A Simple 3D Printed Frame for an RGB LED Panel




Introduction: A Simple 3D Printed Frame for an RGB LED Panel

About: I’m a lifelong maker. I became involved with the maker movement because of my children. I was looking for a way to supplement what they were doing in school with some hands-on activity.

Unlike our instructable on aluminum frames for RGB LED panels( https://www.instructables.com/Simple-Extruded-Alu...), which is scalable to almost any size display, this design is targeted at a display using one specific type of panel (191mm x 96mm). The link to the one we used is below.


The advantages to this framing solution are:

  • It requires NO special hardware. It requires NO cutting metal. It requires NO measuring. It requires NO special bolts, nuts or wrenches. There is no drilling. It can be assembled using machine screws from any hardware store or Home Depot.
  • It is 3D printed, so you can choose the color and texture of the filament you use.
  • It is really simple. There are only six pieces and six screws in the basic frame, plus two more screws to mount the panel brackets, and two screws to mount the MatrixPortal bracket.

For a processor we used an Adafruit MatrixPortal. ( https://www.adafruit.com/product/4745 )


Machine Screws (Qty. 6) for attaching beams 1/4-20 x 1/2

Screws and nuts (Qty. 2 each) for attached matrIxportal mount 1/4-20 x 1/2 and 1/4 - 20 nut

Screws and nuts (Qty. 2 each) for attaching the panel mounts 1/4-20 x 1/2and 1/4 - 20 nut

Screws for attaching the panel to mount (Qty. 2) M3 x 20mm



Step 1: Print the Parts

Print two beams for each of these files:

2x Vertical beams

2x Leg beams

2x Foot beams

Print two of the NO magnet panel holders.

Print a mount for the MatrixPortal.


A quick side note about printing, also noting this is from our experience, with our printers. The best way to print a beam is on end, printing to a vertical configuration. The thread for the screws at both ends come out more usable and we never did figure out a good way of using supports in the horizontal configuration. While we were working on https://www.instructables.com/A-Simple-3D-Printed-... we found that beams over six inches (152.4mm) had a nasty habit of separating from the build plate near the end of a print when you print them individually. The work-around for us was to print several together in a bundled tube construction. But as we said, that's our printers. You may have a different experience.

Step 2: A Word About Screws and Nuts.

The ends of the beams are taped for a 1/4-20 thread. The "budget" generic machine screws (such as those found at Home Depot) have a rounded edge that makes them perfect for sliding in the channels of a 3D printed beam.

The parts that have a hole in them can also accept a 1/4-20 threaded machine screw, but with a tighter tolerance. It may be necessary to deburr the hole so that the machine screw can move freely in the hole. This can be done by using a deburring tool, a screwdriver blade, or the screw itself. It is important that the screw moves freely in the hole.

Alternately, you can use a T-nut.

Step 3: A Word About Assembly

There is no exact order to the assembly, there are instead a series of tasks that can be accomplished in whatever order you care to do. The fun of this design is that it can be taken apart and reassembled with ease.

So, no apologies if the photos show steps that are not yet completed.

Step 4: Assembly

The vertical beams have a screw placed in each end. The leg beams have a screw placed in the bottom. (The bottom is the end of the beam with two holes)

Attach the beams together as shown in the pictures. Tighten firmly, but don't torque it down hard.

Step 5: Apply the Panel Retention Brackets

The tolerances are tight enough that the LED panel can be held in place by friction. If you are going to be using some kind of diffuser over the panel, you probably want to add the panel mounting clips.

The bracket attaches to the LED panel with an M3 20-25mm bolt.

Step 6: Mount the Matrix Portal and Wire It In.

Step 7: Install the Extension Cable

This step is best done after installing the MatrixPortal mount.

Step 8: Mount the RGB Led Panel

Step 9: Optional - Diffuser Mounting Clips

Print four of the clips for mylar or paper. A thick panel of acrylic many only require two clips on the bottom and one on the top.

The clips can be found at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4778126

The clips are held together by two 25mm M3 bolts and washers.

Step 10: You Are Done

Enjoy, and rate this Instructable

Step 11: Other Branches in the Road.

One of the many things we love about extruded channels is the easy which you can modify it or add to a project.

On of the easiest next step it to upgrade the processor. We used an Adafruit MatrixPortal in this example.

If you want to take things to the next level, there are many other options for processors. Adafruit makes a great line of shields and hats for different processors. Our favorite is an Adafuit hat for the raspberry pie and Henner Zeller's amazing library. (https://github.com/hzeller/rpi-rgb-led-matrix )

There are also a large array of sensors and sensor mounts that are compatible with extruded channels.

Step 12: Update

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    2 years ago

    Maaaan... Thanks for the link to the Adafruit controller! A thing of beauty and exactly what i need!
    Unfortunately, only available for me in about 3 months at my normal dealers... Where did you buy yours?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Direct from Adafruit. They were back in stock this morning.


    2 years ago

    This is so coool!