Adding Focused Lighting to a Tantillus RepRap Printer

120917 Manga  Light Project

Like many RepRap printers with an enclosure, the build platform on my Tantillus is a bit dark for photos and capturing good quality video. At the same time, I don’t like the gaudy mass LED football stadium lighting that a lot of builders stick on their printers. If possible, I want more controlled and focused lighting without harsh shadows or LEDs so bright they almost blind you.

A bit of poking around the local 100 yen shop (dollar store) resulted in a simple clip-on LED reading light. The light body contained 3 small coin batteries and a switch, but what I was after was just the working end of the light – the LED & circuit board, reflector, and the cap that had a small lens built-in. All the rest of the parts will go in my spare parts bin to wait to be put to good use for some future project.

Some quick testing proved that I can power the LED from the Arduino controller, perhaps even turning it on and off using statements in the print g-code for parts. That function is already designed into the Marlin firmware used by the Tantillus. Softening the LED light can be easily achieved by inserting a tiny piece of tissue paper between the LED and the lens cap.

The next step will be to decide on the light placement within Tantillus and getting the angle/orientation right so that the illumination is uniform. My guess is that strategically positioning one light on each of the front panel columns to either side of the print envelope will work well. I may add another light towards the rear to provide backlighting.

Now to design and print the new light mounts…. :)

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Avid technologist with a passion for 3D printing, RepRap, and robots of all types and sizes.

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