Lets get started! Thanks for joining us @Becky Stern ! While we wait for people to gather, could you tell us a bit about your work and what you do? and if anyone has questions they can go to https://hackaday.io/event/160157-led-diffusion-hack-chat)
Hi everybody! Thanks for joining the chat! I'm thrilled to be here.
I work on ill conceived and mostly impractical RF electronics
I make tutorials about electronics, crafts, and the combination thereof. I've made so many wearables using LEDs that I have tried out many diffusion techniques over the years! I currently work at Instructables.com.
Wahoo, Hi everyone!
Many of the techniques I have to share are documented in my recent guide here: https://www.instructables.com/id/13-Ideas-for-Diffusing-LEDs/
Awesome. that link is great, theres so much there.
Today I'd like to chat about paper, fabric, plastic, glue, glass, and 3D printing, just to name a few diffusion materials...
Our first question is about materials! from @Morberis " LDPE in sizes larger than 24x36 seems to have a yellowish tinge, at least from Mcmaster Carr. Do you have a thickness you recommend?" I think you recommended LDPE as a defusion material?
My background is in design-- I went to Parsons in NYC for undergrad, where I majored in Design & Technology. During grad school at ASU I started blogging for MAKE magazine and then went on to work at Adafruit and now Instructables.
Great!! @Becky Stern Design->Adafruit->Instructables.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is the type of plastic used to make shrink film and food packaging. I've never ordered it from McMaster but imagine you could use any thickness you want, depending on the application...
Sheet plastics can be sanded to cause more light refraction
When you're just starting out, it can be helpful to visit a plastics store in person to check out the materials
Our next question is from @Matt Ebel "I've been experimenting with pourable 2-part epoxies, pouring them into curved molds (silicone cupcake cups, etc) and then laying a NeoPixel ring on top of the liquid to create an attached lens that projects the ring's colors in specific ways. Right now it's all experimentation - I make a lens-ring combo, then I turn it on and place it facing a white sheet to see what kind of effect it has on the emitted patterns.
Is it possible to use tools like blender or other 3D software to reduce the trial-and-error aspect of a process like this? Are there resources to get plastic optical parts made either to spec, or in generic 'standard sizes' that would fit over common led-ring PCBs?"
Here in NYC the defacto go-to is Canal Plastics, but I've heard folks on the west coast praise Tap Plastics https://www.tapplastics.com/
What a cool technique! I'd love to see a tutorial about your workflow.
yup, Tap out here for retail plastics :)
hey @Paul Stoffregen!! The legend.
Using 3D tools, you could create your own mold forms or a jig that gets embedded with the LED ring that stands it in the right position in the mold.
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