Step 8: Field test the Lite Brite

Giant Lite Brite v1.0 (not shown in this Instructable) was field tested at Yuri's Night at the Nasa Aims Research Center in California It fared pretty well there where it got steady use, but only for one day, and by only a couple hundred people. By the end of the event some of the foam (only v2.0 used rubber) was coming away from the acrylic front and so some slight modifications were made in order to improve performance for the Maker Faire.

Before the Maker Faire, Mitch and I added on some small nuts, bolts and wide washers to mechanically hold the rubber in place. This was done before the event right outside the exhibit hall in a moment of haste and didn't really do much to help the rubber stay in place since it was so elastic. I can't recommend this as a solid method for holding the rubber in place, but at the time, it was all we could do.

Although the Lite Brite provided hours of fun entertainment for people attending the fair, its rubber backing suffered quite a bit from all the use and came completely off in many spots.

Plans are in the works to waterjet a permanent solution: a steel sheet bolted directly behind the santoprene that holds all the sheets of rubber in place. The sheet will be thin gauge steel that is cut using the same file that the front panel of acrylic was cut with. Except for one change - the steel rubber backing plate will have just a slightly larger hole diameter then the black acrylic to allow for the santoprene tabs to fold back easily when a peg is pushed through.

Updates to this Instructable will follow once the sheet is fabricated.
GREAT IDEA!! I would definitely do this however its a bit out of my range of ability. Does anyone know where youcan get those floursecent rods though? they could be useful for a number of things. Also, about how much did this project cost overall?
<p>The acrylic rods are actually the most expensive part! We have spent over $2000 on rods. They come in 6ft lengths and we cut them with a miter saw. You can get them at www.eplastics.com</p>
Fluorescent rods? Oh you mean the acrylic rods Have a look on ebay
haha I feel really stupid I found the answers to both of my questions in the 'able after looking again
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://stores.ebay.com/All-Acrylics-LLC_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZQ2d999QQftidZ2QQtZkm">here</a>Just found a Ebay store for acrylic rods <br/>Check it out <a rel="nofollow" href="http://stores.ebay.com/All-Acrylics-LLC_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZQ2d999QQftidZ2QQtZkm">here</a><br/>
<p>Here are a couple of things we did differently:</p><p>1. Instead of building the unit out of wood, I stumbled upon a 4x8 sign box, like the ones you see above storefronts. Since this box was designed to hold a 4x8 sheet of plexiglass, it made things quite a bit easier. It has 2100 holes (approx) and is backlit by 200+ LED lights.</p><p>2. Totally gave up on trying to block the light with the rubber. Biggest pain ever!</p><p>Thank you Instructables for the helpful info!</p>
I built two 3'x4' copies. I do appreciate the instructions and it is a neat project but be mindful about a few things if you try to follow the recipe.<br><br>1. The pitch for the holes (&quot;holes spaced an inch apart&quot;) does not match the file provided to have the rubber cut (exactly 1.04&quot; spacing in both directions). That sounds minor but the mismatch accumulates across the panel until there is no overlap between holes and plus signs in the rubber. <br>2. Cost is higher than it sounds initially. The rubber is $8/sq ft plus shipping and water jet cutting rubber cost me $205 (12 sheets stacked and cut at once) and I only got that price after calling around extensively. Laser cutting quotes came in as high as $700 because they had to do it four sheets at a time and some refused the job despite my assurances that this rubber does &quot;play nicely with laser cutters&quot;. Each peg costs 50 cents plus shipping (from TAP, 1/2 inch rods in 6' lengths) and that assumes you cut them into pegs and polish and/or torch smooth the ends yourself. The fans specified are $50 each (I went cheaper), the glue, the black acrylic is around $100/sheet, the CNC setup and machining is $70/hour, light fixtures $20-30 each x two or three, 4.5&quot; hole saw plus arbor was $50 where I could find it locally, etc. Get a quote for all material, labor and shipping from every vendor in advance if you might be concerned about cost. <br>3. The *.cdr file in the article isn't accepted by job shops so I download the free CorelDraw X5 demo and saved As DXF. I would have been better to draw my own array of plus signs, or at least check dimensions twice and cut once to avoid issue #1 above.<br>4. Tools: Also, you'll need a good table saw for long grooves and bevels. And a miter saw for chopping all the acrylic rods.<br>5. Peg color selection is limited. In October 2011, I couldn't find half inch extruded acrylic fluorescent rods online in very many fluorescent colors. Yellow does light up as does clear but there is a strong brightness mismatch between fluorescent and not if you try blacklight as lighting instead. Never mind hand-painted blue ones. Some fluorescent blue ones look clear on the side and blue only on the circular tip.<br>6. The 3/4&quot; plywood back makes it a lot heavier. I switched to a thin back panel.
How about this?
Wow. . . . O_o
The pegs in this one are translucent Solo cups glued top-to-top and placed in the board. the black areas are Solo cups painted black. it is lit by 8 old florescent lights.
it'd be interesting to see if this could be done with LEDs too, just alternating the +/- rails (just wondering how you could get them to "stick" in place...)
...MAGNETICS!!! If you could find some way of making insulated traces on a bare sheet of metal, you could energize just those and have the metal plate be the ground... then you won't be limited to a grid... OOH... conductive paint on top of regular paint! *runs off to experiment...*
It's been <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetic-Refrigerator-Lights/">done before</a>.<br/>
Actually, it hasn't been &quot;done before&quot; What you linked is just a modern version of the lite bright. What they did is a larger version of the lite bright. There is a difference. But I do have to say the modern version of the lite bright is pretty cool. I may end up having a go at both of them and put them in my house. :) I'm a lite bright dork.
