Introduction: STAR WARS LED EDGE LIT SIGN

Picture of STAR WARS LED EDGE LIT SIGN

In this instructable, I am going to describe how you can make an led edge lit sign.

The sign is engraved on a clear acrylic sheet. I have used an A4 sized 3mm thick sheet, which is common in Europe. In the US where A4 sheets are not as easy to obtain then you can use 8" x 12" x 1/8" which is a similar size.

To obtain the Star Wars effect I have used a gloss black acrylic sheet behind the clear sheet.

A Dremel 290 tool was used for the engraving but if you have a cnc router or laser etching device then you can use that instead. Another option is to use a Demel drill or other rotary tool and an engraving bit. The main advantage of a Dremel engraver over a rotary tool is that it has a reciprocating action which makes engraving lines easier.

The sign is lit by a yellow 12 volt led strip light tape. These can be purchased in various lengths with wires attached or in whole reels, which can be cut to length at marked positions and wires soldered to the tape.

This instructable is entered in a competition so if you like it please vote!

Step 1: Parts & Tools

Picture of Parts & Tools

Step 2: Video

Step 3: Star Wars Stencil

Picture of Star Wars Stencil

In the video, I describe how I created the Star Wars stencil graphic using a font called SF_Distant_Galaxy but you can also download the stencil graphic here.

Print the graphic onto thin card.

Place the card on a cutting mat.

Cut out the letters with a sharp knife using a ruler to help maintain straight edges.

Step 4: Engrave the Clear Acrylic Sheet

Picture of Engrave the Clear Acrylic Sheet

We are going to engrave on the back of the acrylic sheet, so reverse the template. This will ensure that the letters are correctly orientated when viewed from the front.

Tape the stencil to the back of the acrylic sheet.

The engraving process creates quite a bit of dust, so please wear a dust mask.

Before you start engraving it's a good idea to try it out on some scrap material or failing that you can use the bottom 1/2" of the acrylic sheet as this will be covered by the led base.

Using a ruler, trace around the template letters with the engraver.

To highlight where you have engraved, you can attach an led strip to the edge of the acrylic sheet; this will make the engraved lines glow.

The engraving process should take about half an hour.

Step 5: Make the Led Edge Lit Base

Picture of Make the Led Edge Lit Base

The led base is made from three pieces of wood glued together to form a slot
for the led strip light tape. The led tape is wider than the acrylic sheet, so we use a router to remove the bottom edges from the sides to form a V slot. If you don't have a router then you can cut or sand these edges away with whatever tools are available.

  • For an A4 sized acrylic sheet cut the wood base to 340mm in length or alternatively for 8" x 12" acrylic sheet cut the base to 13 1/2".
  • Round over the top edges of the wooden base with a roundover bit in a router.
  • Round over the top two edges of the wood to be used for the sides with a roundover bit in a router.
  • Turn this piece of wood over and route a 45 degree angle on one of the bottom edges using a chamfer bit in a router.
  • For A4 sized acrylic sheet cut this wood into two side pieces with lengths measuring 300mm or alternatively for 8" x 12" acrylic sheet cut two lengths of 12 1/8".
  • To improve the finish, sand the base and sides with 220 grit sandpaper.
  • To find the correct position of the led strip on the wooden base, find the centre line and then add half the width of the led strip. Mark this line with a pencil.
  • Remove the backing from the led strip.
  • Placing a ruler against the marked line, apply the led strip to the centre of the wooden base.
  • To find the position for the first side piece, rest the acrylic sheet on the centre of the led strip.
  • Hold one of the wooden side pieces against the acrylic sheet. The chamfered edge should be at the bottom and facing the acrylic sheet.
  • Mark the position of the wooden side with a pencil.
  • Apply wood glue to the base and the side.
  • Clamp the side in position using the second side for stability.
  • Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.
  • For additional strength drill three pilot holes through the base and into the side, countersink the holes and then screw the side in position.
  • Clamp the second side in place using the two acrylic sheets as a spacer.
  • Drill three pilot holes through the base and into the second side, countersink the holes and then screw the side in position.
  • Remove the acrylic sheets from the base and then finish the base with varnish.

Step 6: Assemble the Edge Lit Sign

Once the base is dry you can remove the protective covering from the front
of the clear acrylic sheet and the black acrylic sheet.

Use gloves to handle the acrylic sheets as they pick up fingerprints very easily.

Place both acrylic sheets into the base. They should be a tight fit but not difficult.

Step 7: Power Supply

Picture of Power Supply

The led strip that I have used requires 12 volts and approximately 0.16 amps.

