Instructables

Edge Lit Mobile / Night Light

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Picture of Edge Lit Mobile / Night Light
This instructable is about making an edge-lit mobile to hang in a childs room (or wherever for that matter).  Different images can be used for any age or any occasion.  For insatnce, you can make one for Halloween by etching skeletons in the acrylic and use white LED's to light it.  Etch Christmas trees, a Santa Clause, a candy cane, etc. and hang it up at Christmas time.  Hearts for Valentines Day, etc., etc...  USE YOUR IMAGINATION!

If you have an EPILOG LASER CUTTER you can skip all the hand cutting / etching and who knows, maybe even be able to sell stuff like this on the side.     

Anyhoo...

Without further ado, I present to you...

The Edge Lit Baby Mobile!

Download the attached PDF to print out the images for this instructable.

 
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Step 1: Video - WORKING WITH ACRYLIC

Forgive the horrible green screen pixelation in the beginning. It does not do this in the regular video and is only happening in the upload but It clears up soon after.

I tried a few different things to no avail. I do not have anymore time to work on it so I will have to settle with a JUNK video upload... SORRY!
jelte12345 months ago

Hi,

Would it also work if you would place the led's on top, and epoxy some thin translucent (thick fishing wire?) onto the led and onto the plexi? if it would, it would look even better, I think.

sdudley (author)  jelte12345 months ago

Hmmm... this would make a good experimaent. However, I would probably just buy actual fiber optic cable. Fiber optic cable is cheap:

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/fiber-optic-light-cable

Thanks for the tip... I just might try it out!

hms10183 years ago
SWEEEET!
Can you show how you did the Monster one?
sdudley (author)  hms10183 years ago
That was my very first try and I used an old scratched up piece of plexiglass.  It turned out ok so I decided to keep making other things.  
The inspiration for me to make edge-lit signs came from the mini-fridge (hopefully that is not what you are referring to - I didn't do that). 

For the little Monster logo, along with the other signs, I used surface mount LED's.  I suppose I could recreate it and take pictures along the way for an instructable. 

The SMD's are pretty challenging to work with on the edge of the acrylic because I connect them with a very thin wire and power it with a CR20302 battery.  You can see this in the pictures of the blue pentagon sign at the end of the video.

There are LED strips you can buy but they are exepensive and I have yet to find any that work on less than 12 volts.

So, back to your original question... I will do my best to put together an instructable for a little desktop sign (such as the Monster logo) but it may have to wait awhile.  There are too many other contests I want to upload instructables for and the projects I have in mind do not include edge-lit LED stuff.  Sorry!
hms1018 sdudley3 years ago
i was actually trying to figure out how You did the edges on on it. You have some really nice pieces on here. Good Luck on the contest!
sdudley (author)  hms10183 years ago
I simply used the Dremel sander to dig into the edges and give it a raw look.  

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By sdudley1 at 2011-03-21 Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
By sdudley1 at 2011-03-21
Do you know how far in a single peice of plexiglass one LED light will show? Just curious.
Mrballeng3 years ago
This is great. I was just thinking about doing this the other day. Thank you.
sdudley (author)  Mrballeng3 years ago
Thanks.

I might make another one myself. I was thinking of making one for Halloween using white LED's and etching some skeleton figures in different poses.

Ariexis3 years ago
You can buy LEDs for cheap by the hundreds on ebay
IronCrow3 years ago
I love the 2 position jig you have made for your Dremel! You wouldn't happen to have those plans handy would you?
sdudley (author)  IronCrow3 years ago
Sure would...

The instructable can be found here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Mini-Tablesaw-Router-Shaper-for-Dremel-rotary-/

Enjoy!
ognat423 years ago
Great video. I have been thinking about a project like for a while now. I have a question about your bender. Looks like a DIY. Do you mind sharing plans? Instructions?

Thank you,
Sam
sdudley (author)  ognat423 years ago
Thanks.

I got the plans from this instructable here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Poor-man-s-200-dollar-plastic-heat-strip-for-penni/

However, I was lucky because I had purchased a new toaster over and the one I was replacing worked fine - it was just getting nasty and not something I cared to cook food in anymore.

I followed his instructions but I didn't have to go through the trouble of wiring up a dimmer, etc. I just used the front panel of the oven which still works great! 

