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Proclamation

If you run into any problems or get stuck at any point within the instructable (especially in the image processing section or regarding any parts) just feel free to send me an Instructable-Message or an Email and I will do my best to help you out via Mail, Skype or TeamViewer. :)
Also for your own design suggestions, you can send me you photos and I will try and transform some of them into Standee files, which will be uploaded here soon.

Introduction

For this instructable I got back to TEM Messtechnik GmbH, where I’ve been working during an internship about one year back. There I came to learn the incredible precious way of flexible, fast and easy manufacturing parts with a laser cutter from acrylic, while building some parts for optical components and a hexapod prototype.

So clear and perfectly polished looking edges, being able to cut and engrave even tiniest structures without any physical contact between the tool and the workpiece – and just less than five minutes from the constructing process of your 3D-CAD-model on your computer to holding the actual physical part in your very own hands – I was just hooked by that marvellous machine, it was a little bit like magic.

But even though, I thought building mostly mechanical parts for technical purposes could not tap the full potential of such a machine. And so I wanted to take this to the next level and experiment with freeform paths and images in more of a ‘designish’ than a puristic technical manner. Finally I got the permission to gain access to the machine for one weekend and I built my first ‘Laser Cutter Artwork’ named ‘Audrey’, which you can see in the images above (if you wish to have an instrctable on that too, feel free to let me know :)).

It came to my mind acrylic could not only be used to absorb light by blocking or to diffusing light, but it can even guide light within by total reflection. When I got to the point of, what could make my father (who works as a laser physicist) a great Christmas present, I thought of something to always give him a bright spot in life, combined with his passion for science and physics in particular: an Albert-Einstein-Lamp.

Step 1: Concept - the Two Main Parts

The actual concept consists of two main parts:

1.1 Socket

  • holds the Standee (see below)
  • contains two segments (of 3 LEDs each) of warm-white12V-LED-Strip
  • consists of alternating layers of black and transparent acrylic
  • transparent layers are roughened for better light diffusion effect

1.2 Standee

  • consists of shaped transparent acrylic showing a (binary) black & white image
    • black areas: untreated transparent acrylic surface
    • white areas: surface is roughened up by laser cutter, so that it diffuses light "travelling" on the inside)
  • Two major sections:
    • Head:Actual artwork in shape and image.
      • Pre-Made (take one of my designs)
      • Custom (learn how to make your very own individual standee from your own photos)
    • Pedestal:part that is held in the socket's slot

Step 2: What You Need

2.1 Machines

  • Laser Cutter (or CNC-machine)
    • appropriate CAM-software (controller-software that usually comes with your device) with graphical UI
    • workspace should be at least 350 mm x 250 mm (but you can otherwise scale the data to make it fit)
  • Electric Drill (or tap wrench)
  • [Drilling Machine]
  • Soldering Iron

2.2 Tools

  • Srew Tap Drill: ISO metric thread M3
  • Screw Driver: Allen (hexagonic) S = 2.5 mm (fitting in hexagon socket of ISO 4762 M3 screws)
  • comb pliers or nippers
  • Solder - I would suggest the old, non-lead-free [with Pb] working best as it’s flux traits are a lot better, but keep in mind to wash your hands properly after handling it.
  • Alcohol in Spray Bottle: Iso-Propyl-Alcohol, Ethanol, … I used antiseptic hand-sanitizer from the grocery store
  • Microfibre Cloth (alternatively paper towels)
  • Sandpaper

2.3 Software (only if you want to make your custom Standee)

Payware [alternative Freeware in square brackets], (italic: What I used)

  • Pixel:Adobe Photoshop, CorelPhoto Paint [Gimp]

  • Vector: Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw [Inkscape]

(and if you want to create your own or adjust Socket designs: Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, Catia [FreeCAD, Google SketchUp, Blender])