The power supply can supply 12 volts at 1 amp, which should be sufficient for led strips of this length.

To connect the power supply to the wires of the led strip I have used a dc power adapter with a dc socket on one side and screw terminals on the other. These are typically sold for use with cctv cameras.

Alternatively you can of course chop off the connector and connect the wires together with a choc bloc or soldering iron.

For led strips with sections containing three leds and a resistor between the cut lines, you can estimate the required current by counting the number of sections and multiplying by 0.02 amps.

Example:

The LED strip has 8 sections each containing 3 leds and 1 resistor with a total of 24 leds.

8 * 0.02 = 0.16 amps.

To calculate the power required multiply the current by the supply voltage

0.16 * 12 = 1.92 Watts.

Despite the relative efficiency of leds a large percentage of this 1.92 Watts is lost as heat but in effect, with this base design, the led strip remains cool.

Step 8: The End

Picture of The End

I hope you enjoyed this project. This is one of several edge light signs that you can find on my channel. I have slowly evolved the techniques and the base design and I am now pretty happy with the process and the results.

This instructable is entered in a competition so if you like it please vote!

Also you might like to visit the Techydiy YouTube channel and techydiy.org website.

XMEN LED Edge Lit Mirror Sign

Christmas Tree LED edge Lit Sign

Thanks for reading,

Nigel.

Comments

RichardR2 (author)2017-08-28

One of the Best Instructables I have seen on how to make one of these type signs.
You explain everything step by step but not over explaining. You speak clearly and at just the right speed that the viewer doesn't have to stop and rewind to understand what you are saying. Most Importantly, you Don't rely on high-tech devices like 3D printers and laser cutters that most people do not have access to, you use tools that most people have. EXCELLENT JOB!

RichardR2 (author)2017-08-28

Great Job!
Finally an instructable that Doesn't require you to have either laser cutter or a 3D printer. Not everyone has access to a laser cutter or 3D printer. It's nice to see Instructables that everyone can make with everyday tools.
Thank You.

folkhero (author)2016-12-13

Wow if you had a laser to engrave the letters you could be selling the heck out of these at the next craft show.

Mad Props (author)folkhero2017-03-09

I think you are absolutely right folkhero.

techydiy (author)folkhero2016-12-13

Indeed! Thanks for your comment

Cynthia02 (author)2016-12-13

This is something I might try. You made the instructions so clear I think I could do this. Thanks for sharing.

techydiy (author)Cynthia022016-12-13

Go for it, they are fun to make. Thanks.

WannaDuino (author)2016-12-13

WannaDuino!!! Likes iT!!!

Amazing good IBLE.

and a beutiful job my friend.

VOTE!!!

The magnefier helm glas you use, is that realy good to see from a distance?

i boughd a few glasses,but its only visseble when you hold the part right for my nose 2 cm of the magnefier glass.

so if i can see 30-60 cm away with your glasses, i want one. please link it then

WannaDuino!!!

techydiy (author)WannaDuino2016-12-13

Thanks.

I think it was this one: http://amzn.to/2hCIkeY

(Similar one in the US http://amzn.to/2gIP6yq )

It has different lenses so you can change the magnification. I use it from about 20 - 30 cm.

SylvianeR (author)2016-12-13

Et bien BRAVO !!!!!!! J'ai très envie de faire le logo de mon beau-fils, mais sur du bois que je puisse fixer contre mur ... Pour son bar à bière (en France) !!! Idée géniale, merci!

techydiy (author)SylvianeR2016-12-13

Merci et joyeux noël

jvelez01 made it! (author)2016-12-13

my version

WannaDuino (author)jvelez012016-12-13

I just keep looking at you amazing nice job.

wow'

WannaDuino!!!

johng419 (author)2016-12-13

Very well explained and really thoughtful to write up supplies in both European and American. Nicely done.Thanks

techydiy (author)johng4192016-12-13

Thanks for your comment

zposner (author)2016-12-12

My dad made me one like this with my name on it

techydiy (author)zposner2016-12-13

You have a cool Dad!

KirstenD8 (author)2016-12-12

Wow! Thanks, very informative and interesting article!

techydiy (author)KirstenD82016-12-12

Thanks

RoguePirin (author)2016-12-11

Very cool 'ible! This looks very doable. Thanks for sharing.

techydiy (author)RoguePirin2016-12-11

Thanks for that.

About This Instructable

18,379views

243favorites

Bio: Hi My account features science, technical projects and random stuff that interests me. Please follow me on instructables or Youtube.
More by techydiy:Modern Led Infinity Mirror Table LampBatman Led Fidget SpinnerLED FIDGET SPINNER
Add instructable to: