Instructables

Installing LED Strip on Round Frame, Railing, or Tube

Picture of Installing LED Strip on Round Frame, Railing, or Tube
This guide will show you how to install an 'embedded'  LED Strip on a round railing, tube, or frame.

This is perfect for indoor and outdoor architectural railings, or outside on your motorcycle frame, bicycle frame, roof racks, or anywhere that needs some extra bling, dazzle, visibility, spark, or shine.

You will need a good quality, non waterproof LED Strip,  protection rating of  IP20, contact cement (optional), masking tape (optional), a fine line permanent marker or sharp pointed tool, 1" fibreglass ribbon, fibreglass resin, body filler (Bondo), a plastic yoghurt tub or similar plastic (for your spreader/shaper).

Step 1: Attaching LED Strip & Applying Fiberglass

Picture of Attaching LED Strip & Applying Fiberglass
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Best way to accurately position your new strip, once you have decided where to mount it,  is to draw or scratch a guide line that you can follow with one edge of the LED strip, this will minimize handling and over working the delicate flexible PC board.

Attach the LED Strip using the adhesive back to hold it in place before applying the 1” wide fibreglass ribbon which runs along the length of the LED strip. Prepare surfaces with a solvent that evaporates quickly but first, make sure it doesn't attack your existing finishes.

Leave the end contacts exposed for final connecting and sealing .

Masking off the area where the strip will adhere and then painting or spraying contact cement on will give an exceptional bond when combined with the strip’s adhesive. Take care however, because repositioning will be a problem once it grabs.

When applying the LED strip - first, peel the backing paper back about 2 inches and press the strip into place, next, put a bit of  tension on the LED strip holding it about a foot from the adhesion point while applying it and peeling back the paper backing, 2-4 inches at a time, apply good pressure with a finger every 1/2 inch or so.  Make sure the adhesive has grabbed, this will assure an even line of LEDs and provides the best heat transfer, which will help extend their performance.
Never just peel the LED strip off once it has bonded to a surface, instead use a thin scraper or dull blade and slide it between the bonded surfaces while lifting the LED strip away and minimize distorting it.

When applying the fibreglass, the best results can be had by brushing the resin onto the strip/pipe area before applying the fibreglass then brushing another coat over the ribbon once it’s been applied. A small 1/2" disposable paint brush works well to dab out any air bubbles and ensure good fibreglass contact over the LEDs.

The second photo shows the set resin and fibreglass ribbon, this strip used here is the 3528 LED with 60 pcs. per meter. It is about 2mm high and 8mm wide. The brighter 5050 strip is a bit higher.
 
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mpikas10 months ago
Why non waterproof LED strip?

I think I'm following what you did, but i'm not sure- you used contact cement to glue the strip to the tube, then you put some 1" fiberglass over it and added some glass resin (polyester or epoxy?) and then bondoed over it?

Is there something transparent over the LED's or are you sanding down to the LED surface? Does this give you a clean enough look to have exposed on something (i'm thinking of working strips into automotive body work but I don't want to do it if they won't look good exposed.
What type of light does this throw?