2.4 Materials

  • Acrylic (PMMA): it is important to take casted acrylic [token: GS] (that is a lot better for laser cutting and CNC than extruded acrylic [token: XT]). I bought mine from the Acrylglas-Shop (but there are a whole lot of others in your part of the world, that will do the job).
    You will need:
    • 1 x black 5 mm (250 mm x 250 mm)
    • 1 x transparent 3 mm (250 mm x 250 mm)
    • 1 x transparent 6 mm (350 mm x 250 mm)
  • Screws: ISO 4762 - metric Cylinder Head Screws with hexagon socket
    • 9 x M3x10 mm
    • 2 x M3x6 mm
  • Warm White High Power 12V-LED-Strip (5050 or any other size, but make sure it's 60 or more LEDs per Meter)
  • 12V DC power supply (at least 0.25 A, so at least 12 V * 0.25 A = 3 W, so nearly any 12 V supply should be okay)
  • optional: two/three-wire cord to extend the normally quite short power supply cord
  • optional: shrink-on tube (D = 4.8 mm, d = 2.4 mm)
  • optional: cord switch

Step 3: Files

Here you can download the files you need for

  • The socket (Layers.zip)
  • The Standee Pedestal for your own custom Standee Designs (Standee RAW.zip)
  • The different pre-made Standee designs (there will be added more in the future, feel free to suggest any)
  • The project files, I used to build the whole thing (just for you to follow along or play around) (Just take a look inside the pre-made Standees)
  • If anyone wishes, I can even provide the 3D-CAD-files later on.

Step 4: Make Your Own Custom Standee [optional, But Really Cool]

For those folks, who want to go with one of the pre-made Standee designs, you can just skip this step and proceed with Step 7. You may use pretty much anything for the Standee (from your own photos, digital artworks e.g. vector graphics, 3D-models, DigiPaintings, ... or of course the web), but there are even some things to keep in mind:

This is the most advanced, but in my opinion even one of the coolest parts. If you have no experience with programs like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator (or any alternatives listed in step 3), just thoroughly follow along step by step or browse the web for tons and tons of content regarding any functionalities of these programs. If you still need some help with anything, remember to just contact me. :)

4.1 Photo requirements

  • "high" resolution (I'd recommend at least 800 x 800 pixels
  • the general shape of your object should be roundish or in upright format (too guarantee good light distribution inside)
  • fairly even lighted, to get a good result after binarization (for example not to harsh brightness differences between the right and left side of a face), but if you're not sure, just try and use some more adjustment layers (see Step 4.3)
  • what is always nice: good object-background separation
  • if you use binary B/W-images you can directly proceed with step 4.5
  • Important: If you use photos from the Internet, make sure you have the author's permission to use their content or use just royalty free images.

I used a photo of Albert Einstein taken by Philippe Halsman in 1947, that I found via Google Images Search with search option "Labeled for noncommercial reuse with Modification".

4.2 Make An Appropriate Binary B/W-Image

Inside your Photo Editing Program [Adobe Photoshop]

This processing method turns a normal colored photo or image to a binary one, that's convenient for Standee usage. In the end we want to have:

  • a solid-color black/white object
  • this should be extracted from its former background (that is now transparent)
  • a bit reduced details/artifacts (bigger, crasser areas of black and white)

If you use different software or work-flow to achieve that result, just go with that.

