JoiWiki » Maker » 3D Printing » 3D Printing How To » Add an LED Strip to Your Printer Add an LED Strip to Your Printer

Add an LED Strip to Your Printer

LED strips can be a great way to pimp out your 3D printer and, much more usefully, provide enough light for you to see your printer at work in detail. Using RGB LED's will mean that you've got much more control over the look of your printer and there are a number of options to chose from, whether you're using octoprint and want full control over wifi or you simply want a light to turn on and off with your printer.


Colouring options:

 As I mentioned above, there are a few different options when deciding to outfit your 3D printer with LED lights, first among these is whether you want fixed-colour or RGB lighting. As you'd expect, using a fixed-colour LED strip means that you're confined to just the one colour of light and would need to change the setup to make any adjustments to this but if you just want to be able to see you print more clearly then this might well be all you're looking for, the setup for this is also much simpler as there aren't any control signals to worry about. 


Fixed Colour LED

  • Pros
    • Only two cables to deal with
    • Only power consideration so no need to worry about sending a control signal anywhere
    • Control can easily be set up using a physical switch
  • Cons
    • Just the one colour


  • Pros
    • All the colours of the rainbow!
    • Lighting can be Adjusted via software/hardware
  • Cons
    • 4 cables to deal with
    • will need either a software or hardware solution to control the lighting 
      • A hardwarew solution will need a number of controls for all 3 pins


Choosing a Behaviour

 The behaviour of the lighting will depend on where you chose to power your lighting from and where you chose to control it


Power Source

  • From the Printer
    • Printer Power Supply 
      • This can be a quick and dirty way of connecting your lighting to a power supply but make sure that you're using lights which can accept the output voltage you're now connecting them to, the major risk with with approach is supplying too much current to your lights directly.
    • Printer Mainboard
      • It's generally much safer to connect your LED's to the mainboard on your printer. That way you can be sure that you're supplying a reasonable amount of voltage. One of the main risks with this setup is draining too much current from the board
  • From a plug
  • From Octoprint
    • As Octoprint is run on a raspberry PI you can power your LED's via either a usb port or the pins directly


Control Source

  • Physical Controls
    • Fixed Colour
      • Physical controls for an fixed colour LED setup are easy as there is only one property you want to control and that's the power!. Generally a simple switch will serve most purposes here but if you wanted to get really fancy you could use some kind of variable resistor to let you fade the brightness in and out.
    • RGB
      • RGB lighting is a little more complicated as the way that it works in that you have a power line as an input and then 3 pins (R, G and B-) which control the brighness of different colours. That being the case ideally you'll want a way to control the level of resistance 
  • Software Controls
    • OctoPrint
    • Marlin
  • No Controls
    • If all of the above seem like a lot of work then you can always hardwire your lighting to always be on whenever the power source is on, simply ignore any kind of switching and wire the power line directly to the power source and the neutral line directly to the neutral.







Created by JBaker. Last Modification: Sunday October 6, 2019 15:18:24 BST by JBaker.