Today's post is the progress that I have been making with the Captain America ball chair project. Specifically the housings for the LED lights that will be in the chair. This addition to the project I had planned from the start of the project so that I will be able to read while relaxing in the chair. The LED lights will be plenty bright with no heat to worry about and should last for a very long time. There will be three individual LED puck lights that will be mounted in the chair. With these lights will be two light switches to control them to get different light intensities. Click on one switch and one light comes on. Click off the first switch and click on the second switch and two lights come on. Then when you click on both switches all three lights will come on to give me three different light levels in the chair which should do nicely for this project.
As usual I start out my work on any part for this or any other project that I work on in the computer. This image of one of the LED lights for the ball chair I created using Fusion 360 design software. (Free from Autodesk by the way.) Hopefully the real thing will look this good when I am finished with it.
The parts for the LED lights are designed so that I will be able to mount them into the chair. The white housing that you see above hold the LED light in place and the opening at the underside of this housing is for the wiring that will go from light to light when they are mounted.
Here is a top view of the same housing. In order to print this I could have gone two ways with it on the 3D printer. The upper flange on the image above mounts to the underside of the interior of the ball chair so in order to 3D print it I could either print it all in once piece as shown here or in two pieces and then bond them together. I did the later as I thought it would be just as simple and cut down on the 3D print time which in itself was four hours for each of the three housings needed.
Here's another view of the same light. The top red ring is also 3D printed and then sanded smooth and painted to give it a nice professional finished look.
Here's a shot of the real LED light that I am working with. It is called a puck light and it is 2 3/4" in diameter and an inch thick. I fired up the lights before I started the housing assembly and these little guys will put out more than enough light for the ball chair. Nicely made and easy to hook up. I found them at my local Menards home and builder store.
Here the housing has been printed and one of the LED lights was inserted into it. A very nice fit that is just what is needed for this part of the project. I inserted the mounting hardware (button head machine screw and threaded rod insert) at this point so that everything lined up properly when I want to bond the upper flange to the lower portion of the housing.
Here what the light looks like just after all the parts had been 3D printed and assembled. Looks good at this point and everything fits up nicely.
Another good shot show you all of the components to make up the light assembly all in one photo. In this shot you can see just how rough the red ring on the light assembly looks before it is sanded for painting. Not that this is a bad part. It is very smooth considering that it is 3D printed but with a little bit more work I know I can make it better.
Here is a good shot of two of the outer rings. One without any sanding straight from the 3D printer. The lighter colored ring is a ring that has been sanded first with 180 grit sandpaper and then again with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Already it looks so much better.
Here the rings have been primed with thee coats of gray primer. I do the final wet sanding on these part before I spray on the color coat of paint.
Now this is a great looking bunch of parts. The work I did on the wet sanding really pays off now once you get to see the finished parts in living color. These parts are totally dry and the finish is near perfection. I will let these parts sit for about a week so that the paint will be at it's maximum hardness before I do the final assembly and put them back together with the LED light housings. But it doesn't get any better than this when I can go from 3D printed parts and make them look like injection molded parts by just putting in a little time priming and wet sanding and painting.
This strange looking picture above is actually one of the housings for the LED light being bonded to the upper flange for the assembly. The red rectangular part on top of the housing is a brick that I had laying in my garage. It helped hold the parts firmly together until the epoxy/micro-balloon putty mixture cures and the part is ready to be used.
So that's about it for today. Another great step forward on the Captain America ball chair project. One more quick note.... Progress is also being made on the mold for the six wedge pieces that I will need for the interior of the ball. I have the mold built, sanded and three coats of primer done. In the next couple of days I will be able to put the finishing touches to the mold and get it prepped to make parts hopefully by next week. I'll post photos of that work when I get closer to laying fiber glass for the first wedge part. Enjoy the photos and have a good day in your workshop!