But this one is WAY cooler! the world wouldn't evolve if we didn't cheat off each other at some point!
Great idea but what about the resistors every colour has a different voltage And people won't notice that the LED's need to have the polarity correct and throw them out.
hmmm... well, resistor-wise you could solder it together so that it kinda wraps around the led. You're right, how would you figure for that? would it be parallel connections? I'm sure there's a voltage range that will overlap for all the LEDs you're planning on using, so that it falls under the maximum of all, but above the minimum... that, or just limit your color palette.
just had a idea that incorporates a SM resistor on the side of a LED and only fits into socket one way I was too lazy to do it better quality
On a day when totally bored and having access to a junk bin and a case full of old phono plugs/jacks and a sheet of that perforated board, I made a patch panel with a LED & resistor mounted in each plug and wired the sockets in parallel. Down side was that you didn't know what colour you had in hand until you plugged it into the panel. Would have looked better if I had painted it flat black as well .... or taken pictures .. oh well. Its the thought that counts right?
Regarding step 7, you can buy &quot;light gathering acrylic&quot; that would have done exactly what you wanted in lots of different colours.
Wow! This is So Cool! I saw it the make faire and loved it. I have to say it would be awesome to have a giant 100 ft long 1/8 inch diameter piece of acrylic. Imagine the possibilities.
Imagine turning the lights off in a big room after building a massive picture with the 100ft light brite!
would it have been better to use LEDs? you could get a bag of 100 for a few dollars these days.<br />
The whole idea is that people can remove the pegs and put them back in to make their own picture. As opposed to having to program a giant LED matrix.<br />
not what I meant. use individual LEDs to light up the pegs and make it so they light up when the pegs are inserted that would tone down the heating.<br />
<strong>AWESOME</strong> idea!<br /> <strong>GREAT</strong> instructable! &nbsp;:D (thats actually the biggest smiley i can do with ASCII).
If you could get the laser to cut each slot at a slight angle there would be no light getting through the cross slot. This may not be a problem anyway. Great Instuctable, great toy.
The laser beam itself has a kerf. &nbsp;I'd say that it's only about 1/64&quot;, but it's still very much there and lets a very small amount of light through.&nbsp; Cutting at a slight angle would be pretty cool to see if you could miter the joint and reduce the kerf, but since the laser beam head is fixed on that axis, I don't think that it's in the cards using this method.<br />
Sorry for the muti posting but my internet connection died then it would not show the posting on this page or my account. I tried IE and FF??????
&nbsp;Chrome! &nbsp;<br /> <br /> A great browser by Google and an even better <a href="http://popup.lala.com/popup/576742266177130139l" rel="nofollow">song</a> by Trace Atkins!<br /> <br /> <br />
Awesome. You guys win at life. Forever. I agree with your proposal to add a drilled sheet of steel behind the rubber--it would definitely do the trick as far as holding the rubber in place. However, one should perhaps worry about steel getting really hot. Why not make two of the drilled clear acrylic sheets you used, then use one of those instead of steel? Just an idea. Again, thanks for posting this--utterly illuminating! (No pun intended. Okay, maybe, but a bad one, I concede.) Cheers...
Wow! What a great idea for Halloween, Christmas, etc. decorations! Thanks!
Awesome! I've been working on something like this for a while only smaller but with real lite-brite pegs(hence the "for a while"). My plan was to just use black posterboard but it would be one use. I really want to make a sophisticated picture like the Mona Lisa. My big hang up has been creating a computer program to convert a picture to lite-brite peg colors and spacing. My initial idea was to filter the picture in Photoshop to the peg colors then put it in a program like rasterbator to figure out where the pegs go. I don't know how to use photoshop though so I've had trouble getting help with that. You may be able to do it all in photoshop with some kind of dot filter too. Anyone up for a "make your own lite-brite pattern in Photoshop instructable?
you got my vote ;D
that is so phreaken awesome!!! :D :D
I love this I'ble so much! Truly cool idea.
So awsome! Noahw, about how much did this cost to make?
The major cost was the acrylic sheet and rod. I tried to salvage as much of the wood as possible from scrap, and relatively speaking, the lights and fans are inexpensive, but there's no getting around the price of all that acrylic. I don't have an exact number of what we spent on it, but it's on the order of several hundreds of dollars.
Wow... more than I thought! =/ <br/><br/>Thanks for telling me, one day (if I save up a few $100), I might build this. Its awsome!<br/>
hey, I saw this at makerfaire! cool!
It looks awesome...But I suggest you to use Blacklight instead of white fluorescent light, so nobody sees the light comes from sheet of rubber with slits cut... And also fluorescent colored acrylic rods illuminates much more brighter...
That is so cool. Great project.
I <em>love</em> lite brites!<br/>
Absolutely fantastic! As a teenager with a part-time job.... projects like these are not particularly on my budget. Lets hope after a summer, I can make a good amount of money to make awesome projects such as this one.
Wow this thing is freakin' AWESOME (added to favorites)
That's amazing! Incredible implementation, too. It looks like everything went together so seamlessly. Man, what I would have given to have one of these babys as a kid...
AWESOME! I think Eric told me about this when I stopped by-- except you guys don't have the pegs or something. Awesome Instructable once again! I will try +5/5 if it works, because nothing shows up once I +STARS to any Instructable.. (added to favorites)

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Bio: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs ... More »
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