LED Nametag





Introduction: LED Nametag

About: ... found out that the FabLab Aachen has a Laser cutter and a PCB mill (and other fun stuff of course), decided to stay there for a while :-)

As a part of the Helle Koepfe-workshop for kids we designed some nametags, such that each kid could make their own led nametag at their short visit of the FabLab Aachen. Therefore ist shouldn't be too complicated, fast to build, not too expensive, and has to be awesome... at least that were the requirements.

Only a 2032 coin cells, two bright 3mm leds and a piece of 2mm acrylic and two short pieces of wire are necessery. The clip-on could be of cource be replaced by a piece of wire, but we had a bunch of them from another project.

The one and only tool which is used is the epilog zing laser cutter of the fablab.

Step 1: Power Up the Laser Cutter

The first step for each kid was typing their name and choosing a vector graphic as a sort of logo. The laser cutter will then (dependent of the fill color of the different parts of the svg):

  • mark the black parts (Name and personal icon): cut with lesser power, such that the acrylic is only nearly cut through, but a thin layer of acrylic remains on the bottom side
  • cut the green parts
  • engrave the red parts (text and fablab logo at the bottom): less power than mark, and instead of using the outline the whole inside is engraved

Step 2: Insert Leds

The legs of the leds are bend by 90° in opposite directions (mark e.g. the longer leg with an edding) and inserted in the two led-shaped holes, such that the led points towards name and icon.

Step 3: Wire

The legs are then bend towards the pairs of small holes near the cut-out for the coin cell: The long legs of each led has to be between the lower left pair and the upper right pair or between the lower right and the upper left pair. The shorter ones are then bend to the other pairs.

Didn't matter which of this two variants, it just determined how the coin cell has to be inserted.

Two small pieces of wire are then threaded through the holes to connect the corresponding legs with the battery and fixates the legs (the part were the wire bridges the small gap between the two holes near a leg should be directly above the leg and press it against the acrylic). The ends of the wire are twisted with each other, tightening it.

Finallly the ends of the legs which stand above the wire are bend back towards the led.

Step 4: Finish

Mount the clip-on, and insert the coin cell between both wires. A small piece of transparent adhesive tape will further improve the connection, otherwise it will light up by pressure depending of the thightness of the wires.


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Hello, I work in Afterschool Care. This week we are making LED light name tags with foam paper. I like this idea better. Is it possible to use my cricut machine to cut the acrylic instead of a laser cutter? How long does it take to make one? Does anyone have a video tutorial?

2 replies

I don't think the cricut machine can handle a 2mm acrylic sheet, a milling machine will work (or, when i first read CuFan reply: A 3D printed version out of halfway transparent material might work, but will not look that great). With a laser cutter cutting and engraving is in minute range, making an individual design took far more time per participant.

PaulineB29, just curious how you make LED name tags with foam paper. In this post, they used foamboard instead but I think it is close enough to your original idea. https://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-LED-Nametag/

Very Impressive dude.....

I love the creative wiring for the battery holder!

Have a great day! :-)

Awesome, thank you for sharing this! :)

I tried chemicals, but the ones that work the best are banned or not carried here in the US. The others give the acrylic a cloudy etching that cuts the brightness. My solution was a dremel and some rubbing alcohol to clean it up a bit.

very nice idea.simple and Ingeniously.thank you.

Very good idea. Love it. Thank you.

I'm guessing you could make this work with etching as well. I'm pretty sure there are chemical ways of etching, so you could use a printer to print your design, cut it out, and then etch the acrylic using a cream or possibly sandpaper.

2 replies

Interesting idea. There might be the problem of etch direction: The fine lines which should light up have nearly no width and go deep in the material - but etching will normally work in all direction, enlarging the width corresponding. But maybe that's not that important.

Not really. All that matters that the surface not be smooth - a tiny scratch will light up nearly as well as a deep one.


what a nice project !!! but where I get that glass ???

1 reply

That's just standard acrylic, nothing special. The problem would be more the engraving (a.k.a. where is the next laser cutter for public access)