Introduction: LED Cube Light
I've been wanting to make a simple LED Light box for some time now so decided to build one. I had some filament LED's left over from another build which worked perfectly to illuminate the diffused acrylic.
You usually find filament LED's inside light bulbs which are in the style of Edison light globes. However, you can also buy them individually for pretty cheap. They throw off a lot of light and when you use some diffusing acrylic, you get a beautiful, soft light.
Instead of using a toggle switch to turn the LED's on and off, I used a mercury switch. To turn it off you simply turn the box up-side-down. This way it keeps the build simple and clean.
To power the LED's I used an old mobile battery but you could use a li-po battery or 3 x AAA rechargeable batteries.
The final result is a minimalist light box that looks great and gives off a beautiful, soft light.
Step 1: Parts & Tools
1. Battery. You prob have an old mobile around that you can grab the battery out of. If not, you can buy them on eBay
2. LED Filament - eBay
3. Battery charging module - eBay
4. Mercury switch - eBay
5. Copper wire - eBay
6. Length of hard wood. Mine was 70mm wide by 10mm height.
7. Opal Acrylic - eBay
1. Dremel with router attachment
3. Band saw
4. Wood glue
6. Soldering Iron
Step 2: Routing the Wood
You are going to need a router of some type. I used my dremel to do the routing which did the job well. You need a special attachment for your dremel which most of them come with these days.
1. First, clamp the wood at both ends so it can't move
2. Next, set-up the router so it goes down about 30mm into the wood.
3. Carefully rout out a section along one edge and do the same on the other edge. Go the whole way along the wood and take your time.
4. Once routed, you then need to mark and cut the wood. I cut my wood to the following sizes; side pieces 80mm and the top and bottom pieces 90mm.
Step 3: Cutting the Acrylic
The type of acrylic I used is called opal diffusing and it works brilliantly to soften the light and diffuse it.
1. The first thing to do is to place the pieces of wood together to form the box.
2. You can then measure how big the acrylic needs to be by measuring the routed areas
3. I find that the best way to cut acrylic is to use a band saw. If you don't have one of those, then a circular saw or even a fine tooth hand saw will do the trick. Mark out and cut the pieces of acrylic.
4. Add the pieces into the box to make sure they fit nice and tight.
Step 4: Charging Module and Battery
The next thing to do is to add the charging module and make a small hole in the acrylic in order to charge the battery.
1. First, place the battery and module inside the box and mark on the acrylic where the micro USB touches.
2. Use a small drill bit to remove as mush of the marked area as possible and then a small file to do the rest.
3. Put the acrylic back into the box and line-up the micro USB to the hole. Mark the outline of the module on the battery
4. Using the outline, superglue the module to the top of the battery
5. Solder a wire from the positive on the battery to the battery solder point on the module. Do the same for the negative. Plug in a USB cord to check that it is charging. A red light will come on if it is and once charged, a blue light will come on
6. Lastly, superglue the battery to the base of the box and make sure the micro USB is accessible through the acrylic.
Step 5: Stain the Wood
1. I like to use Aged Teak stain as it give a great finish.
2. Paint the outside of the wood and leave to dry
NOTE: I stained the wood prior to final sanding. It meant that once the box was done, I had to go back and sand the sides to make them nice and flat. It meant that I had to re-stain those sections again. The only problem with re-staining is I had to add some masking tape on the acrylic to protect it from the stain. I guess what I saying is it's prob better to wait until the box is completely finished to stain.
Step 6: Adding the LED's
Initially I was going to only add 1 LED filament but I figured why add one when you can add 2!
1. In order to have the LED's "floating" inside the box, you need to add some support. I used some copper wire to do this. Bend the copper wire to make an L shape.
2. Solder one end to the positive solder point on the module
3. Place the battery inside the box and work out where the LED filaments need to be attached to the copper
4. Add some solder to the copper and solder on the LED filaments. Make sure you test the filament to make sure you identify the positive end.
5. The next thing I did was add another piece of copper sire to the negative terminals on the filaments
Step 7: Mercury Switch
1. Solder one leg of the mercury switch to the negative solder point on the module.
2. Lastly, solder a 47 ohm resistor to the other leg of the mercury switch and also to the negative copper wire.
3. If you have connected everything together right the 2 filaments should light up. Turn it up-side-down and they should turn off.
Step 8: Gluing the Box Together
1. Add some wood glue one of the side pieces and add the same time add the 2 pieces of acrylic into the base piece of wood.
2. Next add the other side piece of wood and line everything up
3. Add some glue to the top sections of the side pieces and place the lip on top
4. Clamp the sides together and leave to dry for 12 hours.
5. Once dry you might want to sand the sides to make them flush. This will remove the stain but you can always re-stain the sections you sanded.
That's it! Give the battery a charge and enjoy some very beautiful light.
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