Eight-year-old maker Purple Oranji turns Adafruit NeoPixel goggles into a pair of 3D printed Spectrespecs, the zany light-up shades featured in the Harry Potter movies. This weekend project is the perfect way to show your kids that a 3D printer is just as extraordinary as a magic wand.
When author J.K. Rowling first introduced Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to world in 1997, she enticed us into an otherworldly and magical universe like no other.
For over a decade, both the books and movie adaptations have sparked the imagination of an entire generation. It might not be as powerful as a magic wand, but 3D printing technology has also revved up the creative horsepower in makers of all ages.
In fact, one eight-year-old maker and self-proclaimed “Harry Potter superfan”, known on YouTube as Purple Oranji, recently used 3D printing to create her own pair of owl-like Spectrespecs. These hypnotic glasses–worn by Luna Lovegood on a train ride to Hogwarts– can be replicated with 3D printing and LEDs.
This weekend project is actually an extension of Adafruit’s Trinket-Powered NeoPixel Goggle Kit Pack. You’ll need to assemble this kit before heading to King’s Cross Platform 9¾ to build your new 3D printed Spectrespecs.
3D Printed Harry Potter Spectrespecs: What Do You Need?
To create the 3D printed Spectrespecs, you’ll need a few tools besides your 3D printer, most of which can be ordered directly from Adafruit or sourced from Amazon. Here’s the grocery list for this week’s Weekend Project:
3D Printed Harry Potter Spectrespecs: Putting It All Together
The assembly for the 3D printed Spectrespecs are laid out in a YouTube video by the young maker. Before starting, you’ll need to build the Trinket-Powered NeoPixel Goggle Kit Pack from Adafruit. Purple Oranji already had a pair built from a previous project, and shows us how to transform them in the quick and easy instructional video.
First, you’ll cut out circular inserts from cardboard and smooth plastic for the rear lenses. The plastic material ensures that the window tint is applied smoothly. You’ll also need a 13-14 cm strip of LEDs. The larger the number LEDs on the strip, the better the effect will be.
The young maker speaks like a seasoned expert, warning viewers to solder on the right side, as the data signal for the LEDs are directional. She even shares a diagram of her wiring connection in the video.
Purple Oranji modifies the NeoPixel strip to be red in one eye and blue in another, matching the style depicted in the Harry Potter film. The backing cardboard is inserted into each eye, followed by the tinted plastic lens.
The LEDs are mounted next, with the wiring running across the bridge of the goggles. Finally, the one-way mirror tint lenses with the mirror facing inside, and you’re finally ready to 3D print.
With help from her father, Purple Oranji designed the wing-like frames of the Spectrespecs. After the 3D printing process is complete, the frames were dipped in hot water to soften the PLA, allowing her to reshape the winged tips.
These 3D printed Spectrespecs make for a tremendous addition to your Harry Potter cosplay collection. On top of that, watching this young maker in action will inspire the kids–or even yourself– to unleash your maker magic.
Wach Purple Oranji’s terrific build video below, and get ready to have your printer chanting the Wingardium Leviosa spell throughout the weekend.