One of my coolest possessions is my Mini Museum. To quote its creator, Hans Fex: it is an amazing portable museum that contains a variety of specimens from Earth and beyond.

A Mini Museum on a desk in front of a backlit wall.
The Mini Museum.

Ever since I received the museum I wanted to have a good way to put it on display. I figured a good way of doing this was hanging the Mini Museum on an empty wall and illuminating the specimens using LEDs. A benefit of hanging the museum on a wall is that I do not have to worry about it being knocked over and scratched, which was a concern when I had the museum temporarily placed on my desk.

To hang the Mini Museum on the wall I designed a 3D printable display case. The display case uses two warm white LED strips to light up the Mini Museum, one on each side. The LEDs can be set to always on, always off, or triggered by a HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor that detects whether a person is standing in front of the display. The display case is programmed so that when someone walks past the Mini Museum it does not light up, but when that person stops in front of (and looks at) the museum the LEDs do turn on.

 

To help you hang your Mini Museum on the wall, I have described below how to build the 3D printed display case, as well as the materials and tools that are required for the project.

Materials

  • A Mini Museum
  • 4x M3x16mm bolt

Printed parts

  • 1x Front
  • 1x Back
  • 1x Back Insert

The links to the 3D printable .STL files can be found in the Files & Print Settings section below.

An exploded view with bill of materials of a 3D printed Mini Museum display case.
Exploded view with all components

Electronics

Tools

Files & Print Settings

The .STL files for 3D printing as well as the source code for the Digispark are available for download on Thingiverse.

I printed the parts with 2 shells, 15% infill. The back needs to be printed with support.

Step-by-Step

An exploded view of a 3D printed display case for a Mini Museum with all components clearly visible.
The display case in exploded view. The back insert is inserted into the back, so that the entire assembly can be hung on screws.
I did not have the possibility to drill screws in the section of wall where the Mini Museum goes, so I designed a wall mount that the display case will hang on. I stuck the wall mount to the wall with double sided tape.

The Front

A hand using a tap to thread a hole in a 3D printed plastic component.
The first step is to tap the M3 threads in the front of the display
In the top left is an early prototype for the display case visible.

The Back

A hand holding a bottle of super glue over a black 3D printed part on a desk.
The back insert now needs to be secured to the back of the display case. I used superglue, but I recommend using an adhesive without cyanoacrylate such as a two-part epoxy. The outgassing of the cyanoacrylate creates a white haze on the plastic that is hard to remove. An additional way to secure the insert is by melting the edges of the insert to the back. An adjustable soldering iron with the temperature set to the lowest setting is a good tool to do this with.

The Wall Mount

Side view of a see through render of a part.
I designed the wall mount to have two ~2.5 mm diameter holes that extend into the attachment pins for the display case. In the holes is a piece of nail with the same diameter inserted, so that the pins on which the display case will hang are reinforced. Without the reinforcement the printed layers of the pins are easily delaminated when too much force is applied, because of the attachment pins’ very small surface area. Without the reinforcement I would not be comfortable trusting the wall mount with my Mini Museum. When using screws to hang the Mini Museum the steps for the wall mount can be skipped.
Side view of a nail sticking out of a black 3D printed part, with a piece of blue tape wrapped around the nail.
I inserted the nail in one of the holes of the wall mount and marked the depth with a piece of tape.
A hand holding a dremel that is used to cut a nail that is held in a vise that is mounted on a desk.
The nail can be cut to length with a rotary tool or saw.
A hand holding a bottle of super glue above a black 3D printed part on a desk.
Glue needs to be put in the hole of one of the attachment pins.
A hand holding a pair of tweezers with a nail in it above a 3D printed black part.
The nail can now be inserted in the hole.
A black 3D printed part with two pieces of nail glued into place on a desk, with next to it a pair of tweezers.
Repeat these steps for the second nail and wait for the glue to dry.

Part 2

At this point the work on the body of the display case is finished. In part 2 of this project I continue this build with the electronics of the display case.

If you find this article useful, please share it or leave a comment. I love to hear your feedback and questions!

1 thought on “Mini Museum Display Case – Part 1”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top