[SARATOGA] Build Manual

You Will Need

  • A 3D printer (Don't have one? Buy the 3D printed parts!)

  • Pliers (for removing the supporting structure of the prints)

  • A metric 2mm allen key if you are using M3 socket screws

  • An adjustable spanner is recommended, and you can print a M3 spanner!

  • A pillar drill, eye protection goggles, clamp and 3.5mm drill bit (G clamps are good)

  • A soldering iron, solder, de-solderer, hookup wire, wire cutters and wire insulation strippers (22AWG, solid wire is good, and you can use it on breadboards)

  • See the Bill Of Materials (BOM), found in the project ZIP archive

3D Printing

Photo of 3D printing the Corner Top

I print this project at a 0.35mm resolution (I'm impatient!) but you can print it at a finer resolution if you feel the need to or have the patience. Corner Tops are printed with stable supports if possible, the supporting structure will be harder to remove from the print but pliers will make short work of it (be careful of your fingers/hands!)

Preparing The Stripboard

Use the pillar drill and 3.5mm drill bit to widen the mounting holes on the corners of the stripboard (if it is too narrow). This will give it plenty of clearance for the M3 screws that will be used to mount it onto the risers of the Corner Bottoms. Make sure the stripboard is clamped securely to the drill press table before drilling. Wear eye protection goggles, and glasses are not eye protection! Don't wear loose clothing. If you have long hair, remember to tie it back.

Photo of the stripboard marked, ready for drilling

If the mounting holes on the corners of the stripboard don't match to the pre-drilled holes, you will need to mark where to drill with a black pen and set square. This stripboard has the mounting holes 4.5mm in (please see CAD drawing below).

CAD drawing of the stripboard, showing drilling holes Photo of the stripboard clamped onto the drill press table

I use a bit of spoiler wood so the tracks aren't damaged by the clamp. Please note that when drilling sheet metal, it's a whole different story. You need to make sure that the sheet metal has absolutely no chance of spinning out, and this might require two or more clamps. I'm sure you can imagine how devastating a high speed, spinning sheet of metal can be!

Photo of the stripboard with mounting holes drilled Photo of a close-up of the stripboard mounting hole

Assembly

Use the adjustable spanner to mount the toggle to the front Corner Bottom and the power jack to the rear Corner Bottom:

Photo of the Corner Bottoms with hardware Photo of the Corner Bottom with toggle Photo of the Corner Bottom with power jack

It is a good idea to prepare two stripboards and use one of the stripboards mounted on the Corner Bottoms (with the M3 x 25 screws) to experiment with component placement and layout with some of the components, then copy the layout to the second one. The stripboard might be "upside down" for shorter reach of the positive and negative rail wires connected to the jack and toggle.

Photo of the stripboard with test component placement

Note if you are using the top-most and bottom-most tracks of the stripboard you will need to cut the tracks to electrically isolate the corners of the stripboard from the circuit. I use a shorter LED layout, so those tracks are not used.

Soldering The Stripboard

It's now time to get out the soldering iron and solder in the components! Refer to the schematic in the project ZIP archive if needed. If you are unsure, you can breadboard a part of the circuit with a few of the most essential components first. It is a good idea to solder in a link between each LED in a group of three LEDs, and a wire connecting the tops of each three LEDs and a wire connecting the bottoms of each three LEDs. Then solder in the supply rail wires.

Photo of the first column of the stripboard soldered

Mount the stripboard onto the Corner Bottoms with the four M3 x 25 screws. If you have a temporary stripboard on the Corner Bottoms, now is the time to switch it to the soldered version.

Solder the positive wire from the stripboard to the toggle active (refer to the datasheet for connections):

Photo of the positive wire of the stripboard connected to the toggle active

Solder the negative wire from the stripboard to the power jack ground (refer to the datasheet for connections):

Photo of the negative wire of the stripboard connected to the power jack ground

Solder a wire from the power jack positive to the toggle common (refer to the datasheet for connections):

Photo of the power jack positive connected to the toggle common

If you are unsure about the connections, refer to the datasheets or test on a breadboard.

It is a good idea to test each column as you go. Then if there are any faults, you can de-solder the previous column and solder in a new column in its place. Hopefully the new one will work.

Photo of the progress of the stripboard soldered Photo of the progress of the stripboard soldered

Before mounting the perspex, it might be wise to check everything's functioning correctly. Don't look directly at the LEDs, or better yet, wear some UV blocking glasses! Also, it's probably a good idea to trim the wire leads going into the jack and toggle in addition to the component leads.

Mounting The Perspex

Photo of the perspex with protective film Photo of the perspex without protective film

Peel off the protective tape of the perspex and place the Corner Tops on the corners of the perspex, making sure that the orientation of the Corner Tops are correct (they will need to match the hole alignments of the Corner Bottoms). The trick is to then "drop in" the Corner Tops, with perspex, onto the Corner Bottoms and screw the M3 x 10 screws finger tight. If you have problems with this, the tip is to use your thumb to hold the washer and nut in place whilst you turn the screw with your other hand. When it is all secure, tighten the screws with an allen key and spanner:

Photo of the perspex with Corner Tops Photo of the perspex mounted

Assembly Complete!

Photo of the lightbox complete and lit

Built It?

Send me a photo!

I'm especially interested in what projects you make with the lightbox!