Stars in the night sky are pretty far away, so let's add some depth to these untouchable constellations!
The lighting is actually from LED "fairy lights" commonly sold in rope lights, but a little soldering can do wonders.
Step 1: Tools and Parts
The base of this project it:
- Table saw
- Rotary tool with diamond engraver and router base
- Soldering Iron
- Cordless with drill bits
- Utility blade
- Various Pliers
- Torch and beeswax
You can cut plexiglas on table saw, just flip the blade around! Be careful, usually the bolt is counter-threaded! And go slow!
When cutting anything on a table saw, keep the blade low as possible, to keep as many teeth as possible on the material
Step 2: Baseplate
I cut out a piece 8X6" of hardwood oak
Then routed the edges (not very good, but hey, I'm learning)
Torched the wood with MAPP, cause I didn't have enough propane, but it worked fine
After it was torched to satisfaction, beeswax was then applied evenly to the burns
An old shirt was rubbed afterword to remove the soot
It should be black, but leave no residue to the touch
Carve out a channel for the battery pack and switch of the fairy light, preferably with a forstner bit, since the spade bit would have cut too deep in the wood
Routing a trough with a dremel worked best for me; a place for the plexiglas to slide into
Step 3: Air Filter
All we need from this is the metal screen
Cut it out around the edge and carefully peel it away; it's quite sharp!
Since some fuzz was left on it, I burned it off instead of trying to prick myself
Step 4: Coathanger
Getting a wire coathanger is either really easy or really hard
It's better for you to just see what it looks like than for me to explain it.
it's 5" wides, 5" tall, and 7.5" long, as to fit on the base without overextending
Step 5: Cut and Assemble
Either score and bend the plexiglas or cut it with a tablesaw into a 5"X5" square
These should all pop right into the base and stand tall. If not, then tweak it
Step 6: Choose Wisely
Print off an image of the constellation you want and tape it to the back of your plexiglas
I chose Ursa Major, pretty difficult, I would recommend any of the zodiac over this one
Etch it out with a dremel and grinding/diamond engraver bits
Take your time here, slow and steady wins this race, with multiple passes
Step 7: Soldering a Bit
The short version is that I grounded the metal grill and ran all the LEDs in a series, with the positive wire being insulated.
Long version is that I experimented for three hours before figuring out that grounding the grill was the best option
The space between the LEDs is important to know, whether you have to extend them or not
I keep the lights on when soldering, so i could tell if I had a good connection or not. LEDs are one-way so it's risky bet to solder on if you don't know the positive lead.. actually it's only 50/50
Align the lights with the correct positions on plexiglas, and there you have it!
I will upload more on the the distancing portion, I just want to fine-tune it before I release the math behind it
If you liked this or found it intriguing, please let me know and VOTE(share the love)