Final Stretch: Lava Lamp Tap Handle

Unfortunately, I was unable to create a silicone mold for the body of my handle, as the FormLabs printers in the Idea Forge were all out of order when I went to get my mold positive printed.  However, I did have some transparent PETG – a 3D printer filament that is stronger than typical PLA – that I decided to use for the body of the handle.

Initially, I thought utilizing a complex infill geometry for the handle body on the 3D printer would provide a unique dispersion of the light, but unfortunately I discovered that it actually prevented the light from the LEDs from getting through the entirety of the body.  I also could not make the body a 0% infill print, as the top of the body includes a topper that is meant to mimic the top of a lava lamp, and that top layer would fail without infill support.  After a few trials, I successfully tweaked an infill patter that provided the necessary support for the structure, that also allowed for light transmission through the entire body.

Unfortunately, I was unable to create a silicone mold for the body of my handle, as the FormLabs printers in the Idea Forge were all out of order when I went to get my mold positive printed.  However, I did have some transparent PETG – a 3D printer filament that is stronger than typical PLA – that I decided to use for the body of the handle.PHOTOInitially, I thought utilizing a complex infill geometry for the handle body on the 3D printer would provide a unique dispersion of the light, but unfortunately I discovered that it actually prevented the light from the LEDs from getting through the entirety of the body.  I also could not make the body a 0% infill print, as the top of the body includes a topper that is meant to mimic the top of a lava lamp, and that top layer would fail without infill support.  After a few trials, I successfully tweaked an infill patter that provided the necessary support for the structure, that also allowed for light transmission through the entire body.PHOTOThe body was the main struggle I was anticipating having, as I’ve never made a resin cast from a silicone mold before, so the rest of the project will be pretty straight forward from here on out.  I successfully programmed the LED ring to achieve the rotating rainbow effect I was looking for, and am just waiting on my switch components to arrive to complete the model of the bottom half casing of the handle to include all of the components (Battery, switch, and Arduino board)Overall I am a little disappointed in not being able to create the resin cast body, but the printed body achieves an effect that I liked better than I thought I would, and I’m really looking forward to getting it all assembled!

The body was the main struggle I was anticipating having, as I’ve never made a resin cast from a silicone mold before, so the rest of the project will be pretty straight forward from here on out.  I successfully programmed the LED ring to achieve the rotating rainbow effect I was looking for, and am just waiting on my switch components to arrive to complete the model of the bottom half casing of the handle to include all of the components (Battery, switch, and Arduino board)

Overall I am a little disappointed in not being able to create the resin cast body, but the printed body achieves an effect that I liked better than I thought I would, and I’m really looking forward to getting it all assembled!

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Christopher Seighman
    Jack Plantz
    May 8, 2019 9:33 pm

    This turned out really cool, I think the transparent PLA even looks more interesting than if it had been molded

    Reply
  • This project sounds awesome. I think your work-around was clever and you did a great job maintaining functionality but also achieving your desired aesthetic. It also sounds like you have given this project a deep level of detailed thought.

    Reply
  • Christopher Seighman
    Luke Collier
    April 29, 2019 1:49 pm

    Chris, this turned out beautifully! I’m excited to see where yo take it. I would suggest using selenite crystals on top of your tap handle. They tend to create a similar effect.

    Reply
  • Great final product! What a great design you have come up with. I think these tap handles have a lot of potential to be sold! I would keep making them if I were you. It seems like each time you have made one you find new ways to improve the next one. Great job!

    Reply

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