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Let’s get physical

Thursday 6 May 2021

It took over 165 hours to print all the parts of the name sign. By now I have:

  • 5 parts that make up the backside of the name sign
  • 5 parts that make up the casing of the characters
  • 16 parts that make up the fronts of all the characters
  • 5 parts that make up the QR/electronics box.

And I have 171 LEDs that need to get in there and need to be connected to the microcontroller.

Time to assemble the name sign.

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Finalizing the design of the name sign

Tuesday 4 May 2021

By now, it is clear how the name sign should look like and we now know how the LEDs behave and how to diffuse the light. And since I did some test prints, I know that the individual parts seem to work. Time to work out all the nitty gritty details of the design and prepare the 3D print files.

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Light diffuser

Sunday 4 April 2021

Each character of the name sign will get LEDs to light them up. By now, I know how to control the LEDs using a microcontroller. And I have a LED-matrix that I can use to figure out how much light is generated by the LEDs. It’s time to figure out how to diffuse the light and this is also a good moment to print out a character to see if the parts fit.

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Lights on - lights off

Sunday 21 March 2021

Now that the outline of the name sign is clear, it’s time to look at the next topic: how to add light to it? I want to be able to control the color of the LEDs, I will need to investigate how to do that. And I need to figure out how to make sure that the front of the characters diffuses the light so that the individual LEDs are not showing.

A quick search on the Internet showed that LED strips differ by the amount of LEDs per meter. This means that I also need to figure out which one to buy. Since I have no clue how much light these strips produce, nor how much light will be lost by the front of the characters, I will probably have to experiment a bit to find the answers.

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Designing the name sign

Saturday 13 March 2021

The project has started! As stated in the previous post, I will use OpenSCAD to create my name sign. OpenSCAD is not a text editor and I have no clue if it can do anything with text and fonts. So, let’s dive into OpenSCAD.

I am not big fan of reading books and long instructions, but I also don’t want to waste my time to find that it was written down in line one of a manual. This learning track was a nice mix of reading, trying, failing, searching, trying, failing, searching and finally: success.

The whole name sign thing depends on the ability to use text in OpenSCAD. I browsed the OpenSCAD website and found the Cheat Sheet; loved it. And there it is: the text module and the documentation states: “The text module creates text as a 2D geometric object, using fonts installed on the local system or provided as separate font file.”. Exactly what I need; let’s try this.

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