Even though LED lights aren’t something you think of when considering 3D printing. But if you are planning to brighten up your 3D printer and make it look amazing, you can add some LED lights to it. It adds another flavor to your printer in terms of looks and makes it interesting.
NeoPixel SKR mini e3 is one of the best combos of printer and LED lights. You integrate NeoPixel LEDs into your SKR mini e3 printer. Now, the only thing that’s troublesome about all this is that you can barely find any information on this.
Keeping up with that, I am here with all the information you need to install the LED lights on your 3D printer. So, if you plan to add some glow to your SKR Mini E3, this is your place.
Installing NeoPixel on SKR Mini E3
Installing the NeoPixel on SKR Mini E3 is more critical than you would think. There are so many steps that you can’t get through the process without proper knowledge. Let’s get through the steps involving the installation of the lights.
Things you will require for the installation.
There are several things that you will need to install these lights. Ensure to gather all of them before proceeding with the steps and the process.
- NeoPixel LEDs
- JST connectors
- Ribbon cable
- Electric tape
- Crimping tool
- 380-400 Ohm resistor
- M3 T nuts
- M3 x 8mm bolt
- 1000uF capacitor
And, of course, you will need the SKR Mini E3 3D printer. But make sure the mainboard of the printer is compatible with NeoPixel. Usually, the v2.0 of the printer is compatible, so if you have that version, you won’t have to worry too much about it.
You can also use some tools like solder wire, soldering iron, heat shrink tube, and a mini heat gun. These are not compulsory; they make the work much cleaner and easier.
Once you have got everything prepped up, you can move on to the steps and the process. So, let’s get going with that.
Steps for installing the LED lights on SKR Mini E3
Here’s the thing, there are several steps involved in the process that require some technical work throughout the whole thing. So, you have to make sure you are up for the task and some coding here and there. However, you don’t need to worry about any complex coding structures. Everything is quite simple here.
Let’s check out the steps for the installation one by one –
Step-1: Updating the firmware
The first step you have to go through is to update the firmware of your 3D printer so that it can work with NeoPixels. You will need VS code on your computer and have the base configuration copy of the Marlin firmware for your printer.
I won’t dive too much into details with this one because it’s another topic. If you already don’t know how to update the firmware of your SKR mini e3, then I highly recommend learning it. There are several instructional videos out there teaching you how you can do it with VS code and with the help of GIT.
In the process, you will need to update some firmware configuration files with some specific lines of codes. Keep in mind that this is a very crucial step, and if you make any mistakes here, the lights won’t even work properly. So, you will need to get through this process properly.
Try following instructional videos to ease out the process. It makes your life much easier with the firmware update of your 3D printer. After building the firmware update, you have to load it on your 3D printer and install it.
Power off your printer and load up the SD card with its firmware. Now, turn on the printer and wait for half a minute till the firmware starts updating on your printer. Then you can restart the printer and remove the SD card afterward. That’s pretty much it.
Step-2: Printing a housing for NeoPixel
Once you are done with the software and firmware stuff, you can move on more to the physical aspect of the installation. You will need to build housing for the lights to go in here. The best part is finding plenty of pre-build printing housing for NeoPixel and then printing them using your 3D printer.
You can use the standard settings you use for your regular 3D prints or follow the instructions on the file you have chosen to use. You can check out this NeoPixel housing file from Thingiverse.
After printing the housing, you can move on to preparing the lights for installation. Now, this is another critical step for the installation.
Step-3: Preparing the NeoPixel LED strip
In this step, you will need to prepare the LEDs for the installation. Yes, you can’t just get them out of the box and connect them. There are several technicalities you will need to maintain. Here’s what you should be doing –
The first thing you have to do is, cut down the LED strips. You will get the stripes in much longer sizes that you won’t even need to use. You will need to trim them based on how you want to use them. It’s better to go with a strip size where you will get 8 to 10 LEDs. Anything more than that, you will have to adjust the power source. I bet you wouldn’t want any extra hassle.
Next, you will need to measure the Ribbon cable length and see which one works well for your 3D printer. For the SKR mini E3 3D printer, I recommend going with a 30” cable. After cutting down the ribbon cable, make sure to bring out a string containing 3 wires. As for the rest of the cables, you can set them aside.
After you have planned out what strip to use, you will need to attach the ribbon cable with the strip. Along with that, you will also need to connect the capacitor and resistor. Now, here’s the tricky part.
If you use a prewired option, you will need to cut the 2-pin connector off and strip 1 inch of the wires that connect the strip and the ribbon cable. After doing that, you have to make sure that the input of the NeoPixel strips follows the proper arrow direction in it. But if it doesn’t align properly, you will need to go to the standard option.
To connect the resistor, you have to take the 380 to 400ohm resistor and connect it to the middle wire of the ribbon cable and the NeoPixel Strip. Make sure to secure all the connections with electric tape.
If you use the standard option, you have to solder the ribbon cable, resistor, and capacitor to the NeoPixel strip. It’s a much better way to secure all the connections. You can end the whole thing with a heat shrink tube to make it even more protected.
Finally, you have to connect the ribbon cable with the 3-pin JST connector for the connection. Strip some sleeves from both the wires and connect the metal prongs to them. Then, you have to put the prongs within the three-pin connector. Keep in mind that the wiring has to be accurate here.
Step-4: Mounting the LED strips
Once you prepare the strips, you can get into the mounting part. Well, it’s mostly preference. You can place the NeoPixel housing on your printer wherever you see fit. When placing the housing and using the screws, make sure you keep it a bit loose. So, it can move around a little.
After the housing is placed to your desire, you can install the lights on the housing, and that’s pretty much it.
Step-5: Cable to the mainboard and test the lights
Lastly, all you have to do is run the ribbon cable from the strips to the mainboard of your 3D printer and connect the whole thing. While doing this, make sure that the wiring doesn’t come in between the axis movement of your printer.
Lastly, you can test the lights when you are done wiring them properly. If the lights don’t work, then you may need to check from the beginning and look for any mistakes you might have made.
Summing it all up, NeoPixel SKR mini e3 is something that you can surely get for your printer. It’s easy to liven up your 3D printer setup with some lights. If you love those RGB setups, you see on the internet. This will give you the best feeling of having a cool 3D printing setup.
Once again, it’s not a performance improvement. It’s just for the printer’s looks and makes it look much more exciting.
- 1 Installing NeoPixel on SKR Mini E3
- 2 Steps for installing the LED lights on SKR Mini E3
- 3 Conclusion