Step 7: Make the word stencil and baffles
Finally, we need to make the word stencil for the front of the clock.
I used a piece of PCB material, which I etched using the pattern shown below. I simply followed the same press-n-peel process that I used to make the controller board. This time, I intended to use the copper layer on the side closest to the LEDs, but created the stencil the mirror image to what it needed to be - so for this one, the copper is on the outside.
I have on order some 1/32" PCB material which I intend to use. I will be careful to get the stencil the correct way around, (with the copper towards the LEDs), and I expect to have a bright, clear display, and I should end up with much less bleed through than I experienced with the original project, because I will make sure that the copper is on the inside of the display..
Prior to using the display, I cut up some more PCB stock to use as 30 mm baffles, and glued the baffles in place with hot melt glue. If you have used 'FLAT TOP' Leds, then you won't need 30mm high baffles, you can probably get away with 10mm or so. Just hold the stencil over the lit display and move it up and down till you are happy with the illumination, measure the height, and make the baffles that height :-)
Others who have built my previous clock have used acrylic as a display material with cut vinyl as the lettering. That probably looks awesome! In one case, they have used glass!