  1. Setup new Document: 250 mm
  2. Load Photo into the program by drag'n'drop
  3. Adjust the size so that the part you want to have as your lamp in the end fits neatly into the document boundaries. Sometimes you only want one part of the image, so just scale it out beneath the document's margin. [Transform: Ctrl + T, Apply: Enter]
  4. If you have a color picture, desaturate it now [Desaturate: Ctrl + Alt + U or for advanced options: Adjustment Layer 'Black & White' or 'Hue & Saturation']
  5. Insert your layer(s) into a Folder and apply a vector layer mask.
    Therefore insert a folder and put your layer(s) into it by dragging them onto the folder icon (they'll become a little indented).
    Next grab the 'Pen Tool' and draw a closed rough shape (take good care of the bottom line, if you can, make it "roundish")
    With the shape still selected select your Folder and click layer mask twice (this will add the two types of layer mask Photoshop has to offer: Pixel-based and then Vector-based (which is what we need now).
  6. Normally now it is easiest moment to refine the edges. Therefore add a Layer Mask to the original picture and apply a detailed pixel mask (there's a lot of good photoshop tutorials on how to separate objects from background and there's a whole lot of different techniques, you can just use any (but always keep in mind: the selection will be just solid black and white in the end, so don't focus too much on any detail).
    In my case I first used 'Quick Selection' [Q and Brush area to keep, then Q again] (you may even try local or global color range selection) and then 'Refine Mask' in 'Masks'-Tab. Because there is a good contrast of Albert's hair (white) and the black background makes automatic edge recognition work quite well (important for binary edge: Contrast : 100 %, Radius: quite big, Blur Edge: a little bit). If there are some minor areas you're not satisfied with, use a solid hard edged black or white brush at 100 % opacity and relocate the border by painting these areas in the layer mask. Afterwards use 'Refine Mask' again (as done recently).
  7. Manually paint the bottom part of the layer mask to give the Standee-Head a 'neck' [use hard-edged solid black or white brush at 100 % opacity]. Just draw down to your bottom line from Vector Selection made in step 4.5.
    With Albert I used his shirt collar and pullover as orientation.
  8. Move your Layer Mask from the original picture to the Folder by dragging it onto the folder and confirm to replace.
  9. Insert Threshold Adjustment Layer as most upper layer in the folder, which will binarize your image.
    Play around with the Threshold-Slider (to be found in 'Adjustments'-Tab to see which details are located where and what kind of levels treatment they will need to bring them back within the next step. Finally set the slider to a medium value.
  10. Adjust lightning with 4 different 'Levels Adjustment Layers' beneath the Threshold-Layer: 2 x lighter, 2 x darker and set the layer mask color to black (= not visible in anywhere) [Make sure there is no active selection [Deselect: Ctrl + D], then click the Layer Mask of each Adjustment Layer and press Ctrl + I to invert it, so that it's entirely filled with black]
    Next sequentially invert one of them again (make it white) and adjust the grey slider of the Levels: for a lighter-layer slide it to the left until you see some of the details you want from the areas that are otherwise covered in a solid black area. Then turn it black again and do the same for the other lighter-layer but give it just a bit more (so that you see all the brightest details you want in your image) and proceed for darker-layers vice versa (slide to the right to bring back details covered in white areas).
    Now take your time and many clicks with a white soft-edged brush with low opacity (10% - 30%) and bring back some of the hidden details [to compare with the original picture you can hold down Alt/Optn + Click on the eye-symbol next to the stock image layer, repeat to toggle the other layers again; if you do the same with the layer masks you can even look at those individually].
    For Albert I e.g. brought back some structure to the hair (by making it darker) and around the eyes (by making them partially brighter).
  11. Add a normal layer called Color just beneath the Threshold-Adjustment Layer. On that you can draw with a brush at high opacity (to draw or correct some details yourself) or low opacity (to in-/decrease deatils in some areas just like done recently)
    The first mentioned option I used to draw the complete collar solid black and to emphasize the specular (light spot) in the eyes.
  12. Copy everything onto a new layer [press Ctrl + Shift + Alt/Optn + Eor duplicate the folder, make a new empty layer on top of it, select them both and then right-click and select Merge] and uncheck visibility of the old folder (in the document's appearing nothing should change).
  13. Insert a Threshold layer on top of it (again the appearing should not change by that).
  14. Now it's time to crassen up the image a bit by lowering the fine details by an advanced trick, also used in industrial image processing: the combination of blurring the image with additional threshold binarization.
    Therefore you can convert the merged layer to a SmartObject (SmartObjects give you the ability to use SmatFilters, that enable you to re-modifiy options after you applied one filter) or just leave it as it is.

    Then go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur, make sure 'Preview' is checked and play around with the radius slider around in the range of 0.5 to 3.5 pixels, aiming for preserving the characteristics of the image while evening out those small sprinkles. Finally the image is finished by now.

    For me a radius 1.7 Pixels was sufficient.

Step 5: Turn Black&White Image Into Vector

Inside your Photo Editing Application [Adobe Photoshop]

To export vector graphics from Adobe Photoshop, that Adobe Illustrator can handle well, we need to go over two more things (alternatively you can just use a binary B/W-image, load it directly into Adobe Illustrator and select Live Trace, but with that, the paths become more complicated):

  1. First Ctrl + Click onto the Merged Layer icon to make a selection.
    Then select any Marquee [M] or Lasso [L] Tool, right-click the selected area and choose 'Create Workpath' (Tolerance around 1.0 Px) and add a new fill layer 'Solid Color' > black.
    Make this the topmost layer an setit to invisible (eye icon).
  2. Now go to Select > Color Range and select any white area and click okay.
    Next, like in the previous step, right-click inside the selected (white) area, 'Create Workpath' and add a white 'Solid Color' fill layer on top of the black one.
  3. Set every layer to invisible except for the two solid colors. Together they should now look as the normal image.
  4. Click on the Solid White layer and export its vector mask for Adobe Illustrator via 'File > Export > Paths->Illustrator'. Save it under "%Filename% - Rasterize White.ai"
  5. Repeat this for the Solid Black layer and name the exported path "%Filename% - Contour.ai"

Step 6: Make Standee Out of Vectorised Image

Inside your Vector Application [Adobe Illustrator]

  1. Setup new document: 250 mm x 350 mm, upright format and name it like your main project name. This will be our main document.
  2. Open the files 'Countour.ai', the 'Rasterize.ai' (both exported from Photoshop in 5.1) and the 'Pedestal RAW.ai' (from the downloaded files) in your Vector Application all together.
  3. Switch to Contour file, select all [Ctrl + A] and copy-paste [Copy: Ctrl + C, Paste: Ctrl + V] it to the main document.
    Double-click its layer, name it "Contour", select the path by clicking on the small circle and fill it with black (left dropdown square in the top left corner).
  4. Now make a new layer named "Rasterize" and do the same thing as in previous step for the Rasterize file and color yellow (to be able to distinguish it from the white background). Don't worry if there are some areas accidentally filled, even though they shouldn't.
  5. With the arrow keys adjust its position realative to the black filled contour [zoom into the document and align it (though it won't fit perfectly)].
  6. Select both layers [click the two small circles while holding down Shift], make sure link height and breadth proportions symbol is enabled (chain-looking), then set the breadth to anything you can remember later on, around 230.
  7. Select paths on 'Rasterize' layer (via small circle), open Pathfinder [Menu: Window > Pathfinder] and click 'Divide'.
  8. Automatically: Experiment with Pathfinder options. Often this can do your job quite well and speed this step up a lot, but in my case unfortunately this didn't work... :(
    Manually: Lock Contour layer (small checkbox next to the eye-icon on the layer, to disable selection on that layer), select the paths of Rasterize Layer (small circle right next to the Group) and ungroup it via [Object > Ungroup]
    With the black pointer tool, called 'Selection Tool' draw a frame over some small areas, then with Shift pressed, de-select all areas you want to prevent from being deleted (normally the big ones).
    If this still doesn't work for you:
    Manually2: With the white pointer tool, called 'Direct Selection Tool' click inside the false yellow areas and delete [Del] them. It is not essential that you delete all areas (the really small ones, that you don't delete, become "filtered out"), so the choice, which areas are the essential ones, is at your hand. If you locked Contour, unlock it again.
  9. Now you can select both layer's paths (via small circle while holding down shift) and go to Object > Path > Simplify. Make sure Preview is checked, then reduce the upper slider down from 100% step by step (release the slider (no more holding down the mouse button) to trigger recalculation). This will reduce the number of points (as you can see in the window), but conversely a the price of loss of detail, as you can examine in the image on preview. Go with whatever works for you (but be sure to have less than 10 000 Points).
  10. Now, as in step 4, make a new layer, name it 'Pedestal' and copy the paths from already opened 'Pedestal RAW.ai' to it.
  11. Rearrange, move and scale, so that everything fits onto the document's canvas.
    Important: 1. Always transform Contour and Rasterize layers together (hold Shift while selecting the small circles). 2. Do not scale the Pedestal, it must keep it's proportions!
    The Pedestal should now be located under the center of the bottom line, in a little distance.
  12. Duplicate the Contour layer [by dragging the layer onto the 'New Layer' button], name it "Contour with Pedestal" and put it beneath the old Contour layer (and above the Pedestal one).
  13. Select Pedestal layer and grab the 'Pen Tool'. First draw the left line by clicking the top point of the pedestal line as starting point, next select any point to the upper left, which is located on the border of Contour layer (instead of just clicking hold and drag the mouse to make a curved line).
    Now switch to white pointer [Direct Selection Tool], select the former "Start Point" and in the anchor point options (menu above your canvas) click 'Convert to Transition', which will give the anchor point additional handles to edit the curvature. Grab one of these and drag it vertically above the anchor point while holding down shift (to make it snap there).
    For the right connection, repeat.
  14. Select the paths of Pedestal and Contour with Pedestal layers (via small circle while Shift is held down).
    Then use Pathfinder option 'Unite' and it will all fill with black. You can select another color such as dark blue to differentiate it from the normal Contour layer.
  15. This is the finished model that is now ready for .DXF- export (which is a standard interchange format, that's readable by any Laser Cutting and CNC software applications). :) Therefore just select the paths of Contour with Pedestal and go to File > Export and name it after it's layer: %Filename% - Contour with Pedestal.dxf. Click save and in the DXF/DWG Export Options window, be sure to have the checkbox 'Export Selected Art Only' checked.

Step 7: ​Laser Cutter Application Setup

Inside your Laser Cutter/CNC Application [Morn LaserWorks V5]

This step is important to make sure, everything is just working like in my setup (or which things will work differently compared to the software I’ve been using).

  1. Check 'Output Selected', which will make the machine only work on paths you actively selected before hitting 'Run'. This enables you to arrange more objects in your laser applications canvas, than the laser will actually cut.
  2. Setup different 'Cutting Property Layers'
Acrylic Param.	   || Laser Power [%]	|| Speed [mm/s]	||
----------------------------------------------------------
Cut Path (BLUE/GRN)|| If your machine provides this option,
|| make two of these Cut layers each:
|| one for outline (GREEN) and
|| one for inline (BLUE) machining
|| with sew width of 0.15 mm
|| (for more details on that, see the example images) 5-6 mm || 90-100 || 4 || 3 mm || 90-100 || 6 ||
---------------------------------------------------------- Engrave Path (RED) || This is Cut mode at high speed and low Laser Power
|| (so that it doesn't cut through)
any || 30 || 200 || ----------------------------------------------------------
Rasterize (ORANGE) || This will rasterize contiguous white areas within a path any || 30 || 200 || ---------------------------------------------------------- Check Draft(PETROL)|| This is just for preview purposes
|| (to check if all parts fit onto the sheet boundaries) any || 0 || 200 ||

Step 8: Making the Socket Parts

The socket is made up of 7 layers of alternating material translucency. So be aware, which parts go with what material:

  • Black 5.5 mm:
    • Layer 1 L1 Bottom [L1 & LED marking] thread hole for cable holding
    • Layer 3 L3 with bone-shaped slot [L3 marking]
    • Layer 5 L5 with straight slot [L5 marking]
    • Layer 7 L7 Top with straight slot [L7 marking on the bottom!]
  • Transp. 3 mm:
    • Layer 2 L2 Ring
    • Layer 4 L4 with straight slot [L4 marking]
    • Layer 6 L6 with straight slot [L6 marking]

8.1 Cut the Socket Parts

  1. Put a sheet of 6 mm Black Acrylic into your laser machine and perform Z-Axis Reset (which will auto-focus the laser relative to the acrylic).
  2. Import the four black layers (L1, L3, L5, L7) one after the other to your application's canvas and align them in a row or a square.
    Be sure to group each of them once you've imported it, so nothing gets lost and you can move them as a whole object.
  3. Now it's time to assign our the different 'Cut Property Layers' to the paths.
    • Therefore ungroup one object, select all and set it to 'Cut Paths on 5.5 mm Acrylic (prn. with Inline Machining enabled)' [in my setup BLUE]
    • Select Text or Symbols (and even the rectangle on L1!) you want to have engraved and allocate 'Engrave Paths on Acrylic' [in my setup: RED]
    • Next select only the circular outer contour, set it to 'Check Draft' [PETROL] and hit Run to ascertain nondestructively, that the laser head will stay within the boundaries of the acrylic sheet.
    • If so, set the outline to 'Cut Paths on 5.5 mm Acrylic (prn. with Outline Machining enabled' [GREEN], if not, you will have to rearrange your objects.
    • Repeat this for the remaining black layers.
  4. Replicate steps 1. (yep, even the auto-focus!) to 4. for the 3 mm Transparent Acrylic with those three transparent layers (L2, L4, L6).
  5. Select all layers [Ctrl + A or rectangular marquee] and hit Run.

