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Build My LED tank mount

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One of the great things I like about Build MY LED fixtures, is the fact you can custom create your own lighting. I particularly like the UV LEDs because my Radion doesn't have any and they seem to color up my corals better. Unfortunately, Build My LED's hanging kit is pretty difficult, especially when compared to Radion and others. In particular, you can't adjust the height after you've hung it. Just not possible.

So, I've decided to build a hang on the back fixture for my 12" Actinic light. I'm also working with Nano Box to help create a fixture for them but first I wanted to do some test prints. Currently, I'm on round 5 or 6 of designs and prototypes. Here's the latest 3D for the clamp. Notice there's a bayonet mount so I can add whatever mount I want to the top of it.

I'll post some pics of the 3D print later. Also, I've ditched the Cubify printer and am now working with an Afinia. Quite the upgrade!!!





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great looking part could you show it in action and let me know how much for a set. thanks Chipp. keep them coming!

Thanks. I'll let everyone know if these will be productized. I'll definitely show it in action when I'm done. The rectangular sleeve is right-sized for an aluminum bar which matches the aluminum housing on the light fixture. I still need to design the attachment point for the other end. I'll keep this thread updated.

Pretty sweet I love all the things you can make with that printer. Don't they have tank mounts that come with them? Is this just different that it mounts from a single point?

Yes, they have the ability to mount only if they are as long as your tank. Their mounts 'sit' on either side of the aquarium. So, for a 12" fixture, your aquarium needs to be 12". This is a single point mount (or two of them would be double).

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Well, as with many projects, this one still needs more cooking. Everything 'fits' but there's a pretty serious warp issue on the inside clamp. I'm going to have to separate the clamp into 3 parts: Inside the tank, above the tank, and outside the tank. I'll bolt the three parts together with some plastic screws. I may need to use nylon and not ABS. It's stronger but doesn't print as pretty.

More experimenting to do next weekend!




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  • 2 weeks later...

Continuing work on the fixture. Decided to go with a linked bar arm. The more links, the longer and more versatile the fixture. Here's showing 2 links. I did the test prints on the link bars and they're strong and looking good.

A nickel or quarter is used to lock down the positioning. And there are interior 'hinge nubs' which keep a pivot point from bending-- at all. I tested it and the part will BREAK before it will slip. You can see some of the nub cavities in the bottom of the middle yellow section.

Here are some renders.





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as always, very impressed. how easy is it to "flip up" when you need to do maintenance?

That's a really good point. The issue is I'm not exactly sure where the center of gravity will be. Especially since you can extend the farm in so many different ways.

Still, I'm going to try and invent some sort of quick release mechanism for cleaning. Thanks for the idea!

Here are some pics of a new printout of the head assembly.

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Hi Mike,

Yep, I know about it. Actually, I have a very hot air gun (Harbor freight, where else?) which does a decent job of smoothing, but doesn't give the 'melted' look that the acetone vapor does. Acetone vapor also kills tolerances, which of course would be disastrous to this type of product.

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Without a doubt, Afinia printers. After going through 4 Cubify Cubes, I switched and MAN what a difference!

If I were to buy, I'd get it from Octave:


You'll quickly (VERY QUICKLY) make up the higher cost in savings on filament over the proprietary (and 7X expensive) Cubify's. Octave filament is pretty high quality (not as good as the Afinia OEM stuff, but much less expensive). I'm using only Octave filament these days and my prints are way higher quality than Cubify's ever were.

I'm putting together a full review and will post a link to it here when done. FWIW, I'm not a fan of Makerbot for a bunch of reasons. Mostly, they are expensive, don't work as well (based on my research, not actual use), and you will probably find you don't need a bed that big.

The parts above took 4+ hrs to print. And-- I'll print them at least 4 times as I tweak the final settings. So, it makes sense to print things smallish.

See next msg for software...

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Some background: I've been using 3D software since early 1980's. I used to write articles for some of the 3D magazines and have beta tested many of the big names out there- both on Mac and PC. All said and done, I am not familiar with all of the new software, though I have a decent understanding of most of it.

First off, when modeling for 3D printing, it's important to understand the difference between a surface and solid modeler. You WANT a solid modeler NOT a surface modeler. Most big name 3D packages used in movies are surface modelers. Most CAD apps are solid modelers.

SketchUp is a surface modeler. Yes you can use it, but NO you can't build what I did above using it without a HUGE amount of work (4-5X hours).

Of course Solidworks and Pro Engineer are both solid modelers-- and both way too expensive for hobbyists like us. Plus the learning curve is STEEP.

Products like Newtek Lightwave, Modo, Rhino, Moi3D, Cinema3D, Cheetah and the like are all surface modelers-- and I'd stay away from them except for Rhino, which I've heard folks use a lot. Even though it's not a solid modeler, it's NURBS representations can act that way.

For the money, I like Bonsai3D and it's big brother (which I use) FormZ. Both are solid modelers and both work great and are easy to learn.

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Been working with the head assembly this weekend a bit. And extended the arm by 10mm. The previous head assembly had a spot in it for an angle bracket, but after printing it out it was clear 'the claw' would have zero problem holding it.

So, I decided to reduce the height. I'm going to work on the tank attachment next. I like Victoly's idea of allowing it to 'fold' out of the way. Need to think about how best to do that.



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So, the print didn't work out well as the bolts were just too small and fragile. So, I redesigned the head assembly and tweaked the arms. Added a clip (yellow) to keep the head assembly halves together. Also, added a couple screw holes for mounting to the extrusion 'just in case.'

FWIW, I'm also working on the tank mount, just not ready to show it yet.


Some picts showing all the parts..


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