Build Your Own 3D-printed Ring Light to Upgrade Your Remote Meetings

We are entering year two of pandemic lockdowns and remote meetings, teach from home classes, and teleconferences are hear to stay. Early last year we addressed some of the basics of perfecting a decent space for teaching from home: The true, essential, and definitive guide to looking like a professional while teaching from home.

But some folks want a little extra edge, a little something that dramatically improves how you look in the camera while teaching your class, giving a talk, or holding a meeting. And not just because of vanity. The better and clearer your camera image, the easier it is for your audience to see and understand you (though vanity is a perfectly fine reason too, we have all spent far too much time this year staring at ourselves in the little Zoom box).

You could buy a ring light to provide the best possible light source for looking good on a webcam, but why buy something when you can spend several hours soldering and coding your own custom, addressable, RGBW ring light.

The good nerds at Southern Fried Science are here for you. I spent the last month polishing up my coding, soldering, design, and 3D-printing skills to bring you a 3D-printed, DIY ring light that you can build and code yourself.

Is it cheaper than a commercial ring light? No.

Does it work better than a ring light designed and manufactured by a professional team of engineers? Also no.

Can you independently control each color channel so it looks like you’re in the Matrix, under water, of cosplaying the This Is Fine dog via a large, bulky box that sits on you desk? Yes.

Does it come with a panic button that lets you bail out of Zoom calls by pretending that you’re being pulled over by the police? You better believe it does.

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SFS Gear Reviews: When the current changes, you have to adapt – Digipower Universal Travel Adapter

Digipower

For a prolonged tour in the field, the little things matter just as much as the big things. And nothing is smaller or more easily forgettable than the lowly travel adapter. I picked mine up in an airport somewhere in Japan as an afterthought, like many travelers, once I got to my destination and realized I had no way to charge up my netbook.

The travel adapter seems inconsequential, but choosing the wrong one can be fatal. I got lucky, because the only one in stock turned out to be a workhorse, but horror stories abound of the unsuspecting graduate student plugging their vital equipment into a suspect outlet and frying a computer, blowing a critical sensor, or setting their shack on fire. Electricity is not to be taken lightly.

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