by fablabzurich, published

Crystalux by fablabzurich Mar 16, 2013
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Crystalux is a light composed of crystal-shaped modules, which can be connected with each other via magnetic joints. A battery provides the electricity, the magnets lead the current through the structure. Each module can be attached in six different angles, which allows a wide range of possible sculptures. When connected, the modules illuminate from whithin.


You need:

  • white filament for 3D-Printer (colored filaments might be less translucent)
  • acrylic glass (2mm thickness)
  • 2m of thin electric cable
  • 20 white LEDs
  • 18 round magnets (diameter 4mm, height around 7mm)
  • 18 round magnets (diameter 3mm, height around 6mm)
  • 9 whashers (diameter 13/24 mm)
  • thin foam rubber
  • 1 coin battery (3V)
  • superglue

the kit is supposed to include 10 modules. Four with parallel top and bottom surface, six with opposed top and bottom (two of them are the start and end modules)
the mantle is 3D-printed, the caps where the magnets and LEDs are sticked are composed of several pieces of plexiglass, cut by laser cutter.
If your printer closes the top or bottom, cut it open carefully (except at the start and end module) and use the smallest possible wall thickness to guarantee translucency.
Cut the pieces of plexiglass and glue them together as indicated in the file. Make sure the holes fit exactly, otherwise you won’t be able to put the magnets afterwards. Now cut the cable into pieces of about 9 cm and strip them at each end.

Upper cap
As soon as the glue has dried, put the magnets, LED’s and cables into the appropriate wholes. Make an attempt first and cut the wires of the LEDs at the right length. Important: Make sure that the positive pole of the LED is always in the centre of the cap, the negative pole you put at the outer hole. After plugging in magnet, LED and cable they should already hold quite tight. Put some glue into the hole, not too much, otherwise it will disturb the electric contact. All the magnets should be on the same level at the outer side of the cap, they should stick out about 1 millimeter.

The magnets have to be put always in the same direction (as far as the polarisation is concerned), so each module can be connected with any other one. It’s ideal to put the bigger magnets with the positive pole upwards and the smaller with the negative pole upwards. The modules will centre on their own when being connected.

Lower cap
The piece which is surrounding the washer is quite fragile, so be careful. Put the magnet, LED and cables, then put a rubber ring and a washer in the track provided. Make sure about the electric contact and controle it from time to time, also at the upper cap. Finally put some glue to fix everything.

Finally put this object into the mantle and attach it with superglue. Use only little glue at the first module, which contains the battery, so you can open it again and power off the light. The first and last module are special anyway, take a look at the file.

There you go, connect the modules and hope there’s no loose contact. To be honest I had to put some conductive paint on the magnets and washers, because the contact wasn’t always ensured. Anyway: If this instruction sounded a bit complicated to you, that’s quite how it was to develop this thing. So it’s still more like a prototype than a finished product, that has still to be completed. By you maybe!?

Created by Fabio Kunz in FabLab Zurich
Thanks to the FabLab staff and to Christoph Laib for financial and technical support.

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Where did you get those nice magnets?


very nice project and descrition!

Cool, so many possibilities ....