Enclosing the Ender 3 V2 Part 2: LED lighting

Updated 12/17/20. I disconnected about 2/3 of the LED strip mentioned in this post. It was way too bright. See my follow-up post for more info. I’ve left the rest of this post unaltered.

Yesterday I posted about removing the motherboard, display, and power supply from the Ender 3 V2 so they would not get overheated when being placed in an enclosure. Today I will continue the series of posts about enclosing the Ender 3 V2 by explaining how I added LED lighting to the enclosure. Adding 3D lighting before the printer is put into the enclosure is much easier.

Equipment used

I chose to mount the LED strips on the enclosure frame. The 3D printer’s power supply will eventually power the LED lighting once it is all hooked up. Temporarily I am using a 12V DC brick to supply power to the LEDs for testing purposes.

With that in mind, here is the list of hardware used for this part of the build:

  • Small Creality 3D printer tent enclosure.
  • 16 foot 12V DC green LED strip without waterproofing. I chose an LED strip without waterproofing because it tends to withstand heat better.
  • 4″ cable ties.
  • 22 AWG wire.
  • 8-position two-row terminal block with two 4-position barrier strips.
  • Fork wire connectors.

Attaching the LEDs

Orange, green, and blue colors show the 3 LED strip legs.

I split the led strip into three segments for lighting the enclosure. All three segments began at the front-left corner. That corner is where the enclosure hole is located that will lead to the power supply. I didn’t really have a plan at this point. I just started in the corner and began attaching LEDs.

I’ve included a drawing showing how I ended up laying the LEDs out. Two of the legs (shown in black) did not have any lights on them. This setup provided more than enough light in the enclosure. I knew 16 feet of LEDs was more than I needed, but I thought it would look cool. If I find that I have way too much light, I can easily remove legs in the future.

To attach the LED strips, I used the sticky on the back. I was not confident that would be enough to hold them to the poles, so I also used 4″ cable ties to secure them. I used three cable ties per bar. One cable tie was at each end and one in the middle.

A look at how the LED strip is connected towards the rear-bottom of the enclosure.

Terminating the LED strips

I soldered 22 AWG jumpers to each part of the LED strip that I had cut. To make sure I kept polarity straight, I used red and black wires accordingly. I put red forks on the other end of these jumpers. Then I put the three leg pairs into an 8-position terminal block. I used a four-position barrier strip to connect the positive leads and another 4-position barrier strip to connect the negative leads.

I terminated another set of wires with red forks. I made that one about a foot long and fed it through the hole, where the power supply will eventually go. These wires were then attached to the terminal block. It should be noted these wires won’t get connected directly to the power supply. I will be using a buck converter to go from the 3D printer’s 24V DC power supply to the 12V DC required by these LED strings.

Using a terminal block here was probably not necessary. But I happen to have some terminal blocks on hand and find them useful for projects such as this. I should also note using a transparent cover on the terminal blocks, so nothing can accidentally fall on the block and short things out. I also put green electrical tape at the end of each strip. This was mostly to ensure the wires aren’t moved and cause stress on the solder joints.

LED strips connected to a terminal block. There is also a set of wires going from the terminal block through the hole where the power supply will enterally reside outside the enclosure.
Power leads coming from the terminal block to hook up to the power supply eventually.

Testing it out

I hooked the power up to a 12V DC brick I happen to have on hand. I am pleased with the results. Here are a few pictures I took of the LEDs lit up.

LEDs lit with the front door open.
LEDs lit with the enclosure door closed.

The metallic fire-retardant foil on the inside of the enclosure looks good with green lighting. When this is done, I’m hoping for a cool Alien inspired look. Plus, I should now have more than enough illumination to keep an eye on print jobs via my pi cam.

Power draw

As part of this process, I also wanted to know how much power the lights draw. These are cheap LED lights from Amazon, so I didn’t want to trust what the manufacturer said. Before putting the LEDs into the enclosure, I hooked them directly up to one of my benchtop power supplies.

As you can see below, at 12 V DC, the green LED strip has a current draw of 2.4 amps. I was concerned about that because the buck converter I am using is rated for 3 amps. Now I have no worries about using my buck converter.

I wasn’t worried about the wattage being pulled from the power supply. But since I know the volts and current, I figured I might as well figure out the wattage. Good old Ohms Law comes in handy once again.

P = I * V
P = 2.4 * 12
P = 28.8 watts

So these lights should only draw about 28 watts of power. The buck converter will add a little more, but not enough to matter. Since I never heat my bed and hotend at the same time, I don’t see any problem with about thirty watts of power going to the LEDs.

A look at how much current the LEDs draw.

Next Step

The next step in this process will be to create the motherboard and buck converters’ housing. I will document the approach I am taking to accomplish that goal in an upcoming post. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about my build process.

Song of the Day: Get It On (Bang A Gong)

Working with the power formula brought the 80’s supergroup Power Station to mind. Here is the official video for their cover of the T Rex song Get It On. This video is just a great example of 80’s music videos!

Bonus Song: The Power

I wasn’t really into Snap! back in the day. But this song is relatively cool and loosely relates to this post as it has power in the title. Actually, I usually try to avoid snaps when dealing with power.

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