I was given a 1/6th scale model of the Star Wars character "Commander Gree" which came with it's own stand as shown. In case you are wondering... Commander Gree is the guy who has the task of killing Yoda when Order 66 is issued. If you are still not sure who he is, just watch Episode III.
However, as nice as the figure is detailed, I thought the stand was a little too cheesy looking for my home theatre room. So... I decided to build a LED lighted stand to set him off a bit so he stands out while watching my favorite Star Wars episode.
This project blends stained glass techniques and basic LED wiring.
Here is what you need:
A shadow box from Hobby Lobby 8 x 10" - Cost $15 USD Or make your own.
Stained Glass System:
Colored Glass approx 8" x 10" - I picked a swampy green art glass.
Glass cutter with cutting oil
Gloves - are a good idea if inexperienced in glass cutting.
Glass grinder or glass file
Black Patina solution
Green, Blue & White LEDs 4 pin High Intesity type from Radio Shack $ 2.49 each.
Resistors - 250 Ohm
Power supply - 12 vdc from 120 VAC taken from a old phone recorder
1/2" Plywood base approx 8 x 10"
Hot melt Glue Gun & Glue.
Stranded electrical wire
Solder & Soldering Gun
Paint for base - ie. silver spray can, Model paints, airbrush system
Let's get started...
Step 1. Making the glass base. If new to stained glass there are better instructions on the web, but I describe the basics here.
Choose a glass that has some translucence with lit from behind. A color that matches the scene is great. I choose a blue green to mimic the swamps Commander Gree appears in the scene in the movie.
Dab some cutting oil on the glass cutter and cut the glass to size to fit slightly less than the case. The undersizing is required to account fo rthe thickness of the foil and tolerance stacking when soldering the joints together.
Cut the glass further down into pieces in a pattern to fit the scene. I used curves to mimic swamp roots of a tree of plant growth. After cutting the glass, use a glass file or grinder and clean up / square the edges of the glass. This is important as it helps the foil to adhere to the edge and keeps it square with uniform dimension on both sides of the glass.
Once all the glass is cut and edged, adhere or press the foil onto the edge all around the perimeter of the glass piece you are working on. Overlap the foil approx 1/2" to ensure complete coverage of the glass edge. Using a wood dowel or similar (fid) press the foil onto the edge firmly. Now take an exacto knife and cut the corners to allow for the corners of the foil to be tucked or overlapped to each other for a neat corner. Think like folding a bedsheet military style. Using the fid again, rub all the edges of the foiled glass piece, then rub down the foil on both sides of the piece of glass to adhere it well to the glass. Foil and rub down the foil on all the pieces of glass.
Now use an old ceiling tile and some push-pins to hold the pieces together while soldering. Place them all together on the ceiling tile, then hold in place with the pins. Take an old brush and run some liquid solder flux all over the copper joints. This helps the solder bond to the copper.
Heat up a heavy duty soldering iron (copper really wicks the heat away) not one used for electronics as it wont get hot enough. Heat the foil joints where two pieces comes together and start running solder on top. I prefer to tack the entire assembly together to help prevent movement of the pins, then they can be removed with no worries. Now finish soldering all the joints. Leave the joints flat at the edge to fit into the frame. Elsewhere, build up the joint to look rounded.
Flip the entire assembly over and solder the underside for strength. No need to worry about making pretty joints here, no one will see them. Now clean the entire piece with warm soapy water to remove all traces of flux. I also use a soft scrub brush to get the flux out from the nooks and crannies of the solder.
Once cleaned, run the entire piece in a black patina solution (copper sulfate) to blacken the silver looking solder. You can also paint this by hand but it will be tedious.
After the patina, rewash the extra solution off the glass. Your are done with the stained glass aspect.