For my main project I am planning on designing a beer tap handle that has some dynamic lighting functionality to it. Recently at my internship I worked on a project where I was tasked to prototype various methods of producing a lighting effect for a surgical device. One method that didn’t work perfectly for the application, but I found interest in, was using flexible fiber optic tubing as light piping.
Having some experience with producing these lighting effects, I’ve been searching for some inspiration on what design could incorporate this aesthetic. One thing that I found would be an interesting way to incorporate it would be a weeping willow tree. The Tree of Souls in the movie Avatar came to mind and I think this method would be a great way to produce a similar effect in a physical product.
This past week I pitched to the CU Boulder Innovation Seed Funding group, where I was awarded funding to purchase a dual extruder for my 3D printer. What I would love to do with these capabilities is incorporate conductive filament into a 3D printed tap handle. This would allow me to incorporate a battery and integrated LEDs into the handle. The below sketch is a cross section of what I am thinking about doing to incorporate the electronics.
The handle will screw apart to allow for insertion/replacement of the battery, and the conductive filament will complete the circuit of the battery to the board of LEDs. To control them I will use a small Arduino microcontroller. The handle body will be printed and stained in woodfill PLA to give it a more natural feel.
This will definitely be a significant undertaking for design and assembly, but I think it is feasible and I am looking forward to finishing it!