This instructable will show you how to build a spaceship control panel prop for young kids from inexpensive, readily-available materials.  The interactive light-up panel adds a little excitement to those cardboard "spaceships" that seem to appear after you buy some large appliance.

Qty-2    8x10 Plexi Sheet (0.093" thick) (Available at HW stores for <$2
Qty-3ft   1x2 Pine (preferrably the higher grade that has square edges, this makes the frame look
                 better than if you use the more common rounded-edge 1x2's)
Qty-9  Single-pole (SPST) toggle switches
Qty-16  Red/Green flashing LEDs
Qty-4    Automotive (12v) paddle switches
               (mine were lighted, but that's not really necessary)
Qty-8    12V LED Panel lights
Qty-1    LM7805 voltage regulator
Qty-8   390ohm 1/4watt resistors
Qty-1    9V battery clip

Aluminum Duct Sealing Tape
18-20gauge wire
solder + Soldering iron (15-30w)

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Step 1: Build the Frame

The supporting frame is built out of 1x2s and 1 1/2" screws.  (Yes, the carpenters among you can cringe and wish I'd built a better-looking  frame.  Not to worry, this all gets covered up with aluminum tape, so these corners won't show).  Note that frame is size just a tiny bit larger than the 8x10 plexi sheet itself.
sarahmh1 year ago
Is there any way I could purchase one of these from you - I am not very handy and LOVE this for my son's space room?
inezneal1 year ago
ok so for the panel .we buy the the plexi and then send it through a printer with that layout pdf? is that how you got the picture on the plexi?
ARJL (author)  inezneal1 year ago
You don't print directly on the plexi. At office supply stores you can find clear sheets with sticky back to print on. You can then peel off the back and stick it on to the plexi.
inezneal ARJL1 year ago
thank you for responding. im serious about attempting this .
ARJL (author)  inezneal1 year ago
One other comment. I printed on translucent sheet and affixed them to the "front" side of the plexi. In retrospect, I should have taken regular WHITE "letter-size self-adhesive laminating sheets" (like by Avery or Post-It) and put the (reversed image) sheet on the BACK of the plexi. That way the shiny side is on the front, and the printed sheet is protected...
ARJL (author)  inezneal1 year ago
Good luck! it's a neat toy, a particularly good starter. I had intended to make other panels and put them together into a rocket mockup, but my kid's interests went another direction.
chipper352 years ago
Nice!! I've been looking for something like this!!
Ddraig4 years ago
You could add one of these cards to it and properly wire it up and it would work as a usb joystick on the computer. Then you could use something like pinnacle game profiler to set the buttons to run various computer commands.
Wasagi4 years ago
I would love to make one of these and mount it on my wall, all I need is some better soldering experience and a run to the shops!
ARJL (author)  Wasagi4 years ago
Fortunately, there are instructables for that too!
Wasagi ARJL4 years ago
 haha, yep!
great writeup! looks like the kids will have a blast with that
ARJL (author)  xerodesolate4 years ago
Thanks!  It's ultimately planned to be 1 of 3 panels on a larger frame.  This was the easiest of the 3 since it doesn't have a microcontroller on it.
pun intended