3D Printed Large Hadron Collider-themed, Solar Powered, Night Light

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As the name would suggest- this is a solar powered night light that is inspired by the geometry I see in the Large Hadron Collider. I have a lot of artwork based on that theme- but those are for a different post.

I designed this over a year ago but due, primarily, to my novice status as a “Manipulator of Matter” I kind of just let it sit there for months. I was fighting the machine constantly and it was not working out well. I had about ten months where I couldn’t even look at my printer. That’s how bad it got.
But earlier this year – I had an epiphany about my dulcimer project and suddenly the flood gates opened… I’ve been running my Taz 5 nearly around the clock ever since. And the prints are pretty damn good. Unlike my earlier attempts.

The idea here is a night light that has 8 rechargeable batteries attached to 8 LEDs. Additionally, there are solar panels built into the outer side of the frame. Two per side.  So All day the panels charge the batteries, then as soon as the panels are not receiving enough light- there is a circuit that switches from the panels to the batteries and turn the lights on. Okay I need to confess I did not work that part out. I just bought a bunch of two-dollar outdoor lights from Wal-mart and cannibalized the parts. This did require me to print custom holders for the batteries and panels. As seen below.

These are shots of some of the early prints, it is clearly not finished… yet. The top three shots are my renderings out of Maya of the geometry. It will be interesting to see how my previs stands up to the final print.
I figure I am about 200 hours of print time in so far. The frame sides each took about 20 hours to print. A little overkill on my part but I wanted them to be very sturdy. I am thinking I have about 150 left to go…. but I am going to do an overhaul on my settings for the longer stuff and see where I can save time. (Less infill for instance).
Version 2.0 is already in the planning stages. I see where I made my mistakes on this one, so the next one will be much cleaner- the frames that hold the solar panels will be recessed for instance. I had already printed the sides when it became apparent that I would need them. Also I’ll probably hold everything together with really strong magnets… because I think that’s cool haha.
Also- 2.0 will probably have a clock motor installed (again- solar powered with battery back up) that will rotate the entire frame perhaps once an hour – this will ensure that all the panels get some light at some point in the day.
The geometry inside the circle is tricky, lots of intersecting polys. Lots of booleans… yikes… but it’s coming along. I’ll be uploading my progress when I can.

Update:Nov. 2019- So all the components are printed! Thanks to the Mosaic Palette Pro 2, I was able to avoid all the boolean unhappiness simply by printing fours colors at a time! Yay. The last images are of the “transition block” melted in an oven to create the planet looking thing. (I hate wasting plastic- so I melt it into other stuff).
I’m currently starting the assembly process… it’s involved but only because I have to solder a lot of wires.