Hi guys, got a pretty big update today
Before i start working on the inside of the case, i wanted to finish the exterior. Since the front cover and inlay are ready, let's go over to the backlighting. To create a smooth lighting i'm going to use the same concept as i used in the sLights from my previous builds. From bottom to top i'll need a frame, a backplate which reflects as much light as possible, the thick acrylic plate to break the light coming from the edges and the visible part, the inlay in this case. I use white LED stripes with a density of 120LEDs/m, these are really bright. Some people use standard clear 8 or 10mm acrylic plates and engrave a pattern to achieve a smooth light distribution. I never did it this way but i bought the so called EndLighten T from Evonik which is specially made for this purpose and distributes the incoming light from the edges very evenly. The reflecting backplate will be created with chrome/mirror wrap from Oracal, the best and cheapest way i can think of.
So all that's left is the frame and i'm not going to use angle profiles again - this time i want to make use of my new printer. I created a first design in CAD and this is what it looks like in Slic3r. Slic3r is an amazing tool to prepare your 3D models for printing. This is needed to set all the parameters before printing, so the printer knows what to do. Even for a beginner like me pretty easy to use!
First i wanted to print this piece with PLA, one of the most common printer filaments which is recommended for beginners because chances of failing your prints are pretty low. On the downside PLA starts to lose stability at 60°C, that's why i decided to use ABS. Everything went fine, to keep the smell of molted ABS out of my room i kept the window open all the time. Right here it's printing the infill, a structure generated by Slice3r to save time and material while still maintaining the stability.
But then the open window ruined my print... 5 hours after the start it got late and cold outside, the heated bed keeps the object at around 100°C, the cold air from outside cools it down at the surface. The temperature difference leads to tension inside the object which then leads to the so called "warping".
There are some ways to correct a warped print afterwards, but in addition i also got a layer shift because i had the printer running at a too high speed. The whole print got shifted about 5mm and i aborted the print after nearly 6 hours and went to bed a bit frustrated.
The next day i decided to print it in PLA, i will try ABS with smaller prints first to get the hang of it. The LEDs will get warm, but not that warm so i won't have to worry about the PLA losing it's stability. I also redesigned the frame to save some material and time.
This time it didn't even take 3 hours and i had no problems at all, the print turned out perfect.
To secure the frame later i designed hexagonal recesses to put in M3 nuts.
Let's go over to the front part of the case, still needs some preparing.
After sanding i did a test fit.
In the meantime i printed a 1mm thick plate which will be used as the backplate later.
Outside i went on with the distribution plate. I bought it last year already and had other measurements back then, time to adjust this.
Another test fit.
After cutting the plate i needed to sand and polish the edge again.
This is what it looks combined.
Inside again i prepared the LED stripes.
The little canals i left in the frame will be used for the cables, these fit in there perfectly.
Time to put the chrome wrap on the backplate..
And another test before i put everything together. You notice i test these things very often, but i rather take the time to do so than to take it apart later when something doesn't work.
With the distribution plate installed:
Everything works, let's put it together.
And the result looks amazing!
Last step, cable sleeving..
I really enjoy working with the printer. It's a cool gadget but when you use it for parts like this it turns into a powerfull tool and i'm looking forward to use it more often in future.