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3D Print The MakerTron Arduino Smart Toy

Written by Justin R. Shook on October 14, 2015.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

CAUTION: Always use the proper safety equipment when working around 3D printers and electronics. For this tutorial, use safety glasses and gloves. Always solder in a well venthilated area to avoid excess exposure to fumes.

Materials:

  • 1Your Favorite 3D Printing Filament
  • 3 colors18 Gage Wire
  • 1Adafruit Flora Chip
  • 4Sewable Neopixel LED's
  • 1500 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 1Hot Glue Stick
  • 1Roll of Electrical Tape

Tools:

  • 3D Printer
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Soldering Iron
  • CAD Software (optional)

Step 1: Fire Up Your 3D Printer!

The best part about this project is that there is no design required although customization is always welcomed! The STL files in order to placed into your favorite slicing software can be found at Pinshape.com. You can print all of the pieces off at once on an Ultimaker 2, but for the best quality and highest success rate I would recommend printing them off individually.

Ultimaker 2 MakerTron Print Bed

Ultimaker 2 General Print Settings

Layer Height 0.2 mm Flow 100%
First Layer Speed 15 mm/s Speed 50 mm/s
Ext. Temperature 210 C Bed. Temperature 60 C

Step 2: Order Your Materials

Most of the materials can be gathered from Adafruit. This is one of my favorite websites online because they sell lots of open-source electrical components that are great for 3D printed projects. My favorite part about the website is the learning system. Electronics used to be pretty daunting until I started reading through their guides. Check it out!


Step 3: Lay Out and Visualize Your Circuit

The hardest part about this project is laying out your circuit and soldering everything in the right order. Pay close attention to the next few steps. First of all, here is a diagram of the circuit we're trying to make:

Circuit Diagram for Soldering LEDs

Step 4: Cut Your Wires

Like it says in the materials section, you'll need 3 colors of wire. This is to keep you organized when you are assembling or soldering everything together. In my project, I used blue for power, brown for ground, and yellow for signal. You don't need to use these colors, but this is just what I had laying around. Once you have your color scheme figured out, cut 2 wires of each color (6 total) 55mm or 2.5in long. Next, cut 2 wires of each color (6 total) 100mm or 4in long.


Step 5: Soldering, Part 1

Separate your wires by length and solder them to the sewable Neopixel LED. The procedure for soldering is the same for each of the LEDs. In my specific case, I use blue to solder to the plus sign (power), brown for the minus sign (ground), and yellow for the input signal pointing toward the LED. 2 LEDs get the short wires for further out on the wing while 2 LEDs get the long wires to be closer to the body and run to the Flora chip.

Soldering The NeoPixels

Step 6: Soldering, Part 2

Now that you have your LEDs soldered up with wires, it's time to route your wires through the wings. Once you have short wired LED's on the outside of the wings and the long wired LED's closer to the torso, solder the short yellow wire to the remaining empty hole on the LED closest to the torso. This effectively chains the signal of the circuit. Next, do the same thing attaching the short brown and blue wires to the torso side LED to complete power and grown circuits on the wings.

Routing Wires Through Wings and Soldering

Step 7: Hot Glue to Secure the LED's

This step is pretty simple. Pull the wires coming from LEDs to seat them on the holes in the wing. Once you like the spot, hot glue everything from the backside and fill up the hole.

Hot Glue the LED's to Secure

Step 8: Soldering, Part 3

Finally, complete your circuits by soldering the brown wires to "GND", the blue wires to "VBATT", and yellow wires to "D6" on the FLORA board. You won't be able to test your circuit yet, because you need to upload your program!

Complete Soldering by Attaching to Flora

Step 9: Upload Arduino Program, Troubleshoot Circuit

Almost there! I'm not going into too much detail on this step because Adafruit has extensive documentation on FLORA and uploading/configuring an Arduino program. Check out the links and leave a comment if you can't seem to find the answer to your question.

Adafruit Flora Design Schematic

Step 10: Assemble Battery and Flora into Jet Pack

I added flanges and a compartment in the jet pack to hold the Flora chip and battery. You might have to bend your wires a little bit for everything to fit, but I went through a couple of iterations to make sure everything is secured yet accessible.

3D Printed MakerTron Completed, Posing

Step 11: Clean Up The Circuit (Electrical Tape), and Hack/Customize

I thought that adding some electrical tape would clean up the overall appearance of my MakerTron for photos. From there, I had a lot of fun learning and participating in this design contest. I would love to see people print, hack, and customize their own versions of my MakerTron. Keep the 3D print dream alive! Cheers!

3D Printed MakerTron Completed, Posing