Hope that helps. Good luck.
ognat42 sdudley3 years ago
Thank for taking the time to reply. I will look it up. I just happen to have an old toaster over sitting around. Wasn't sure what to do with it but now its destiny is known. :)

Thanks again,
Sam
Great vid! Good tips about the acrylic methods. There *are* cyanoacrylates that are formulated NOT to leave a white residue on the plastics. Search for 'non fogging' cyano glues. I use them at work all the time. Interesting note: this is the method used by CSI to discover hidden fingerprints... leave a dish of cyanoacrylate open in a room and it will leave that white powdery substance on the surface you are checking for prints! Again, thanks for the tips, I will have to rty this.
sdudley (author)  stringstretcher3 years ago
Hey thank you for the tip!

I'll check out the cyno glues. Do you think they work well as an adheasive for bonding the LED's to the acrylic? As I noted in my instructable, that's where I have a problem. I also work a lot with surface mount LED's and have used super glue for that. It works well but I'd rather have them bond clear.
http://tds.loctite.com/tds5/docs/NEW-CA460-EN.PDF

This is the stuff you want. It is made to be used on plastics, so yes it should be fine for your needs. 'Low blooming' means no white coloring. I use this product commercially in production. Good stuff. Jim
sdudley (author)  stringstretcher3 years ago
The data sheet (when speaking of different substrates) doesn't say anything about acrylic or plexiglass, only PVC or ABS plastic so I would not have thought to use it.

It also mentions it is good for porous materials and elastomers which makes it very interesting and probably quite useful for a few of my other projects.

Instructables is a good place to learn!

Thanks. :)
marcintosh3 years ago
Thanks for this. I can't wait to try this out.

IF for some unknown reason you don't win an EPILOG LASER CUTTER, you might like to try using a Laminate cutter/router.  

Dremel also makes a nice router attachment too.  If you decide to go with a Dremel you could use a router bit that has the same contour as one of the grinder stones they offer.

I gotta go now and do some uh, work, with acrylic, and led's so.   .   .   uh thanks!!      8-D
sdudley (author)  marcintosh3 years ago
Hmmm... good idea. I wonder how well that Dremel "TRIO" works for this?

Maybe it's time I try it out!

Thanks. :)
VERRRY NICE !! Another "clear-coat" for glass-clear" edges + casting resin. An item I use often for many craft "things". Easy to work with / moldable / etc. Like transparant fiberglass. Ever try fiber optics cast into resin and LED's ?? Limited only be imagination.
arty3 years ago
A heatsink will stop you burning up LED's. For convenience, use the alligator clip of your "third-hand" as a heat sink. Resistors need protection, too, so you might stabilize the work with one alligator gripping each side of the joint. Since you are "lap-jointing" them, I'll bet a paperclip would serve to align the work while heat-protecting both components (with or without the third-hand).

If you are damaging electronics, you are either using too much heat or holding it too long. Try using a lower wattage iron. Try pre-tinning the parts. Also try to speed up the work by bending hooks into the wire ends; this makes the physical bond independent of the electrical bond (solder) - which is good practice anyway - and can speed the work by separating the "alignment task" from the "soldering task." Soldering doesn't take long enough to damage the work; it is the reheating to re-align... IMHO.

Nice Instructable. Thank you.
sdudley (author)  arty3 years ago
Awesome tips! Thank you.
djnorm_983 years ago
Looks great! Have you thought about keeping the LEDs in the top and using fiber to light the squares? Maybe I'll have to try it out and make my own ible... ;)
sdudley (author)  djnorm_983 years ago
I did not. Interesting thought though. I would love to see it if you make something.

That's the beauty of this kind of stuff... it can be done a million times over and you can still never run out of ideas!

There are a thousand different ideas I have and want to do, I just don't have the time.

ngachit3 years ago
so cute!! i like it...thank for your share...
ChrysN3 years ago
That looks really good, nicely done!
Such a good video - very entertaining!
kelseymh3 years ago
That's an amazing project. The end result picture is gorgeous, and you provided excellent details for someone else to reproduce it. Thanks!
sdudley (author)  kelseymh3 years ago
Thank you for the comment. Unfotunately the photos really don't show how nice it turned out. I was actually quite surprized. It really lights up the room nicely with all the lights off. It would be great in the corner of a childs room, especially one who might be a little bit scared of the dark (like me)! :)