For my final project, I have been working to create a beer tap handle that will incorporate a dynamic lighting effect. To achieve this lighting effect, I have purchased an Adafruit Neopixel ring and an Adafruit trinket Arduino microcontroller to control the lighting effect.
My main constraint going into this project though is the aesthetic. I decided that I would like to create the tap handle to conform to the aesthetic of a beer brand, which could be an actual brand or one I choose to create. As of right now, my best running idea is a beer called Lava Lamp Lager, and I will work to create a tap handle that recreates the aesthetic of a lava lamp. I am open to suggestions though, as I would enjoy creating a handle for an actual beer but have had a hard time finding ones without existing tap handle designs.
To create this lava lamp effect, I think incorporating the light to make the lava glow will be the source of my dynamic lighting. For optimal optical clarity, utilizing a resin mold for the body of the lamp will be the best method, and I will insert some object (possibly 3D printed shapes) to give the illusion of the lava flowing through the lamp. Once I model the body of the lamp, I will print it utilizing the resin printers in the ITLL to create a smooth mold for the resin.
My biggest technical challenge will be the incorporated electronics. I have purchased conductive filament for my 3D printer and a dual extrusion kit for the ability to build electrical connections into my printed parts. The biggest struggle will be ensuring that the electronics are functional and safe within the handle, as it will be at risk to exposure to liquids during its use. The two options I am thinking of to mitigate this risk are:
- Coating the parts in the resin used to create the lamp mold, as it will create a seal around the part. I have used this method before to create a waterproof seal on a printed mug so I am familiar with the process
- Printing the parts in ABS and utilizing acetone vapor smoothing to create a seal on the parts. ABS reacts to acetone in a way that partially degrades the plastic in a “melting” way, allowing the parts to smooth over the layer lines and create a waterproof seal. I have never utilized this method before, so it may be a risk to undertake something new.
Overall I think I’m at a good place with my design, the trouble will be the execution. I am looking forward to the challenge and sharing my design!