3D Printed Adafruit NeoPixel LED Frames

I’m experimenting with different 3D printed LED frames printed with ABS (see “Avoid Warping ABS on Ultimaker 2“). I frame multiple Adadfruit 8×8 NeoPixel WS2812B LED modules with 3D printed diffuser and frames to create color effects:

Diffuser with Frame Effect

Diffuser with Frame Effect

I’m printing the frames and the inlays/diffusers in ABS so it can withstand the heat produced by the LEDs. In Autodesk I have different 3 models for the inlays and grids:

LED Diffuser Grids in Autodesk

LED Diffuser Grids in Autodesk

For the frames I have created different ones depending the number of LED modules:

3D Models of Frames

3D Models of Frames

To test the inlays I printed smaller test versions:

Small Test Matrix Prints

Small Test Matrix Inlays

The frames can be printed one after each other and then put togehter:

Printed ABS Frames

Printed ABS Frames

With this I can combine different frames with different inlays. Below is a black inlay inside a white frame, on two Adafruit 8×8 Matrix modules:

White Frame with Black Inlay

White Frame with Black Inlay

Below a one-unit and a two-unit frame version:

Black One-Unit and White Two-Unit Frames

Black One-Unit and White Two-Unit

The black inlay makes a clear separation between pixels, good for displaying text:

Black Frame with Black Inlay

Black Frame with Black Inlay

This works in the same with the white frame:

White Frame with Black Inlay Effect

White Frame with Black Inlay Effect

In the above picture, the black inlay shields the light from the frame. I have created another black inlay which is open to the frame side:

Open Black Inlay

Open Black Inlay

This creates a nice ‘glow into the frame’ effect:

Outside Glow Effect

Outside Glow Effect

Glow Effect with White Frame

Glow Effect with White Frame

The white inlay lets the LED color diffuse to the nearby grid areas. Below is a version with a white frame and an ‘open’ white inlay:

White Frame with White Open Inlay

White Frame with White Open Inlay

This creates a nice diffused colors effect. Great for ambient effects, and text is still readable:

White Frame Diffused

White Frame Diffused

Summary

3D Printing LED Frames is great fun and I can experiment with different visual effects. Changing frames and different inlay types create different effects. In a next step I plan to increase the number of modules for a 24×8 and a 24×16 Pixel.

The sources of this project are available on GitHub.

Happy Framing 🙂

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9 thoughts on “3D Printed Adafruit NeoPixel LED Frames

    • yes, indeed amazing technology. Printing time depends on many factors, and is basically proportional to the amount of material used/printed. I just have printed another frame (15 cm long), and it took 48 minutes. Larger pieces take longer of course.

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      • I guess it takes more to draw the parts and to prepare things, so it seems ok, or at least bearable.

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      • Yes, the 3D modeling can be very time consuming, and I had to go through a learning curve. As with everything, it goes better and faster with more experience.

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  1. You mention the heat from the LEDs. I assume you are already lighting the LEDs with a PWM signal to save power/heat? AFAIK, the eye responds to peak intensity rather than absolute power. Eyes are also very non-linear.

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    • The LEDs have a built-in constant current driver which can be set with a 8bit pwm value for each color (WS2812B). At full brightness every LED takes about 20 mA at 5V, so 60mA per pixel. So lots of current and lots of heat. I measured temperature around 55 degree C. Having it in frame without much cooling/airflow will not be good with using PLA. I did not face problems yet with ABS.

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  2. Hi Erich,
    I need an advice. So i want an audio board to connect with KL25z. I need it for voice in (read) and voice out (play), with each for 30 sec record approx. I am thinking of using AUDIO PLAYBK BOARD- APR 33A3. Please advice if this ok? Or you suggest anything better?

    Thanks so much
    Sabiha

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