3D printed in vase mode, Glow Flow diffuser panels can be held together without tools using flexible tabs. However, keeping them thin to be translucent also means they are very soft and could not hold their own weight. They will need support structures to hold them at correct distance from LEDs. At the very minimum we’ll need 3 support ribs, spaced 120 degrees apart, to support panels small enough to be printed. This first pass will install three ribs and associated panels. Once they’re up and running, we’ll evaluate the results for future iteration.
The diffuser panels re-awakened an interest in designing for tool-less construction, individual pieces that snap together. So the diffuser support rib is designed to be printed in one single piece and, through flexibility of plastic, clips onto grooves in the new top and bottom end pieces. The cross-section of this rib is an I-beam, with slots on either side for installing diffuser panels. However, the first iteration did not fit.
Even though all dimensions matched the earlier diffuser panel tests, it didn’t work here because the new rib is rigid and its slots did not flex. This design only worked if both ends are flexible to accommodate each other on insertion, as was the case earlier when I had two flexible diffuser pieces fitting in each other. Now, the rib is rigid and the diffuser panel tab could not compress enough to fit within the slot. In order to proceed, I will need to put time into designing a better mechanism.