Introduction: How to Make Light Up Acrylic Stands
The common exit signs now a days are simply Plexiglas or acrylic with a small amount of LEDs lit through them. These are simple to make and look amazing when finished. This how to will tell you how to make those stands for your desk or home.
Step 1: Gathering Your Supplies
What I used to create the stand was a table saw, laser cutter, and adobe illustrator.
The materials i gathered was a block of wood (any size and kind will do so long as it fits your needs.), a slab of acrylic, small one color LEDs, a female 2.1 jack, a screw driver, and a 12 Volt DC plug.
You may need some high grit sand paper and a blow torch for small details of your choice.
Step 2: Making Your Stand
To make the stand for your acrylic first grab the board you need. Using the table saw cut the wood to the length you would like. Once completed lower the table saw to about 1/2 of the wood's thickness. Run the piece of wood length wise through the table saw. It will leave a straight mark through the wood. Keep doing this until your acrylic will fit into the slot.
Step 3: Creating Your Display
Next open adobe illustrator and begin to size up your acrylic. Create red cut lines to the dimensions of the acrylic you want. Make sure to add an inch at the bottom as this will go into the holder and not be seen. Next add pictures and writing inside the red box. this will be displayed on your stand. Once you have your stand designed highlight the entire image and click object, transform, and reflect. This should make the image be etched backwards and allow the image to show through the stand.
I went ahead and cut my acrylic on a table saw. Both ways are equally effective.
Step 4: Cutting the Display
Next set up the acrylic into your laser cutter and set up the settings. You can choose how much of an etch you want on your display, I prefer using 100% Power, 100% speed, and 1000 PPI. I also recommend you let the laser cut your image out instead of using another tool. This can easily be done at 100% power, 1% speed, and 1000 PPI. If done right when cut out the acrylic you will have a nice clear finish on the edges. If you did not cut it on the laser and used a table saw. This is your first choice. You can decide to use sandpaper and rough up the sides of the acrylic. This is displayed in the final product and will have the sides shine as well as the etched piece. You can also choose to flame polish and make them clear. If you flame polish there will be less light on the sides of the picture.
If you need a flame polish guide. Click Here!
Step 5: Assemble and Polish
Last step! Go ahead and quickly screw in your wires to your female adapter. Red goes to positive and black goes to negative or ground. Then plug it into the 12 volt DC plug to test if they light up. Next remove the tape on the back and stick them inside your cut. You can also glue them inside your cut. Lastly lay your acrylic into the cut and there you have it. You've created a light up stand.