As part of my new job I’m working from home a lot more and spending more time on internet video calls. My wife wanted a better way to know when I was on a call so she wouldn’t walk in. This was a problem that was well suited for an over engineered solution.
I could have done something simple, or I could get a Raspberry Pi Zero W to remotely turn a light on and off and then design and 3D print an enclosure for it. So naturally I went with the
simple overly complex option. I also found these massive LEDs that are designed for LCD backlights, 45mmx86mm (1.77inx3.39in) and used two of them and then designed the sign around it but it was a very tight fit with my printer’s current configuration so it was a bit of a squeeze.
With a place to squeeze the LEDs I needed a screen and I thought what they hey I’ll try printing it with white PLA. If I keep it thin it should still light up and I can then include the spacing for the letters so they’d pop in when I printed them in black. That sort or of worked but next time I need to tweak it to give more tolerance.
Then I needed something to provide a top cover to frame it in, if I print this again (and I probably eventually will just to make it even better) this piece is a little flimsy so some redesign is in order.
Finally the last piece was a place for the electronics, I was originally do this all fancy with mounting pins for Raspberry Pi but just made it a box with a hole for power cord. Maybe I’ll do that for Version 2.
The next post will have it wired up and a shot of it lit up (because I just finished printing the base today and haven’t had time to wire it up yet) and maybe even a little code for how it’s going to work if people are interested. My plan is to have an app that will manually turn it on and off, tie into the Microsoft Outlook API and have it turn it on and off for calendar events and try to see if I can detect the webcam is turned on for unscheduled meetings. I don’t know if that last one will work I’ll give it a try.
If you are thinking, I thought this was a model train blog what’s up with this nonsense there’ll be more railroad related content coming up in addition to the obligatory train picture below (and more 3D printing content too).