One day I was browsing a website with models for 3D printing and saw a picture of an AtomPunk-style rocket there. At that moment, an image of a rocket lamp made of bare PCBs and LED-lit acrylic instantly popped into my head. The first design was ready in a few weeks. In the early version of the rocket, the LEDs were mounted at the end of the boards. This caused some inconvenience when mounting, as you had to hold the LED by hand when soldering. In the next version, I reworked the layout to use the surface mount. After a couple of iterations, the first lamp was ready.

I had to solve a couple of problems during the development. At first, the board manufacturer refused to make the PCBs I wanted, citing his production requirements. I had to redesign all the PCBs again so that there would be no issues later on.

Factory-made surface mounting made life much easier. But nobody is safe from defects. I still inspect every PCB and find 1 to 3 percent defective LEDs in each batch.

The first version of the rocket was controlled with buttons. You could switch modes, change colors, and control brightness with them. But I wasn't really happy with this method. So in the second version of the lamp, I switched to IR control. I now have a much wider range of control via an IR remote.

The brain of the whole system is the good old AtMega328p. Since I haven't mastered the STMicroelectronics family of microcontrollers yet, the choice was obvious. The presence of the FastLED library also simplified the task of programming. Curious users can find the pins on the rocket, with which they can upload custom firmware over the SPI interface.

Acrylic is one of the important components of the rocket lamp. The first version of the lamp used transparent Acrylic. It had good light conductivity, but it did not light up well. So I designed another version of the lamp and managed to make the Acryl glow more evenly by using a proprietary matting technology, and now the parts look richer and brighter.

The new version was also complemented by a cool stand imitating the rocket takeoff.

What are your impressions about the model?

See next project: