Introduction: Engraved Acrylic With LED Lights at MauiMakers!
This project was created during the Maui Makers “Dremel Build Day” with the help of some awesome Maui Makers (Brian, Lorayne, Laura, Jerry, and everyone else in attendance!). I learned how to use the Dremel rotary and multi-max tools and came home with some fun new art!
Bonus... Hurricane Iselle and Julio were scheduled to arrive less than a week after this was made. It turns out in addition to being a nice piece of art, it can also double as a nightlight and distraction when the power goes out! Just remember to stock up on extra batteries within your emergency preparedness kit. :-)
Step 1: Select Your Image
Choose a design to trace onto the acrylic. This was actually an old Christmas ornament that fit nicely under an existing piece of acrylic square.
Step 2: Secure Your Image & Drill
Clamp the acrylic and design to a table securely and use a Dremel to trace the image. For this one we decided to use a Dremel 4000 High Performance Rotary Tool and a Dremel 9909 Cone Carbide Cutter bit for finer lines.
Since the Dremel rotates clockwise, its best to also cut your image in a clockwise direction. Its also best to use a higher speed or else the bit gets "stuck" in the acrylic and doesn't create a sharply defined line.
Be sure to wear safety goggles! The acrylic particles fly all over.
Step 3: Check the Acrylic and Fine Tune
Clean up any loose particles and check if you missed anything. Also, take a minute to enjoy your new piece of art!
Step 4: Light It Up With LED's!
Line an LED strip along the base and decide what colors you'd like to light it up with! For this project we used an RGB LED weatherproof flexi-strip 30 LED and cut off just enough to wrap the acrylic square. You can control the entire strip at once with any microcontroller and three transistors. The way they are wired, you will need a 9-12VDC power supply and then ground the R/G/B pins to turn on the three colors. There's a 3M adhesive strip on the back which should stick to most smooth surfaces.
Also, here is a video of it lit up with blinky tape.
Step 5: Optional: Paint the Acrylic for a Stained Glass Effect
Or, instead of using LEDs to light up your new piece of art, you can paint the acrylic using nail polish for a beautiful stained glass effect! The translucent nail polish allows the light to shine through.
Hang it from a window or set it on your windowsill for a temporary stained glass window!