In the GIF above, the lamp was set to a short time for demo purposes. Can be increased with the turn of a potentiometer!
When I decided to make a Minecraft themed project, the first thing that came to mind was the Creeper. With all of the updates coming to the game, the creeper is and always will be my favorite. One of the most notable things about a creeper other than the eerie hiss right before it explodes is the glow it gives off before destroying your dreams. With that in mind, I decided to make a something that would glow and settled on a nightlight.
This project is powered by a Micro USB connector, so it can run off many common sources such as a computer USB port or phone charger. In an effort to keep cost down, this light uses various simple components which will require soldering unless you prefer to keep things on the breadboard.
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Step 1: What You Will Need.
Step 2: Printing
There are 5 main pieces that need to be printed and assembled for this build. Any color can be used, but I recommend something translucent, such as 3D Solutech Natural Clear, for the creeper head itself since we want him to glow enough to act as a nightlight (well, I did anyway).
- Creaper Head
- Creeper Collar
- Button Plate
- LED RIng
These pieces are layered together in the order above and fastened together with 1" screws. However, I recommend printing in reverse order so you can assemble and work while parts print.
Step 3: Basic Lamp Assembly
The bare minimum for this nightlight only uses a few components and will remain lit when plugged in. If that is cool with you, you can skip the next step which explains involves setting up the 555 Timer.
For this step we will need to assemble our LED Ring, and solder some leads to our Micro-USB Breakout Board. The LED ring is pretty straight forward, simply slide each LED into the holes on the ring in the same direction, such as all Anodes on the outside and all Cathodes on the inside like in my photos.
Once they are all in place, we will start from any spot on the outside and working in whichever direction (I went counter clockwise) and start folding the leads to connect the LED's in parallel. Take the first outside lead, and fold it behind the outside lead in the ring and slightly wrap it outward to hold it in place, then fold that one down behind the next outer lead. Keep doing this until all of the outer leads are weaved together except for the last one which will be our connection to VCC. Once they are all connected, solder each of the joints and trim off the excess.
When the outer leads are complete, do the same thing to the inner leads starting and ending in the same locations.
After the ring is complete, we can solder some leads to the Micro-USB Breakout board and connect everything via breadboard to test the connections. A resistor is needed when powering LED's to they don't fry. After completing this project I learned it is recommended to have a resistor connecting to each LED in the parallel circuit to avoid one or more in the chain from taking too much current and frying out. For this prototype build, this will suffice..
Step 4: Timed Lamp Assembly
For this portion I followed a very detailed Instructable, 555 Timer, specifically Step 2&3 and setting the circuit up in Monostable Mode.
One key difference here is I replaced the resistor between Pin 7 and Pin 8 with a Potentiometer. The variable resistance allows the circuit to stay on for varying amounts of time. The more resistance, the longer the lamp will remain on.
Looks rather messy on a breadboard, but it cleans up nicely when soldered to proto board.
Step 5: Wire It All Together.
For this step we will need the Button plate, 4 buttons, the LED Ring and assembled timer on the proto boad. After placing a button in each corner so the pins saddle the slotted openings. Solder each the the buttons in parallel and connect to the proto board as per the diagrams in the 555 Timer Step 2&3 Instructable.
The LED Ring will sit over the center of the Button Plate and be hot glued down and the wires passed under through the hole and wired to the proto board.
I didn't fully plan ahead with the base, so I needed to cut a couple of holes. One in the back near the bottom for the Micro-USB and one in the center of the bottom for the Potentiometer to be accessible for changing the duration.
Once assembled, plug it in and press a button to test it out.
Step 6: Finish the Build.
Place the collar over the creeper head and slide it to the bottom. The collar the hold down the creeper head by covering the overhand at the base of the head. Make sure the USB port it in the back of the lamp.
Once all of the layers are aligned, place 4 1" #8 screws into each corner from the bottom of the base.
Step 7: Final Thoughts.
This prototype and Instructable was rushed, but it was a stepping stone for my original plan which was an alarm clock. With the the final project in mind I will be using an Adafruit Feather with Real Time Clock and Neo Pixel LED Ring which will make things a lot cleaner.
Another big thing I plan to do in the next version of my project is a sturdier base made out of a solid piece with various layers internally and mounting points rather than glue.