N: how to make a multi-layered acrylic and LED sculpture with variable lighting levels


Step 9: Assembly

Picture of assembly
The LEDs now need to be threaded through the layers.

We attached the layers (sheet 1, sheet 2, and sheet 3) together on the stud, leaving plenty of room between the layers, enough to get our hands in between them. Use a nut either side of each layer to keep them from moving around.

We wore cotton gloves to handle the sheets, to stop any greasy marks getting them that we wouldn't be able to clean off once they were filled with LEDs.

Take a board with LEDs and thread them through the larger holes in sheet 3 and sheet 2 into the smaller ones into sheet 1. The LEDs should stay neatly in the holes as they were measured to fit at the cutting stage, but if they don't then use a small dab of glue to hold them in place.

You may need to print out the EPS files so that you can work out which ones you are working with on each layer. Using a marker on the drawings to highlight which dots are the target ones may help. Remember if you are using less than 100 LEDs on each sheet then you will have to choose which of the holes you thread the LEDs through into.

Then take the next board with LEDs and thread them through the large holes in sheet 3 and fit them into the small holes on sheet 2. Again they should just hold in place, but use glue if not.

With the last board you just need to fit the LEDs into sheet 3, gluing as necessary.

This will get a bit fiddly as you do the LED threading, you may need to turn round the whole sculpture to get in at different angles. If you have a friend with small hands enlist their help at this point.

Pots need fixing to the three tabs next, fit them through and tighten up making sure the locating pin goes in the slot that was cut.

The back layer should go on next, we put small plastic 'feet' onto the backs of the strip boards, to space them from the back layer. Then we glued these feet onto sheet back layer.

Thread the power and ground cables back through some of the spare larger holes, or if you don't have spare holes use a small cable tie to bunch them together.

The layers can now be spaced more closely together. Measure between the layers to get them level. We had a gap of 6cm between layer front and layer 1, and then 9cm between both layer 1 and layer 2 and layer 2 and layer 3, then 15cm between layer 3 and layer back. This gives a rough dimension of 40cm deep.

The knobs need to be attached to the pots, we used a G-clamp and tightened it gradually to push them on gently. Make sure you alighn the mark/dot/line on the knob with the small mark you will find on the pot.