Picture of Creepy Halloween Skull Decoration
Here's a creepy & cool halloween decoration you can make at the TechShop!

I made this using a really interesting halftoning technique & software from Jason Dorie.  

Let's jump right in!

  • 24" x 18" x 1/8" acrylic or other CNC-able, clear or translucent material. 
  • Black paint that will bond with your material
  • wood for framing, approx 1/2" thick.
  • opaque backing sheet.  MDF or similar.  Roughly the same size as the front piece
  • LED Light strip
  • Arduino
  • CNC Router
  • Table saw
  • Router rable

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Step 1: Generate your CNC Files

Picture of Generate your CNC Files
The process is a little involved, but here's the outline:
  1. Open up the 'reactor' program.  Import your image into it.
  2. Let it run.
  3. Export the file
  4. Open up the Vectric software and import the image
  5. trace the image to covert to vectors
  6. create a pocket toolpath with all the vectors.
  7. If the tool fits into all the little pockets, YEAH.  Usuall it won't be right.  If it doesn't fit and create a good carving path, you need to scale down your source image, and go back to step 1.
Once you've created the carving path, you can move on to the hardware!

Step 2: Paint your acrylic black

Picture of Paint your acrylic black
I used clear acrylic, that I painted black.  I used the CNC to remove the black paint.  

Step 3: Go to the ShopBot

Picture of Go to the ShopBot
Once the files were prepared, and the acrylic was painted, I headed over to the Techshop to do the carving. 

I used carpet tape to hold the acrylic to the bed.  It's pretty aggressive, and was kind of hard to remove.  But worked out in the end.

Step 4: Build a box

Picture of Build a box
The idea is to build a box that's white on the inside and black on the outside.  The white is to reflect as much light from the LED strip as possible to give as uniform lighting as possible.

I don't have plans for the box, I just kind of winged it. 

I sloped the rear so that it would pick up more light.  I don't know how useful that really was, but the results came out pretty nicely as you'll see later.

Darrenmagoo10 months ago

Just watched the video in the last step it looks fantastic lit up in the dark. well done Sir

ccrome (author)  Darrenmagoo10 months ago

Yeah, it does look pretty neat :-) Thanks!

It looks hard, how long did it take u again?..
ccrome (author)  mariuszturecki1 year ago
Heh, I don't really know. A couple hours to do the design. A couple hours to do the CNC. And a few hours to build the box. Maybe 8 hours total? Oh yeah, and a couple hours to build the arduino stuff and get it running.
ccrome (author) 1 year ago
Do you know about this book then?
Raul531 year ago
It's not Halloween any more
DIY9393 Raul531 year ago
Does it matter? It is amazing! I would have it in my house all year round!

I love skulls. All types. :)
dave614 Raul531 year ago
It will probably take me until next halloween to get it done, but I want one.
Some of us gotta' start now to be ready for next year's festivities ....
ccrome (author)  dave6141 year ago
If you need any more guidance, let me know :-)