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DIY Glowing 3D Printed Buttons

Submitted By: 

Shalini Verma

If you want to make spark buttons for your apparel, then you can add these Adafruit 3D printed NeoPixel coat buttons for better visibility at night. All you need is Gemma, NeoPixels, conductive thread, scissors, and other simple tools. You can also customize your buttons design in Autodesk's 123D Design in whatever pattern you want.

The desktop app can be downloaded for free from Autodesk. The downloaded file contains parts that have built up the design and can be changed esp. Base Shell, Base Bottom, Cover Shell and Cover Bottom can be resized.

Adafruit has used coat buttons of diameter 25mm. The front of the coat has a cover piece while the base piece is 2mm smaller than the cover piece. The size can be changed depending on the needs and the parts are to be combined and subtracted. In the end, you will be left with two pieces which are arranged perpendicularly. It is saved as a copy in the computer and Export STL.

PLA material works without a heated bed, for most of FDM 3D printers. The transparent PLA not only comes in different colors but there are different distributors too. It is necessary that the filaments diameter size match the 3d printer, where the most common size is 1.75mm and 3mm.

The Circuit Diagram

 

The buttons are carefully removed from coat using scissors as 3d printed button base is to be sewed to the coat. The base part is placed over the area where the coat button was and the base is sewed onto the coat. Next, the NeoPixels snaps onto the base. The holes in the base are longer than the pins of the NeoPixel, which allows the conductive thread to be sewn to the NeoPixels.

The power, ground, and data pads are connected on the NeoPixels with conductive thread, which is secured inside the bottom half of the button. Make sure that the stitches are loose enough to lift buttons a few millimeters away from the surface of the coat. Now, the gemma is sewn near to the coat pocket. The gemma is positioned with the 3 pins facing towards the chain of NeoPixels. The on-board circuitry faces inside of the coat and hence provides a bit of projection. The battery can be tucked into the coat pocket.

Check out the link for complete details.