Oct 30, 2015 | By Tess

Makers and 3D designers everywhere have gotten into the Halloween spirit by creating various 3D printed costume accessories or spooky decorations, such as these awesome 3D printed sliding Wolverine claws, this homemade animatronic tail, and various other creations. Now, in the final days before the 31st, if you are still looking for fun things to 3D print to make your Halloween spookier perhaps this adorably scary Flying Purple People Eater doorbell cover will tickle your fancy.

The 3D printed, electronic, and animatronic purple people eater was inspired by the iconic monster sung about in the classic Sheb Wooley song from 1958. It was designed by the Ruiz Brothers in collaboration with Phillip Burgess, the designer of this electric animated eye project. Their project has been posted on Adafruit where the necessary .STL files can be downloaded for free.

Since the decoration is electronic and animatronic, there are additional parts aside from the 3D printed files. They are listed below:

  • Adafruit 1.44” TFT Display
  • Teensy 3.2 / Teensy 3.1
  • Adafruit Lipoly Backpack
  • 500mAh Lithium Polymer Batter
  • Slide Switch
  • 2x 16mm Momentary Pushbutton
  • UV Purple 5mm LED
  • 1x Acrylic Cabochon (for the Eye Lens)
  • 4x #4-40 3/8 flat Phillip machine screws

For the 3D printed components, the makers note that they were specifically designed to fit the non-printed parts listed above so if any other parts are used adjustments to the CAD files would likely be necessary. There are seven separate 3D printed parts, which can be easily assembled with the other components.

In terms of materials, the Ruiz Brothers suggest the following filaments for the corresponding additively manufactured pieces:

  • Purple PLA for the face bottom and face top parts
  • PLA for the wall mounting plate, and attaches to face parts
  • GlowFill for the hollow unicorn horn, and
  • Ninjaflex for the left and right wings.

Of course, it is possible to 3D print the pieces in any filament desired, as you can always paint them.

Importantly, and in preparation for adding the electrical components, the face bottom and face top parts have to be glued together. The makers suggest using E6000 adhesives, as they are sure to keep the parts strongly bonded together. Once you have glued them together, be sure to wait several hours to make sure the glue is dried and secure.

Once the 3D printed parts have been made you can begin to program the electric eye. For this, the Ruiz Brothers suggest using Teensy software, which runs through Arduino.

For the eye lens, the makers have used a 1.5 inch cabochon to magnify the screen and make the eye look more 3D and realistic. The cabochon should be purchasable through most plastic suppliers, and if possible the makers suggest finding one that is a full half-sphere.

The next phase in making the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater, is the wiring. Before getting into the wiring, however, it is important to decide how you will use the 3D printed monster – whether as a doorbell cover, window decoration, or a portable accessory. As a decoration that could be easily disassembled, Burgess suggests using a breadboard and jumper wires for a quick assembly, for a portable option, however, he notes that soldering the wires would be necessary.

The Ruiz Brothers have opted to use a Lithium-Polymer (LiPoly) battery to power the device as it is the most compact option, along with the Adafruit LiPoly backpack, which allows for USB charging. For the display, they have chosen a TFT LCD screen as it is more affordable than OLED displays and are still good quality.

Once the programming and wiring have been completed, you need only assemble the various components to complete your very own flying-purple-people-eater. Finally, if you have decided to use the device as a doorbell cover (which will be sure to enchant trick or treaters of any age!) you can simply install the device to your existing doorbell circuitry.

Important to note, the device functions using two push buttons, which trigger the blinking eye and the doorbell, respectively. It is crucial that the wiring for the two are never crossed or mixed as doorbells typically have a higher voltage than what is necessary for the blinking eye.

Once the project is up and running your doorbell will never have looked better, and whether you keep it installed for Halloween night to impress the young trick or treaters or keep it up all year, the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater will surely remain a sight to see.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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