I first began this project about a month ago, when I decided to do something special and unique for my girlfriend for Christmas. I didn't want this to be something that would break the bank (~$50) and be easy to construct using a very limited space (my college dorm room) and a few simple tools. In fact, most of my budget was spent buying replacement parts and tools that I didn't have. However, by following this guide you should be able to eliminate most of the errors I made, and most tools (and even some materials) are readily available around the house or online. This project requires some basic-intermediate level electronics and basic tool working knowledge, and by following this guide would take somewhere between 20-40 hours to complete. This board has 3 different modes, controlled by an input switch, and an on/off switch.
Step 1: Tools and materials
This project requires quite a lengthy list of materials and tools, most of which can be purchased off of eBay.
Dremel or small power drill (optional, but makes the board look much cleaner)
Small drill bit
Hot glue gun and hot glue
Dry erase marker
Needle nose pliers
Soldering iron and solder (I used a 60 watt)
9 volt battery
18x24 sheet of plexiglass- $9 at lowes
Roll of 1/4" ID milky white plastic tubing- $2.50 at lowes, amount depends on how many words you want
Roll of 18 guage automotive wire (40 feet)- $6 at wall mart
LED's- amount and color will depend on personal preference. I used red and blue, purchased in lots of 100. I would recommend buying from ebay user giorgio11185 (http://myworld.ebay.com/giorgio11185?_trksid=p2047675.l2559) His prices are fair and he includes free resistors (which I elected not to use for this project)- $4-$5 per lot of 100.
3 position (on/off/on) toggle switch- $.99 on ebay
2 position (on/off) toggle switch- $.99 on ebay
Project box (at least 4x3x1.5, or big enough to fit arduino and a few wires)- $6 on ebay
Arduino uno board- $15 on ebay
Arduino 9v power adapter-$5 on ebay
optional- solderless breadboard and jumper wires- $7 on ebay (well worth it in my opinion)