Edge-lit LED signs are an attractive and innovative way of advertising your businesses and products. They are energy efficient and are easy to assemble from acrylic panels and LED tape or strips. The key to a good sign is how you laser the image or lettering on the acrylic sheet and how you mount the acrylic panel so that the edges are brightly lit with the LED's . Colored LED's or multicolored LED strips and tapes enable you to choose the color of the light in the sign. The engraved parts will light up while the rest of the sign stays dark, producing the illusion of floating letters or images.


Step 1: Things you will need:

1.) Acrylic sheet: size to your preference- www.tapplastics.com  example of cost: a piece of Acrylic  12 inches x12 inches x 1/2 inches cost $20.50.

2.) Edge lit profile,end caps,and spring loaded pins and screws all sized to your piece of Acrylic- www.harborsales.net
Example of cost 12 inch profile 2 end caps and 2 pins cost $19.78

3.) Access to Co2 laser cutter- if you cant access one at a local area shop you can visit www.ponoko.com
to purchase acrylic and upload design to have it lasered into the acrylic.

4.) LED strips or light tape- www.superbrightleds.com or visit you local auto parts store advance auto or even wal-mart. usually cost about $18.00 to $25.00.

5.) Design software- Any design software Corel draw, Adobe Illustrator etc.

Optional items

6.) Bernzomatic torch starter kit- www.bernzomatic.com used to polish edge of acrylic cost 39.99 to 50.00.

Love this idea! I'm trying to make "glowing" panels and I'm wondering if I diffused the entire sheet, would the light spread evenly? The panel size would be about 6'ft y'all by 3 or 4ft wide. What do you think?
<p>I made these for the conductor and accompanists for my wife's community choir. Each one had a different design and thank you message.</p>
Can you do it with a router and stencils like you would with wood signs?
<p>Singapore <br>Food Signage provides top quality permitted food pictures, vectors <br>and pictures you may integrate into your layout function <br><a href="http://www.SingaporeFoodSignage.com/" rel="nofollow">www.SingaporeFoodSignage.com</a></p>
<p>I used this ible to get a better understanding of rastering (etching) acrylic. Great ible and worked well. Reversing the image was key to getting the look I wanted. Thanks.</p>
<p>This is sweet!!! I would like to make something close to this.</p><p>Can you tell me how you made the base? How are you powering the lights?</p>
@johnny.dejean.50 Glad you like it. The base is made of 1/8 inch stacked clear acrylic (inspired by the pibow case, except in all clear: http://www.raspberrypi.org/pibow/ ) the top very top of the base is 1/8 inch sky blue acrylic. Each layer of the case was individually cut on an Epilog laser cutter.<br><br>The lights themselves are strips of Adafruit RGB NeoPixel Strips. On the back of the base is a panel mount barrel connector which allows for the 5v power supply to connect. What you can't see from the picture is that the LEDs actually change color and I have powered those using an Atmel ATTiny85 microcontroller. If you don't want different color lights then a single color strip without the microcontroller would simplify things.<br><br>Parts<br> - Power Supply: https://www.adafruit.com/products/276<br> - NeoPixels: https://www.adafruit.com/products/1460 (cut to size)<br> - Panel Mount Barrel Connector: https://www.adafruit.com/products/610<br> - LED On/Off Switch: https://www.adafruit.com/products/482
Now heres a thought and I havnt done this yet. <br>Check the stores for end of stock xmas led lights, they should be cheap. <br>Get a string that has coloured pattern changing. <br>Discard the wall wart for another project maybe, open up the little box with the circuit board and look for the diode. <br>Bypass the diode so you can use a set of batteries of the correct voltage to drive the circuit. For long life I will be using 6V lantern batteries in series. <br>You now have a colour changing sign. <br>It may be beneficial to place the led frame all round the perspex, <br>I wont know till I try it.
do you think sand blasting would work to produce the image?
I second this, I have a vinyl cutter and sand blaster. I don't see why it wouldn't work but curious if anyone has any input?
I know you can get little sandblasting airbrushes, and you mask it off as usual with slightly sticky stencils, as you would for paint? that's a similar concept
Those little sand blasting airbrushes are ok in their way but removing any depth will be a bit of a chore. <br>I now use the gun that came with the cabinet but turn the pressure down for delicate work.
sandblasting, milling, any form of cutting will work perfectly fine. It will also work on glass, with sand blasting being the preferred method with glass.
This looks like an awesome project! I have always wanted to make <a href="http://www.topmade.com/signsandservices.php" rel="nofollow">signs</a> like this! I think that I will pick up everything that I need after work today so I can finish it in the next few days or so. Thanks again for the great guide and idea!
So. What DO you use to clean it?? You tell us what NOT to use, but what's recommended???!!! <br>
I've done little and simpler signs with a hand engraver, so I think for more complicate designs if a CO2 laser isn't available could be done with a CNC router.
I have made a few edge lit signs. This is a great Instrucable. I think the price of the acrylic is a bit high. Take a look at www.inventables.com. They may be lower price. Not sure about pricing on the LED strips. Seems there are a lot of suppliers out there. Buy American, if you can.
Tap plastics is American, if you live on the west coast you can go into one of their stores and dig through their scrap bin for super cheap acrylic. You buy that by the pound so if you want to experiment with anything on the cheap thats the way to do it.
<br> that is cool, I am getting an edge type sign myself - I designed a little LED controller (it fades them in and out basically to go with it (when it comes) on stripboard&nbsp; <strong><a href="http://www.paulinthelab.com/2012/09/fading-leds-eyes-for-halloween.html" rel="nofollow">HERE </a></strong><br>
I've never done this, does the depth of the etch matter, or do you just need to break the surface? Also does the viewing angle of the LEDs matter?
The depth of the etch only enhances the edges of the design. simply put the deeper the better. the viewing angle of the LED's doesn't matter just make sure you do not get strips with LED's that are Side Emitting . Hope this helps and would like to see your sign when your done.
Sweet job
Thanks Monsterlego

About This Instructable


304 favorites


More by pardy73: Edge Lit Acrylic Sign
Add instructable to: