We will be using custom PCB connectors. The LED side is matched to the LED strip, so the strip can be conveniently soldered to the PCB connector without wires. This will also keep the “no visible LED light zone” to a minimal. The design is shared on OSHPark. (Complete assembled sets may be available here at a later time)
1m 144 LED/m LED strips usually come as 2 half meter strips with a solder joint. For best results select strips where this joint is minimal.
- 2x WS2812B LED Strips 144LED/m Density
- Clear Heat Shrink Tube 12mm Diameter
- Polycarbonate Tube Thin Walled (For Blade)
- Polycarbonate Tube Thick Wall (For Plug)
- Blade Tip
- LED Diffuser Tube Thick Walled
- LED Diffuser Tube Thin Walled
- LED Strip Foam Tube
- 22 AWG Solid Wire
- Blade Custom PCB Connector
- Hilt Custom PCB Connector
- Plug Custom PCB Connector
- Spring Loaded Contact Pins
- 3D Printed Parts
Start by unsoldering any lead wires that come with the LED strip
By soldering the positive wire to the opposite end of the LED strip, current will be distributed evenly. This will remove any “brown out” effect, where the first LEDs in the chain are brighter than the last LEDs. I find it best to heat the pad from the front and poke through from the back of the pad.
Heat shrink tubing will help protect and retain the 2 LED strips. Assembly the connector mate, foam, LED diffuser and polycarbonate tube.
The length of the polycarbonate tube, matching the selected blade tip and connector mate, should be:
LED strip length + .165 inches
The LED diffuser tube and foam tube should be:
Polycarbonate tube – .4 inches
If you do not have access to a lathe or mill to trim down the black cap piece, a 3D printed cap can be used instead. For a 3D printed plug cap, some acetone can be brushed on to smooth the surface, and in addition softening the hole to allow self tapping for the center brass pin. The 3D printed cap can be press fit the same way.
Continue assembly with the connector mate, diffuser tube, and polycarbonate tube.