Proteus LED Panel - Expandable
Leave a comment if something does/doesn't work, I want to fix it right away
This is an exciting design for me and something that I have wanted to do for a while.
Technically expandable to an infinite size, but would suggest infinity-1
My suggestion is to start with the standard size and follow the instructions to see if you want and/or need a larger size.
Do not buy the cheapest LED strips you can find. These burn out quickly, have low contrast value, poor detail of illumination, and tend to strain your eyes with regular use. Look for LED lights with a CRI score of around 90. If the CRI score is not listed then assume it is a very low score. You will thank me later since you'll probably end up replacing cheap LEDs from annoyance with quality of the light they give off.
Just be aware that the larger you make this panel the more heat it will create. If anyone has issues with heat I will add a fan attachment to cool the LEDs down. This shouldn't be a problem with the Standard Size construction I have listed below or even the Larger Panel construction (Image).
LED Strips not sticking?
If this happens to you then just put some CA Glue (Super Glue) on a few spots along the panels and your LEDs will stick like burnt rice in a pot.
This is dependent on how big you want to make it.
A standard size panel with quality LED strips, and Option Two with wiring should cost around $30-40 USD. This includes plastic and power costs.
- 5Meter LED light strip (usually sold in 5Meter lengths), White is recommended (RGB also great but adds complication for wiring), 5050 LED size for strong lighting, Warm or Cool is up to you - for video/photo lighting you should use Cool to get the most detail. Add wax paper in front of lights for diffusion. For quality LED lights you should look for a CRI of around 90, the higher the better. A low CRI score makes the light hard to use on a regular basis due to it's strain on your eyes. Low CRI LEDs tend to have a blue hue to them, which makes the objects it illuminates show in less detail.
- M3 and M4 Bolts (Imperial Equivalent: M3 = 1/8 Bolt, M4 = 11/64 Bolt) - Just buy metric from amazon or ebay to make it easier.
- M3 and M4 Nuts
- M6 Nut if you want to attach to a tripod (5/8 inch is the U.S. equivalent).
- Wire (red, black) to wire LED strips together
- On/Off switch (or any other equivalent you would like to use)
- Panel Mount Female DC Socket 2.1mm (look at power box in image), this is to plug your DC power supply into the light panel.
- 1K Pot (optional for dimming lights)
- 12Volt DC Power Supply, 1amp or 2amp recommended.
- Soldering Iron/Solder (USE VENTILATION WHEN SOLDERING - save your lungs)
- Adjust STL files to print on their flat surfaces. Each has been designed for printers.
- Use any material, I used PETG
- Each part is numbered to make printing easier.
- Follow the image instruction I have provided to know which parts you need to print.
- You won't need to print every part listed.
- Print with a .5 nozzle size or smaller to get precise quality. I tried a .8 nozzle with issues of precision on some parts. My preference for this project is a .4 nozzle.
Part # List
#1-9 Light Strip Base Panels - Used to attache LED strip to. Main and End panels. Main are the center panels. See images for panel numbers.
#10-12 Vertical Struts - Connecting 3, 2, or a single Panel. Think of different Lego piece sizes.
#13-16 Horizontal Struts - They have labels for what they connect to. (Main-End, End-Main-End, Main-Main)
#17-18 Tipod/Other mounting bracket. More to come later upon request. M6 is equivalent to a 5/8 inch bolt/nut.
#19-23 Leg Bracket and Parts. Two sizes of legs. Bolt hand (M4 size) makes it easy to adjust.
#24-25 Power Supply Box. This will be adjusted once more testing has been done.
#26-40 LED Covers. These can be used to help protect the LEDs. You can also glue wax paper or other things to the inside to add light diffusion. M4 longer bolts will be needed, they will screw into vertical struts. Wiring LEDs first is preferred.
#41-42 Bottom Flat Legs. Regular and Double Sided. Look at Images for info.
#43 Spacer for Horizontal Struts. When creating a larger version you will need a spacer for some struts. See image of strut design for Larger Option.
#44 COMING SOON - Battery Powered Power Supply Box - 1X 18650 Lithium Battery+Charger+12v Step Up needed.
#45-59 LED Covers EXTRA THICK (if you find the standard covers (#26-40) to be too thin.
#60-61 Vertical Struts for 4 & 5 panels. This lets you connect up to 5 panels in height without issues.
Standard Panel Size
- Print Panels #1-9
- Print #10 X3
- Print #13 X2
- Print #19, 20, 21, and 22 (or 23 for longer leg)
- Print #17 or 18 if you want to mount this to something.
- Print #19-22 for the back leg. #23 is the longer leg. Double this for two legs.
- Print # 24, 25 for the power box.
- Print #26-40 (Optional) for LED covers. M4 Longer bolts needed.
You may not need to use the M3 holes that run between each panel. This is just for extra support. The back struts should be more than strong enough to hold it all together firmly.
There are many options for wiring.
Option 1: On/Off, no dimming of lights
Parts - DC Panel Mount Input Jack (image) - and a - DC On/Off Switch
- Solder the LED + to one of the two end sockets of the DC switch.
- Solder the LED - to the DC Panel Mount Jack negative(ground)
- Solder the DC Panel Mount + (positive) to the center socket of the DC Switch
Option 2: Dimming of lights (easier than option 1).
Parts - DC Panel Mount Input Jack (image) - and a - PWM Dimmer (image).
- DC Panel Jack + and - go to the PWM Dimmer + and -.
- LED + and - go to PWM dimmer + and -.
PWM Dimmer search: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p4712.m570.l1313.TR6.TRC2.A0.H0.Xpwm+dimmer.TRS0&_nkw=pwm+dimmer&_sacat=0
Front covers (#26-40) can be used to protect wiring and LEDs. The Lips are printed separately (purposely so your printer won't have troubles) and then glued onto their adjacent Cover (Image shows this). 16mm M4 bolts will be needed to run from Covers to the back Vertical Struts.
For light diffusion you can add wax paper or anything else that will soften the light. This is common when using lights for photos and video. Try gluing the wax paper to the inside of the covers to make it look way better. I may add another top cover to clamp onto diffusion paper if enough requests come in.
Design Your Own Attachments
The back has M4 attachment holes. You can design your own parts to hook into an M4 nut. The distance between these holes is 35.2mm from center to center.
The power box attaches to one of these holes, as well as the back leg if you use it.
Creating a larger sized version would give you more attachment holes.
Any other options will change this wiring schematic. Please be careful when wiring and soldering. The switch is best used on the + side of the power source to reduce possible sparking when switching on and off.
If you have any ideas please let me know. I will be updating this design for the next few weeks as I work through it myself.
Disclaimer: I am letting anyone use this design for free. Selling this design or any version of this product is not allowed under Creative Commons licensing. You are allowed to print, share, give away your prints for free, or use this design in any way that does not earn you monetary value.
If you do wish to sell these products please let me know and we can come an agreement.