The idea was to not simply buy a present for a noble stranger, but to make something, as it was also part of the Make in Belgium group.
The lucky girl, who I was picked for as secret santa, was into cosplay and pokemon. Given that it was nearly Christmas, I came up with the idea to create a set of unique Christmas lights, based on Pokemons.
DISCLAIMER: I really don’t known anything about Pokemon, except for the fact that it are imaginary creatures that love to fight ;-)
My strategy was to 3D print Pokemon figures using transparent filament, Z-Glass, and combine them with a string of LED lights into a unique set of Pokemon Christmas Lights. It doesn’t always have to involve rocket science ;-)
Making on the Shoulders of Giants
Now, I’m nowhere capable of designing a Pokemon figure from scratch, so what does any self-respecting hacker/maker do? … Right, visit Thingiverse and look for 3D models to remix.
I selected 4 (+ did a fifth on request by another Thingiverse user) - of which, I must admit, I knew two! How’s that for not knowing anything about Pokemon ;-)
Next I looked for a LED string to start from. I found one with 8 (that’s why I selected 4 to start with) Christmas balls at the best Maker store in town: Action. Because the string was already constructed for the same purpose, it had small metal caps that fit on top of the balls.
That left me with simply adding the same mounting head to the Pokemon models… et voila.
It took some experiments to find the right way to add the mounting head, but after some fiddling, all four Pokemon Christmas Lights came out just perfectly. And after printing 2 of each, my secret santa present was ready to be shipped.
Sigh … Each print took about 1.5 hours, and at 90% into the 4th print (FYI the second Pikachu) a blackout forced my beloved Zortrax into its very first failed print :-( Luckily I had these Christmas lights to shed some light into the darkness while I waited for the problem to be resolved.
Pictures or it didn’t Happen
Two experiments with Bulbasaur: on the left a version that only had a shell, which resulted in some inferior quality around the eyes and at the top of the head, due to the lack of infill supporting these parts. Also, because I used the shell generating feature of the Z-Suite slicer, I had to cut out the top part of the mounting head. Not a big problem, but it could be improved upon.
On the right the final version, which is printed with medium infill. Here the opening for the LED is modeled using an extraction of a cylinder. I went with this version because it had a nicer glow - which I initially didn’t expect due to the infill pattern. Luckily I tried it afterall.
An overview of all four Pokemons as 3D models:
And the final result: a LED string with four times two prints of the different Pokemons, LEDs inserted and looking gorgeous. I think I’m going to make another one for myself ;-)
Now let’s hope that at the receiving end that feeling is mutual ;-)
Give it a Try
A GitHub repository contains everything needed and everything that I created. Using OpenSCAD I imported the original STL files and added the mounting head on all four of them. The code should be self-explanatory.
I’ve also created pages for the remixes on Thingiverse and put them in a collection:
If you make any, let me know!
Happy Maker Chrismas!