8.2 Manual Modifications

  1. Insert M3 screw tap into your electric drill (or tap wrench) and delicately drill threads into the smaller holes (diameter of about 2.5 mm) on L3, L5 and L7.

    Important:Before every new hole: Clean your tap drill from chippings and apply some alcohol to prevent the drill from friction caused overheating and the acrylic from cracking due to heat induced and mechanical stress!

  2. Take all transparent Layers (L2, L4, L6) and roughen up their radial outside with some sandpaper (or a belt sander, if you have one) until it looks opaque.
  3. With a piloted counterbore on a drilling machine (or a 7 mm drill) make cylindrical counter bores (of around 3 mm depth) around the three 3.4-mm-thru-holes on the underside of layers L1, L3 and L5. These shall completely swallow the screw heads.
  4. Apply some alcohol to the surface of the layer parts and with a microfibre cloth (or paper towel) remove the vapor from the laser engraving process.

Step 9: Make the Standee

Because the following process will take quite long, I recommend you to first start the Standee lasering process, and only then start assembling the Socket parts, which will be pictured in the following Step 10.

Inside your Laser Cutter/CNC Application [Morn LaserWorks V5]

  1. Put 6 mm transparent acrylic into the workspace of your laser cutter and perform autofocus/z-axis reset.

  2. Import the Standee .DXF-files: Contour With Pedestal, Rasterize (group it immediatly after import) and, if you want, Contour (without Pedestal, to engrave the whole thing a roundish baseline as bottom frame). These files are either provided within the .ZIP-Files of pre-made Standees (Step 3) or your files exported from your Vector program.
    Align the .DXF-Files properly with the arrow keys [in my case i even had to rotate them all together 90 degrees to make them fit into the machines workspace].
  3. Set Cut Property Layers:
    Select all and apply 'Rasterize' [ORANGE] with a Swing-Distance of 0.15 mm.
    If you want the Contour (without Pedestal) as a frame assign 'Engrave' [RED] to it.
    Next preview (without the laser on) Contour with Pedestal in 'Check Draft' [PETROL] mode (select just outer path, make it petrol and hit Run, to proof that it stays within the machine's workspace and the material's boundaries.

    When this runs through without any odd occurrences or errors appearing, it is likely there won’t be any as well while making the whole thing for real. If there are any problems in size, go back to Illustrator and fix that (do not scale the whole thing in your Laser Application, because this will affect the proportions of the Standee's Pedestal, which you must not change, as well).

  4. So, switch the Contour with Pedestal to 'Cut Paths on 5-6 mm Acrylic (prn. with Outline Machining enabled' [GREEN] mode, select all and hit Run. [I apologize the photos from the manufacturing process are not the one of the Albert Einstein Standee ;) ]

  5. Grab a good book, cook a meal, read some good intructables or proceed by building the Socket (next step ;) ). This will take some time to finish rasterising.

Step 10: Build the Socket

10.1 Build the circuit

  1. Cut off two segments of three (if you don't use 60 LEDs/m: around 10 cm) of your LED-Strip by means of scissors or nippers. Be sure to cut the coppery looking solder pads exactly in half.
  2. Remove the protective film from the self-adhesive on the bottom of the LED-Strip and apply the strip segment to the designated rectangle on L1.
  3. Cut off the barrell connector of your 12V-DC power supply and strip off about 1.5 cm of the main insulation (now you can see the two or three wires inside, then remove 0.5 cm of the insulation of each, so that you can see the exposed "supply cable contacts".
    Since these usually consist of really thin copper wires in a strand, that get fuzzy and messed up quite easily, twirl them by finger and coat them with a little bit of solder to make them more stable.
    Important: They must not touch each other!
    • If you are using a cord switch and/or additional wire, to extend the (normally quite short) cable of your power supply, now is the time: Do the same for your desired piece lengths of additional cord.
    • Solder or screw the cables to the cord switch and if the wires inside the cable have different colors, try not to mix them up. The open contacts on the non-power-supply-side of the cord switch will now be the new "supply cable contacts".
    • Make sure the switch is at 'ON' position. (If you're noch sure, which one is which position, just try both states within the next step)
    • Pack the cable to calbe solder joints into shrink-on tube (pull it over the cable and carefully heat it with the shaft of your soldering iron) or insulation tape, or at least make them at different positions, to avoid any shortings.
  4. Since LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) only transmit current in one direction, they are driven by DC (direct current, that only flows in one direction [forward current]). That is why it is essential to connect them properly in order to function.
    So, to figure out, which one of the contacts is +(12V) [normally red] and which is -(0V) [GND or Ground, normally black], plug in your power supply simply hold the two wires down onto the two different solder pads on your LED strip (take the printed marings on the strip as a guide).
    If they do not light up in this way, you probably connected them with wrong polarity. Try again by mixing their positions up (or flip the switch if you have one). You can otherwise even check this by means of a multimeter in mode: 60 V= [which is the symbol for DC].
    Disconnect power supply before you proceed.

