Triangles are cheap these days. Your mobile phone can draw ten million of them in a second, and they'll be quite alright. I wanted to build something different. A triangle capable of being very dim or very bright. A triangle with tangible edges, a precise geometric lattice around soft pats of warm light.
In early 2013, I was prototyping techniques for building LED light sculptures with a very geometric look. I wanted to achieve a very uniform surface with very hard edges. This Instructable documents a technique I found for achieving this look using stacked laser-cut parts.
The project I prototyped this technique with is a 16-pixel equilateral triangle. It's made to match the spacing of commonly available WS2812B addressable LED strips with 60 pixels per meter. Several stacked layers form a painted diffusion cavity that extends all the way through the piece, completely separating the light emitted by each pixel. The top surface of each pixel is a precisely laser-cut inlay of white lighting acrylic, held in by stainless steel hardware.
Skills and tools you'll need for this technique:
- Some variety of CAD skill. (In a pinch, you could do it all in Illustrator)
- Basic soldering
- Some programming skills
- Spray adhesive (Super 77)
- Access to a laser cutter
- Opaque acrylic (I used a nice P95 black)
- "Lighting white" acrylic (I used 60% transmissive)
- Thin chipboard (in the book binding section at the art supply store)
- Titanium Dioxide White latex paint
- Stainless steel hardware. I'm partial to "button-head socket cap screws", M3 size
- LED strip, WS2812B "NeoPixel", 16 pixels with 60 pixels/meter spacing
- Hookup wire (22 gauge stranded is best)
- LED driver of choice (Fadecandy works great with this!)
Note that the particular bolts you pick should be sized according to the thickness of the actual materials you're working with. Measure your chipboard, acrylic, etc. with calipers. When stacking materials, small deviations in thickness can add up quickly. I usually try to have a range of bolt sizes on hand, and acorn nuts give a very finished look to the back side even if it's hard to predict exactly how much bolt will poke through.