Light Saber Tutorial
This tutorial will show you how to make your own Light Saber using 3D printing and an Arduino! You will learn how to use LEDs, particularly RGB LEDs. You also will have to solder.
Programming the light saber offers you many possibilities, you can choose the colour you want, choose the action of the button, and you can also modify the code to add the functionality you want! J
In the ZIP files included in the download you will found a example design, which is basically just a cylinder with the right designs inside. You can open it in your favorite design software and make your own modifications so that you have your own personalized Light Saber ! :) If you make any new versions upload them to MyMiniFactory andlet me know so I can add the link to your own handle in the description here so that users can find all the different Light Sabers in the same place and choose their favourite :D Also if you print this out please share your photos, I would love to see your work.
Things you will need:
• A 3D printer (duh)
• 1 Arduino Nano
• Filament (plastic) for your 3D printer, -Transparent & Regular
• 5mm RGB (or regular) LED & Resistors
• Battery: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__17275__Turnigy_nano_tech_1200mah_2S_15_25C_Lipo_AIRSOFT_Pack.html
• Illuminated push Button: http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/illuminated-red-push-to-make-switch-n07ar
• Heat shrink tubing
• Soldering Station
Step 1:Printing the Parts
1. The saber: First of all you have to print the saber using transparent filament.
· To obtain the 3D files push the download button on this page !
· Next you will have to slice the parts: that means generate a code, representative of your 3D part which your printer will be able to understand. This action is called "slicing" because your printer prints the part layer by layer, so you need to slice your object into many digital layers. You will need to use the right slicer for your 3D printer, ask your teacher if you need help with this!
· The most important setting for the printer is the temperature of the nozzle, which will depend on the type of filament you use, the speed, the infill, the layer height, and whether you need support or not will also need to be considered.
· For the saber, just use 3 shells, no supports and a raft to be sure that it doesn’t warp.
Export your code to your SD card and take it over to the printer! J
2. The handle: Now you have to print the handle using regular filament, PLA or ABS, I printed it with a grey filament but you can choose your own colour, you can also print it in white and paint it after which allows you to add more details! J Use an infill of 15%, medium speed, and support.
3. Clips: Regular filament as well, use a low speed because they are very small parts, but don’t worry they are not hard to print.
4. Tools for LED disk construction: This part is just there to help you build the LED disk, print it with regular filament, 15% infill, and medium speed.
5. Cover: It is better to print this part with flexible filament.
Step 2: Flash the Arduino
You will find the code (lightsaber.ino) in the zip file.
Step 3: Building the LEDs disk.
Here we are going to build the LED disk which is going to light the saber.
This is not very easy to do, you have to be very thorough and organised, but if I can do it so can you! An easier way to do it is to use regular LEDs, but that will mean you will not be able to change the colours. Anyway, let’s start! J
1. Wiring LEDs, theory :
o This is the idea of what we want to do, we have to link all the blue pins together, same for the red, green and anode.
o The BLUE & GREEN LEDs have a forward voltage of 3V so you can link the cathode directly to the transistors.
o The red LED has a forward voltage of 1.8 volts, so we have to put a resistor on this one to reduce the voltage from 3 to 1.8V. To calculate the resistor we use the "Ohm law": U=R*I: U: voltage, R: Resistance, I: Current. So there: R = (3-1.8)/0.02 = 60 Ohm. There is a normalization for the value of resistors, you can’t find one resistor of 60 Ohm. So take one higher than 60, like 68 Ohm.
o First put all the LEDs inside the disk you have printed.
o Bend all the anodes to the middle, solder all of them together.
o Then do the same for the red, blue, and green pins, don’t forget to put a resistor on each red pin.
o Use some heat shrink tubing for each pin to be sure that the pins will not touch each other.
o Try to make this part as small as possible.
o Solder a wire to each pin grouping.
Step 4: Preparing the battery and the button.
· The button: Just add a 100nF capacitor between the 2 pins of the button to filter the rebound.
Link the "–" of the button LED to the same pin of the LED so this LED will turn on/off/dime with the others. The "+" goes to the 5V pin.
· Battery: The original cable of the battery are very big, which is useless for our project because that not use that much of power, so cut the cable and change the final connection. JST connection should be perfect.
Step 5: Link everything to the Arduino.
Link everything as shown below. Each LED represent a group of 3 parallel LEDs (One resistor per LED). The Arduino Nano can’t load more than 40mA on each pin, use a 150 Ohm resistor so the current in the LED will be around 10mA, that’s why we link only 3 LEDs to one pin.
Step 6: Assemble everything’s together.
Now you have all your plastic parts printed and all your electronic devices ready and linked together, we are going to plug everything together, and then we will clip our light saber closed! J
Put the clip inside the hole, take the other half of the handle, begin by placing the LEDS inside the small hole at the end of the handle, and then clip the 2 halves together. You can also use zip ties. Screw the battery cover on, clip the transparent saber on the top, and there we go!
Your own Light Saber is ready, may the force be with you!J