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  • Writer's pictureDan Martinelli

Satisfactory AF

Over Christmas and with lockdown 3.0 I found myself spending quite a bit of time in a game called Satisfactory . If you're interested the game is still in early access but so expect some early adopter style bugs. There are frequent dev updates from Jace and Snutt over on twitch and I wanted a way to be alerted whenever there's stream starting or a new tweet from the dev team.

I like to make both retro and current game related artwork so decided to replicate the logo but jam an ESP32 and a bunch of LEDs in it. the idea being it can be a light most of the time and a beacon when there's something going down on twitch.

I started with Illustrator for the base artwork then ported that to Fusion 360 for the modelling. I had planned to 3d print the logo and backlight it.

I was going to use the APA102 with the fastled library to control the animations but it quickly became apparent that there wasn't enough space to get the LED strip and the wiring neatly tucked away so went back to the SVG artwork and imported to Easel for cutting on the CNC

I went with a 2 pass operation for roughing and detail. I didn't have any MDF on hand so ended up using OSB.

The OSB is quite textural and doesn't look anything like metal, but a quick coat of filler sorts out the deepest marks leaving some light texture. this works well when covered with aluminium tape and give it a weathered look.

Originally I'd planned to include the standoffs as part of the print but as we switched to CNC I quickly whipped up some standoffs for the letters in Fusion360.

They're a hollow cylinder to allow for the LED wires to invisibly pass through through the backer board. They're attached with small M2 screws,

Once they were attached it's a simple matter of cutting and wiring up the strips.

The kit-kat looking backing board was prepared in the same way the the letters. Sanded, filled and foil wrapped, although the wrapping was much easier.

These looked too shiny and the letters blended in with them as they are not texturally different. The LEDs also didn't look right and they're completely reflective off this surface as there is no diffusion. To fix that I sanded the aluminium foil with 600 grit sandpaper and dented the surface a little, then threw a dirty acrylic wash over the whole thing to accentuate some of the imperfections.

With the letters laid out over the top it was starting to look good even with the lights turned off. All that was left was to drill holes for the standoffs and wires to fit through and hook it all up.

You can see how the standoffs work here to make the letters float above the backing board. The standoffs were designed to fit snugly in a 10mm hole so no glue was required to fasten them.

There were 60 connections to make behind the board. Unfortunately I made the task little harder to accomplish by using whatever colours of wire I had hanging around.

Here's the finished item, it's powered by a 5v 1.5A wall wart I had lying around from something. It's a light most of the time but whenever they're something from the dev team on twitter or twitch it picks some random colours and softly cycles all 150 LEDs for 60 seconds before returning to a light.


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