  5. Before soldering, make sure, you have your cable aligned in the right direction: since the cable’s breakout hole should be in the back of the device, make sure it passes the two threaded holes, which will, in the following step, be used to hold the cable in place.
    Once you have found proper polarity, apply some solder on the central solder pads on your LED-strip and then solder +12 V [usually red] supply cable contact to that (if your cable, like mine, has a ferrite core as high frequency noise filter, that will not make it fit into the socket housing later on, either just cut it off, or extend your wires for about 3-4 cm like in step 3).
    Next shorten the GND wire by about 7 mm, strip off about 5 mm of the insulation, twirl, couat with solder and solder it to the GND solder pad.

  6. Take two short M3 screws of about 5 mm length and press the supply cable down against the bottom plate's [L1] surface.
    Plug in the power supply and (hopefully) watch the LEDs light up.

10.2 Assemble The Socket

  1. Start with the Top layer L7 and place it upside down (so that you can read the layers engraving 'Layer 7 - Top - Downside').
  2. Align L6 and L5 with the writing facing to L7's downside (so that you can not see it), by their slot and their holes.
  3. Screw them together by means of three M3x10 screws (the screw heads have to be completely swallowed in the counter bores of L5's downside.
  4. Add L4 and L3 to the assembly, just as L6 and L5 in step 2. and 3.
  5. Add the 'Ring' [L2] and finally the Bottom Layer [L1] with attached LEDs to the assembly, just as L6 and L5 in step 2. and 3. The cord should now run through the gap in the ring.
  6. You can finally attach three small self-adhesive rubber pads as feet (I would suggest self small adhesive rubber tootsies, looking like droplets).
  7. Finally turn the whole thing around and light it up :)

Step 11: Join the Pieces Together

The Final Unity

After the laser has finished rasterizing and cutting out the Standee, it is time for the thrilling moment of unity, where the Standee is inserted into the socket's slot! :)

If the standee is not fitting:

  • If the slot is too thin, which can occur seldomly due to varying tolerances in acrylic sheet thickness. (If you order 6 mm it is normally slightly thinner, which is okay, but in some cases it is a bit thicker) Just de-assemble the socket, grab a fine file and enlage the slot (on L3 to L7) from the downside (so can not be seen from the inside), or carefully demolish the Pedestal's thickness with a belt sander.
  • If it is much too wide and the Standee is not held firmly, but shackles around, wrap some layers of transparent sticky tape around the Standee's Pedestal.

Prospect For Future Upgrades

  • RGB-LED integration
  • More Standee-Designs
  • Different Socket-Designs (ducta-like structures, wood, ability to hold multiple standees at once, ...)
  • Integrated switch in socket (I had that in my first version, but I could not find any standardised one, that is available from anywhere in the world, so I went with the cord switch approach, that is not depending on special socket modifications)

If you have ideas for that, please feel free to let me know and to suggest any ideas)

Happy Building everyone! :) Feel free to comment, criticize and share.
Or if you run into any problems or need help or further explanations, just contact me and we will accomplish that together (via Mail, Skype, TeamViewer, ...).

Nice project ,thanks your explain
<p>Now thats what I call a detailed instructable. Thanks for a big effort</p>
<p>IchmagdieInstructablesgeben siesovieleInformationen&amp;diesef-Lampeistsosch&ouml;n.DieAngaben&uuml;ber Kamagra bestellen <a href="http://www.kamagrahub.biz/" rel="nofollow">http://www.kamagrahub.biz/</a></p>
<p>Really nice instructable! I'm looking forward to more laser cutting projects!</p>
<p>These are so cool! </p>

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