Oct. 8, 2014 | By Alec

It's starting to become expected of the creative masterminds over at Adafruit: they've already shared so many original 3D printing projects with us – like this 3D printed Daft Punk Helmet – that you begin to wonder how they can continue to surprise us. But once again, they have revealed a very original, cool and very comprehensive 3D printing tutorial that is sure to impress your friends and family.

Noe Ruiz, one of Adafruit's most talented designers, is preparing to turn heads at Halloween with his newest creation. As can be seen in the photographs, it's got a bit of Star War's storm troopers, but also reminds us of a number of other Sci-Fi games and movies. As he states in his tutorial, ' It's got lasers, EL wire and of course, NeoPixel LEDs. In this project, we're mounting glowy electronics to some 3D printed parts to light up your face!'

Like most of Adafruit's wonderful creations, the whole idea behind it is that 3D printing enthusiasts can relatively easily make their own copy using just a handful of parts and a small helping of programming. However, this particular gasmask has fewer steps than most of their inspiring prints, so even relatively inexperienced hobbyists are definitely welcome to give it a go.

It comes with a very comprehensive and easy to follow tutorial, which can be found here, that will guide you through all the printing, assembling and wiring phases of this cool project. All STL files that you need can be downloaded from the website too, while all necessary parts can be bought through their web store.

The necessary parts are:

  • 1 16x NeoPixel Ring
  • 1 24x NeoPixel Ring
  • 1 Laser Diode - 5mW
  • 1 GEMMA
  • 1 Costume Goggles
  • 1 500mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
  • 1 Slide switch
  • 1 2.5 meter EL Wire (Any color)
  • 1 EL Wire Inverter

While this list of electronics might seem a bit daunting, Ruiz assures us that the 3D printing phase is actually the most complicated one. The whole mask consists of some 16 different parts, and it will take a regular desktop FDM printer about 14 hours to print all of them. Just about any printer can be used, though you will need a 3d printing build area of 180mm x 150mm y 150mm z.

Ruiz himself printed his mask on a Makerbot Replicator 2, and all slice settings are designed for that type of printer. You can print your mask in ABS, though Ruiz advises using PLA filament to achieve the best finish and minimize warping of the plastic. All of the parts have their orientations centered for printing piece by piece, and the Adafruit team recommends printing everything individually to optimize quality.

Once you've printed your parts, they can just be snapped together tightly. 'If things are too tight, you can however use a Dremel tool or sand paper to loosen up the openings.' Some light programming of the Arduino IDE is necessary for the NEO Pixel rings, but all of that is covered in the tutorial as well. Simply follow Ruiz's steps to for programming, assembly and wiring, and before you know it you'll have your very own dystopian gasmask.

Finally, Ruiz warns us that it might take a bit of modifying to make it both comfortable and suitable for your own face. Comfort can be increased by adding some pieces of weather proof foaming, which you can find in just about any DIY store. Just make sure nothing sharp is stabbing you in the face, adjust your strap, and your good to go.

All in all, this cool project doesn't involve a lot of steps, while assembly and programming involves little work, making it a very fun project for every 3D printing enthusiast.

Take a look at this YouTube clip detailing all steps:

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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