Blog – Create a 3D printed versatile LED glove with Ninjaflex and glow-in-the-dark conductive filament

August 8, 2015 | From Simon

When it comes to new and exciting things to do with the latest and greatest 3D printing materials, many projects simply involve different mindsets or assemblies of existing concepts.

To highlight what is possible with conductive filament and glow-in-the-dark ninjaflex, the famous Ruiz brothers at Adafruit recently released a new project that teaches users how to make their own custom flexible led portable – Especially a glove.

Among other things, the brothers wanted to start the project and experiment to find out how well Ninjaflex can adhere to conductive PLA filaments. The two materials already combine well and their unique properties complement each other.

The finished semi-flexible integrated circuit glove design uses a coin cell battery to power 5 Adafruit LED sequins. However, in order to create their own glove, users need to have access to a 3D printer with a twin extruder.

“We believe the concepts in this project can be used to create really cool items for cosplay props and costumes,” said the brothers.

“By incorporating conductive filament into your designs, you can create embedded circuits. The conductive filament can also be used for capacitive touch sensors! “

After sourcing the parts, which include NinjaFlex Glow-in-the-Dark Filament, ProtoPasta Conductive Filament, Bare Conductive Paint, a Lithium Coin Cell, and Adafruit LED Sequins, the design process begins with users tracing their own hand to order ensure that the finished product fits as intended.

After tracing a hand with pencil and paper, the drawing can be imported into a program that allows vector tracing, e.g. B. Adobe Illustrator. Using the traced hand image in a 1: 1 scale background image, a vector path is used to create an outline that is imported into a CAD program to create a 3D extrusion of the traced line.

Additionally, ground and power traces for each finger are created and extruded at this stage to ensure all parts and paths fit as intended. As for the coin cell case, a simple cylinder can be created and peeled in the middle of the hand (think Iron Man) – which ultimately powers the conductive strips that lead to each finger after the final glove is printed.

Once the glove and parts have been optimized for 3D printing using a twin extruder 3D printer, the hand is printed in Ninjaflex while the handprints are printed in conductive PLA filament. Because these parts are printed as a single piece, they are fused together during the printing process. The Ruiz Brothers used a Flashforge Creator Pro for their project.

Before connecting any LEDs with conductive paint, the conductor tracks are tested to make sure they can actually flow electrons by inserting the button cell into the battery holder and using a piece of copper foil tape to connect the ground, followed by connecting a bare LED to each conductive pad.

Finally, the finger straps can be added to the finished glove and tested for flexibility. At this stage, the conductive paint can fix all parts that peel off in dry places – such as B. the LEDs.

“The bare conductive paint adheres pretty well to the materials, but you can remove it with a lot of force and movement,” add the brothers.

“If you feel stressed, small touch-ups can be made. Be careful not to touch or bend yourself until the conductive paint has dried. You can also use UV / black light to amplify the light when using NinjaFlex in the dark! “

Of course, the project doesn’t just have to end with the glove – the same technique can be easily applied to any number of Cosplay or Halloween costumes.

To read the build process in full, go to Adafruit.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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