Picture of Fake Neon Sign
I didn't know what to call this instructable, "robot night light"  "glow in the dark sign" "back lit laser engraving" "poor man's neon sign"  all came to mind, but this could be used for advertising, emergency exit sign, an award or it could just to sit on your desk and look pretty. The size is only limited to the size of the laser cutter you have. This one runs of a battery, but you can run it from a plug pack, up to 12volts if it is going to be run all the time. As with most things that produce light it is very difficult to take a photo that does it justice, even in the daylight it looks really good, and in a darken room it lights up a part of the room. I spent more time taking photos than actually building it sadly this is the best I could do.  It may be too bright for a kids night light. I made 2 versions of the sign the blinking "neon type" sign and the standard glow in the dark sign.
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Step 1: Stuff you will need

Picture of stuff you will need
To make a basic glow in the dark sign you will need.
  • access to a laser cutter
  • LED ribbon
  • 9 volt battery or 12 volt regulated plug pack
  • battery snap
  • block of wood to mount the base.
  • 3mm cast acrylic sheet, clear or the florescent colours for the sign 
  • tools, sand paper, timber finish, soldering iron, drill, saw etc
The blinking fake neon sign will also need
  • A flip flop circuit
  • fine hook up wire
  • A CAD drawing program that can import and export DXF files is also useful
  • acrylic glue
  • 3mm cast acrylic sheet solid colour for the base

genius4hire7 months ago

Very good. I was looking what others have build before I make my version with an ATtiny micro controller. Your flip flop circuit can be purchased at in kit form.

I also had the idea to have mutable layers of acrylics behind each other. You have proven that it works.

Keep the good work up.

liquidhandwash (author)  genius4hire7 months ago

Thanks genius, Ive got some kids working on a few signs at the moment, I will post pictures when they are finished. Also the signs work better with clear acrylic and coloured LEDs rather than coloured acrylic and clear LEDs

Could this be done with a relatively low powered soldering iron instead of a laser printer,and a steady hand?
this would not work with a laser printer, I think you mean laser cutter/engraver ;)
You probably have more success using an engraver.
agguilar2 years ago
thank you for sharing!!!
liquidhandwash (author)  agguilar2 years ago
your welcome
It's not so much a "Fake" neon sign, as it is a GENUINE Edge Lit Display. There are others around the site, but you have put this one together very nicely.

Well done, and thank you for sharing it.
liquidhandwash (author)  Dream Dragon2 years ago
Thanks dream dragon
I googled edge lit sign, and there are heaps of them, Dam I thought I had come up with something new :-( Im depressed now.
I suppose if I Knew about edge lit signs before i started I wouldn't have made an instructable about it.

Aleator7772 years ago
Simple, effective, and attractive! Good work
hertzgamma2 years ago
Very creative, I like the idea!
liquidhandwash (author)  hertzgamma2 years ago
Thanks hertzgamma
I've not used arduino before, but I am familiar with Picaxe controllers. just got to get some time to try it out.
If you wonder about a micro controller it is very easy to use a one of the sort attiny, 2min to program using an arduino uno and very easy to use.
themoose642 years ago
this is really cool! 5*