Introduction: XMEN LED EDGE LIT MIRROR SIGN

Picture of XMEN LED EDGE LIT MIRROR SIGN

In this instructable I am going to describe how you can make an led edge lit mirror. I have used an XMEN theme because this sign was made for my daughter who is an XMEN film fan but the design can be anything you wish.

The sign is engraved on an acrylic mirror 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.

I have used a Dremel 290 tool for the engraving but if you have a cnc router or laser etching device then obviously 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 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

Parts:

LED strip light tape 12 volts UK

Power supply 12 volts DC 1 - 2 AmpUK

DC power adapter connectorUK

UK: A4 size acrylic mirror sheet - 201 x 297 x 3mm

US: 8" x 12" x 1/8" acrylic mirror sheet

2 x lengths of square planed wood - 300 x 21 x 25mm

1 x length of square planed wood - 340 x 95 x 18mm

Wood glue

Screws

220 grit sandpaper

Thin card

Tools:

Dremel engraving toolUK

or an engraving bit for use with a Dremel drill UK

Sharp knife

Cutting matUK

Drill bit

Countersink drill bit

Mitre saw & stand

Router & table

Step 2: Video

Step 3: XMEN Stencil

Picture of XMEN Stencil

Download the stencil graphic
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 Acrylic Mirror Sheet

Picture of Engrave the Acrylic Mirror Sheet

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

Tape the stencil to the back of the acrylic mirror 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 mirror 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 mirror 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 mirror 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 mirror sheet cut the wood base to 340mm in length or alternatively for 8" x 12" mirror 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 mirror sheet cut this wood into two side pieces with lengths lengths measuring 300mm or alternatively for 8" x 12" mirror 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 mirror 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 acrylic mirror sheet 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 mirror sheet from the base and then finish the base with varnish.

Step 6: Assemble the Mirror Sign

Once the base is dry you can remove the protective covering from the front of the mirror sheet. Leave about 20mm to protect the mirror where it will be inserted into the base.

Use gloves to handle the mirror sheet as they pickup finger prints very easily.

Place the mirror sheet into the base. It 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 comes from some disused equipment and 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 normal 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 the latest 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.

Thanks for reading,

Nigel.

Comments

: {

emmanuelr4 (author)2016-12-13

bravo

බසාබ (author)2016-10-03

සුප්පා මචං

dendi ilham (author)2016-09-21

No Trial No get Pdf

techydiy (author)dendi ilham2016-09-21

Explain?

zayzay360 (author)2016-08-07

love it!!!

techydiy (author)zayzay3602016-08-08

Thanks

wobbler (author)2016-08-04

Nice Instructable. If you've engraved the back, is that the silvered or non-silvered side? (from your Instructable it seems like it's the non-mirrored side). If so, as you only show pics of it back lit and effectively showing through, I assume you could put a card back or have it on a wall and the writing only appears when lit? I fancy using this idea some time with a batman logo or maybe an alien but like the idea of it only appearing when you light up the mirror. It might also make a good Spiderman light for my great nephew! I hope I have the time to implement my ideas!

If you can't get acrylic mirror sheet or you want to
add this effect to a mirror you've already got I suspect you can do
what you did but with just normal acrylic sheet and put a mirror behind but you'd possibly lose the hidden until lit effect.
You could even get a bit of doubling on the lit image by placing the
mirror further back.

techydiy (author)wobbler2016-08-05

Thanks. It's engraved on the back. You engrave through the protective coating on the rear, through the silvered layer and into the clear acrylic. The protective coating and silvered layer are very thin. It does show when it's not lit as you have engraved into the clear acrylic.

wobbler (author)techydiy2016-08-06

Got it! Thanks for that. Maybe I need to think about using this idea on a semi-silvered or front silvered sheet of acrylic (if there is such a thing!).

SeamusFrederick (author)2016-08-02

Very cool. This deserves a +1 vote

techydiy (author)SeamusFrederick2016-08-02

Thanks for the vote

PU1PBE (author)2016-08-02

Very nice project. But how do you engrave round letters?

techydiy (author)PU1PBE2016-08-02

Thanks. Work from inside the curve and let your hand pivot.

AlejandroD36 (author)2016-08-01

I like this project, and I apreciate the power calculation, I haven't made anything with leds yet and this one inspired me to try. Thanks! Oh, and you got my vote too.

techydiy (author)AlejandroD362016-08-02

Much appreciated, Thanks

youa (author)2016-07-30

nice I love to see my name engraved on the board

techydiy (author)youa2016-08-01

Thanks

sanjaykray (author)2016-07-31

Very nice instructable , you got my vote.

techydiy (author)sanjaykray2016-08-01

Thanks

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