Oct 15, 2016 | By Tess

For anyone who uses makeup on a regular basis, you’ll know how crucial it is to keep your makeup brushed sterilized from bacteria that could harm your skin. You’ll also know what a chore it can be to vigilantly clean them and keep them in good condition. Fortunately, if you are somewhat tech savvy and have an afternoon free there is an easy solution for your brush cleaning woes: a 3D printed UV Brush Cleaner.

The device, developed by Adafruit’s prolific Ruiz Brothers and maker Becky Stern, is a great and effortless way to both dry your makeup brushes as well as keep them sterilized and in good shape. Impressively, the tool, which fits easily onto a desk or makeup counter, can fit up to nine brushes, and, using specially designed holders, keeps the brushes’ bristles in tact. All you’ll need to make your own UV Brush Cleaner is a 3D printer, TPU filament, UV LEDs, and a few other items, listed below:

  • 15 100-ohm resistors
  • Half-size perma-proto
  • Powerboost 500 Basic or Powerboost 500C
  • USB Power Only Cable with Switch
  • 5V 1A USB Port power supply
  • 2500mAh Lithium Ion Polymer Battery
  • Silicone wire in red and black
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Wire strippers
  • Diagonal flush snips
  • Helping third hand tool
  • Panavise
  • Various sizes of flathead screws and nuts

As you may have guessed by the name already, the UV Brush cleaner uses ultraviolet light to keep the brushes sterile. UV photons, which can have harmful effects on DNA molecules or living organisms, can be harnessed to sterilize things like equipment, water, and evidently, makeup brushes. As the makers explain in their tutorial, “Our UV/UVA 400 nm LEDs cause distinct mutations in bacteria and enough UV light will kill bacteria.” The makeup brush holder also integrates a small fan and ventilation, which helps to dry the brushes after being washed.

The structure of the UV Brush Cleaner is pretty much entirely 3D printed, and the separate files for the different parts can be downloaded through Thingiverse. Notably, if some parts are too large for you to print on your 3D printer, the makers simply advise to cut some of the models up and then glue them together once they are printed. Additionally, some parts will print with supports, which they explain can be easily removed with the use of a pair of flat pliers. Here are a few more print settings to take note of for the project: support infill percentage is set to 20% with a 4mm pillar resolution, use a .3mm horizontal offset from the part for support separation, and set upper and lower vertical separation layers to 1, and bring dense infill to 50%.

In their tutorial, the makers note that to build their UV makeup brush holder they used a dual extrusion 3D printer, which allowed them to combine rigid and flexible materials. Specifically, the makers used a NinjaFlex filament to print the makeup holder rings so that double sided brushes can easily be slid in through a slit in the side to avoid damaging any bristles. The flexible filament also means that the slitted holders can accommodate a wide range of brush sizes. If you don’t have a dual extrusion 3D printer, however, you can simply print the two parts for the rubber stoppers separately and glue them together.

Of course, there is some wiring involved, which consists of arranging the UV LEDs evenly across the two sides of your circuit board, connecting an Adafruit Powerboost powered by a 5V USB port power supply, prepping resistors, and soldering wires. For details on wiring and soldering the circuit board, be sure to check out the Ruiz Brothers’ tutorial.

Once you’ve successfully 3D printed all the parts and have your circuit board ready, you can begin the assembly process, which involves just a few steps. First you’ll have to mount the circuit boards into the 3D printed frame, as well as mount the fan using screws. Once they are secure, you can add the battery to the inside wall of the box and subsequently attach the bottom of the UV Brush Cleaner, making sure to align the USB port and the PowerBoost. Then, simply plug in the USB, connect it to the PowerBoost and the USB on/off switch, and test the power. If it works, snap the 3D printed top onto the box and voila, you’ve got yourself a 3D printed UV Brush Cleaner, courtesy of Adafruit.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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