesn't fit, you can just look up some other adaptors/holders that are meant for your printer by searching on Thingiverse.

Additionaly, if you went ahead and wired up a switch, this model houses the switch perfectly and snaps snuggly on the frame of the printer.

For extra safety measures, you can print this model to secure the wires to the frame and prevent them from going loose and catching onto the roller wheels and ruining your print.

Step 7: Connecting the Wires to the Power Supply

Hang in there, you're almost done !

All that's left to do is to wire the red and black wire to your printer's power supply.

To do this :

  1. Turn off your printer and disconnect it from the outlet. This unit is dangerous, if not handled correctly it could hurt you really bad !
  2. Unscrew your power supply from your printer and open it up to reveal the screw terminals
  3. Unscrew the first positive(+) screw and wrap the red wire around it, then screw the screw with the wire attached down to make a solid connection, as indicated on the picture above
  4. Repeat step 3, but with the black wire and onto the negative(-) screw terminal
  5. Close up the power supply and screw it back up onto the printer

Step 8: Enjoy :)

Now that you are done, turn your printer back on and enjoy your hard work !

Also, don't forget to check out my Instagram page for more awesome 3d printing content !

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    6 Discussions

    0
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    Dolon12

    16 days ago

    Great idea. Put my LED strip to good use now. I made small brackets to hold the strip. Printed in 10 mins each. Used old USB socket to connect to Power Supply 12V

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    1
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    thedeveloperguy

    22 days ago

    I made a similar upgrade on my printers (they are on a pretty tight shelf) but with the stock Anet A8 power supply the light flickers a lot. It's probably pretty underpowered for the job.
    Is this the case with the Ender too? (I will have a separate supply for bed and extruder heating, but it's currently like this)

    2 replies

    For me there is no problem. And yeah, the first thing that came to my mind was a power supply that isn’t powerful enough.
    You could maybe try finding a transformer for appliances that matches the voltage of your LEDs.

    1
    None
    Penolopy Bulnick

    24 days ago

    These looks really handy! I'm always trying to maneuver lights over the printer or using my phone flash light to see what I'm doing :P

    1 reply