How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

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 while, and are printing an InMoov robot, or some cool mechanisms. Having owned mine for a solid 3 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. Christmas, anyone? Now you don't even need a light-up tree! This whole process took me about 15 minutes, and is super simple!

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Step 1: Parts!

How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

You will need the following parts:

  • 3D printer (duh)
  • LED light strip. these have been used in many other instructables and can be purchased cheaply on amazon; Here's a link: http://amzn.com/B00B2F3KDQ
  • A small wall wart male end. This is the par that plugs into smaller devices. If you are unfamiliar with these, they are the big black boxes you plug into your outlets that power smaller things, and one end has a little stud. Look at the picture for an example. the actual male connector can be snipped off and used, or they can be picked up at Radioshack. Make sure it is the same diameter as the wall wart that came with the LED's.
  • 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 to the board if you can help it. You don't know what the load might do! Open source printers are generally better for this mod.

    Step 2: Remove the side panels

    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

    This will be different for every 3D printer, but take it apart until you find the power supply, or some wires you can use. Don't loose 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

    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

    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. If you don't have a home-built 3d printer, look for wires leading to things like LED's, then follow them back to the source. make sure you get your wire without anything crucial on it. For instance, don't splice one of the wires powering something important. It helps to know a bit about electronics at this point. Then, snip off a positive and negative wire. pull them through the case 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. Make In most cases, the positive should connect to the inside of the metal tube of the wall wart. use your multimeter to ensure it is correct.

    Step 4: Time to test it!

    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

    Now is a good chance to test everything outside the case. connect up the white box to your DIY wall wart. I went ahead and mounted the sensor. Plug in your LED's and cycle through the colors. If this doesn't work, check your wiring.

    Step 5: Fitting everything together

    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

    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 diffusion of the light
  • Make sure the wiring doesn't obstruct the fan 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, than put on the side panels!

    Step 6: Your done!

    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!
    How to add LED's to your 3D printer!

    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! Remember, if it uses 12V, it ca go in your printer. Happy hacking! (by the way, you can change the color by just using the remote included with the LED's)

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