E02 Laboratory 04

For this lab you have some freedom of choice.

  1. Use SolidWorks to build a translucent case for a ring of colored pixels. This is described below.
  2. or... you can do something that is more manual, and take apart a servo motor and "hack" it so it can rotate continuously. Google search. If you choose to pursue this option I can help as you go along.

In either case there is no write-up, just a physical artifact when you are finished. Either show me your motor working, or upload the SolidWorks file to mood

Design Your Own NeoPixel Shield

In this lab, you will design a cover for the Neopixel Ring with 12 Lights so that you can light it up in different wasys. You will start out with a plane cover that fits over the Neopixel Ring. This shield is built to cover the front of the Neopixels so that they click into place. Altering the dimensions may result in your ring not fitting.

Start by downloading the file, NeoPixel_Shield.SLDPRT, then "Save As" to your student folder with a unique file name (make sure you don't save it on the local machine, or the file may be deleted after you log off). This will be the base of your design that you can add to or remove from. Double-click the file to open it in SolidWorks.

Try to outline your plan before you begin so you can decide the best course of action! Drawing in 3D requires some planning. It's best to start with an idea of how you want your final piece to look.

Some Review and Some New Ideas

Important: The final size of your design must fit in a 2.5 x 2.5" square and be less than an inch tall.


This toolbar is at the top of the window and allows you to change the view of the part.
Tip! Hold down the scroll button on the mouse to change the orientation of your part.

Features Tab

The Features tab has all the tools that will build on to your part

Raising Features

These features will add raised components to your part. Extruded Boss/Base is what was used to create the cylinder that was the base for the Neopixel Shield.

Cutting Features

These features will cut away from your part


The Fillet feature creates curved edges.



The Chamfer feature can be found under the Fillet pulldown menu and it also alters edges but it is less smooth.

This can be used to Create references (planes, points, lines) to add features


Sketch Tab

The Sketch tab has the tools that will add sketches (2D) to your part, which are used to build features


Often you will use some sort of shape to create your sketches. Check the pull down menus associated with each shape to get the one you want.


Smart Dimension

Smart Dimension can be used to change dimensions after you have created shapes or features. If the feature has already been built, you may have to use the "rebuild" option

Rebuild button, found on the very top toolbar

Mini Tutorials

Here are some features that may be helpful for creating your design. There are many ways to get your desired outcome, so don't feel confined any of these effects:

Adding On

Important: Make sure you extrude away from the top and side surfaces of the ring. You don't want any plastic to be added in the hollow space under the ring (where the lights will fit).

You may want to extend from the face of the ring. To do so, you can select a surface and click on the Extruded Boss/Base which can be found on the Features tab. You will then be directed to create a sketch to be raised. For example, if you wanted to create an octogon shape on the front of the ring, you can click on the top face and then select the the "Extruded Boss/Base" option. Then in Sketch, you could select the Polygon shape, and change it to 8 sides. Click on the face of the ring to add the octagon and drag the mouse to change the size. You can press the "Esc" button to exit the sketch tool. Then click the green check mark under the Polygon side bar.

Now click Exit Sketch to create the raised octagon, and choose the height of the octagon. Then click the green check mark to complete the shape.

Cutting away

Instead if you wanted to cut away at the ring, you could select a plane and choose the Extruded Cut option. You will be prompted to create a sketch of the hole, similar to when you added the extrusion as before. After drawing the sketch (a circle cut-out is shown below), click on the green check and Exit Sketch. Under the Extruded Cut tab, select Through All, and the green check mark. Then you should see an image like the one below.

Filling In

If you do not want to create a ring, you can fill in the shape. This would require you to fill in the empty space on the ring. To start, you can remove the filets which are the curved edges of the ring. On the sidebar, expand the Neopixel Shield so that you can see each feature that has been added to the part. This is a log of each change that you have made, and you can right-click a feature to edit it. Right Click on Filet1 and choose to delete it (red "X"), then click "yes" to the pop-up window.

Now to fill in the middle of the ring, go to the Features tab and choose the Lofted Boss/Base tool. For the Profiles, click on upper and lower edges of the hole in the center, as shown below. When you click the green check, you will see the hole filled in.

Other Shapes

Add an extrustion around the ring to change the shape

You can change the shape of your part so that it is not a circle. This example will show how to create a square around the ring, but you could add any shape. You will have to remove the filet feature on the edges if you have not already done so. On the left side menu, right Click on Filet1 and choose to delete it (red "X"), then click "yes" to the pop-up window. The images below show how to extrude around the ring that has already been filled in, as shown in the last step. You do not have to have the previous example completed.

First, click on Plane 4 and create a sketch by selecting the Sketch tab and clicking on Sketch. Orient the part so that you are viewing it from the bottom.

In the Sketch, you can add a square that surrounds the circle. This will be the new shape of your object. To do this, click on the Rectangle shape's pulldown menu, and select the Center Rectangle. If you hover your mouse around the origin/ the center of the circle, it should light up orange indicating that you are at the center. Create your rectangle by clicking on the center and dragging the mouse until the rectangle is outside of the circle.

You can adjust the dimensions by clicking Smart dimension and then selecting the side of the rectangle that you want to adjust.

You also need so add a circle that will keep your extrusion from filling the shell and turning it into a solid block. Select the Circle shape and create a circle that expands from the origin and ends at the edge of the case. The outer circle will light up with orange dashes when you are aligned with it. Click to place the circle, and then click Exit Sketch

On the sidebar menu on the left side of the screen, select the sketch that you just created. Now to create the extrusion, navigate to the Features tab and select the Extruded Boss/Base Feature. The sketch that you just created will appear raised.

To change the direction of the extrusion, click on the Reverse Direction button which is next to the first pull down menu under "Direction 1". Make sure the extrusion arrow is pointing towards the top of the case. Select the pull down menu (it initially will choose Blind) and choose " Up To Surface". Orient the ring so that you can see top of the case.

Select the top of the case, which will highlight the surface in pink and show a preview of the extension in yellow.

Click on the Green Check to finish the extrusion.

Adding to the Edges

Add an extrustion to the side of the ring

You may want to add shapes to the edge of your ring. To do this, select the base plane, Plane 4, and select the Sketch tab, where you can create a sketch by clicking on the Sketch button. Orient the piece so that you can see the bottom.

Now you can add some shape that overlaps with the circumference of the ring and then extrude the shape. This example will extrude a triangle from the side of the ring. Click on the Polygon shape and change the parameters so that there are 3 sides. Draw the polygon on the sketch as shown below.You can press the Esc button to stop drawing triangles. You can move and alter the triangle with your mouse after it is created.

Click on the green check mark and then Exit Sketch. Now select the sketch that you just created from the menu on the left side of the screen. With that highlighted, select the Extruded Boss/Base feature in the Features tab. You should see the raised triangle.

Change the direction of the extruded triangle by clicking on the button under Direction 1 , next to the pull down menu that says "Blind". Then change the End Condition from "Blind" to " Up To Surface". Change the orientation so that you can see the top surface of the shield and click on the top of the shield.

Click on the green check mark to finish this feature

More tutorials online