The new LED helix top piece gained responsibility for keeping the battery pack in place in addition to aligning the Pixelblaze with LED geometry. The old top piece also provided a few simple handles, but the new top piece has been relieved of that task: there will be a more robust dedicated handle for this LED chassis instead.
The design is mechanically simple: arch attached with one screw at each end. This is a potential downgrade in strength, as the handle is now attached with only two screws rather than four. Hopefully it will still be strong enough.
The first handle version turned out to be too short. When my hands grasp the handle, my knuckles may bump against some wires or their connectors. It’s something I could avoid if I’m trying to be careful, but I’d like to be able to hand this to other people to play and not have to worry about being careful.
A second, taller handle was printed to provide more clearance. We’ll find out if it does the job. In the meantime… what shall we do with the first handle?
Rather than tossing it in the trash, I attached it to the bottom end piece. Now the LED helix has handles on both top and bottom end. Now we can hold the helix with both hands and, if held using some compression force pushing the two handles against the middle, there would be minimal stress on fastening screws.
And also, a handle on the bottom meant the assembly no longer sits flat on a tabletop. Forcing the helix to always sit at an angle might be a fun way to show how it responds to gravity. With this round of mechanical upgrades complete, I need to sit down and work through some relevant math necessary for matching software.