Introduction: Mandalorian Glowing Picture
This project describes how to make a hanging picture with some led and motion detection to add a glow effect to the picture.
In this case I selected a Mandalorian Silhouette, I prepared this video so you get a better idea about what we are talking about...
2 Pieces of MDF 420x20x10mm for the long videos of the frame
2 Pieces of 27x20x10mm for the short sides of the frame
1 Piece of MDF 420x290x3mm for the back cover
Printed A3 with silhouette design, 420X297MM
Before cutting the mdf board check the dimensions of all your components, in my case the potentiometers gave the width of the side frames as you can see at the picture:
Step 2: Preparing the Board
Be sure you have space for all of them in your design, it would be a good idea to prepare the layout of your components before you transfer the design to the mdf board.
Mdf is quite easy to manage for making the cuts, I tried first with regular pine wood and thicker piece of 15mm and it was quite difficult and slow to do the trimming, thinner pieces could be used also but with 10mm (or thicker) we can get a better result with the resin filling. Initially I figured out the project just with wood/mdf and epoxy, then I decided to add some fun and interactivity to it, first idea was to illuminate the picture from behind to get a nice effect through the epoxy colour and make the silhouette glow, so I added a 12v led to the back of the frame, effect was really good, but why stop now? then I thought it would be nice to switch on automatically just when someone enters into the room, a pir sensor would do the detection so I added an Arduino Nano board to control both, movement sensor and led light, and turn it off after some minutes.
It worked nice but again something was missing, what about a fading effect to start and stop the light? that could be easily done with arduino but since I'm using 12v led lights I needed a transistor in order to be able to dim the lights, there are many transistors in the market that can do this, after some research I decided to use a Mosfet IR520, it makes operation simpler since it has already the terminals for input, output and signal and no soldering is needed.
This worked really well and provided a very nice effect. Well that could be it, but... yes, something else came to my mind, what if we could adjust brightness of the light? that would need just a small potentiometer, and for almost the same cost I decided to include a second potentiometer to adjust also the time light is on, so we can go from 1 to 15 minutes, and 0 to 100% brightness.
Some more ideas are coming as I write the post but I think this would be all for V1 :-))) new features coming for V2. So let's start with V1 !!
Step 3: Printing Design
After choosing a cool design, I printed it in A3 matching my MDF piece size, (if you can not print in A3 you can also split the design in 2 x A4 from your printer preferences menu).
Step 4: Cutting the Profile
Once printed you should transfer silhouette to the mdf board, here you have 2 options, the faster one is using some carbon copy paper and with a pencil draw the silhouette to the mdf table, this is quite fast , if you don't have carbon copy paper you can take your scissors, cut the profile of the figure, once cut, place and secure with some tape on your mdf board, now follow the contour with a pencil so you get the design in the mdf.
Once mdf is ready we should start with the jigging, take your time and don't go fast, one mistake here can ruin the whole proyect, although wood/mdf can be patched let's try to do it carefully and get as many detail in the shape as possible , this will really make the difference once project is finished.
Step 5: Placing Vinyl
It really looks nice already, let's finish and go to the next step.
First install the side frames that will give us the space to install the wires, led, arduino board, etc.., I just glued them together, let them dry and wait until it is solid. Before applying the front vinyl cover make sure surface is perfectly clean, check and centre the vinyl to be sure you have enough to cover the sides also.
To avoid bubbles and keep it straight I suggest you put some tape at the top part of the vinyl and fix it to your table, once it's perfectly squared with your mdf peel off the top side and start laying it on the mdf, a ruler would really help if you press it while you keep peeling, don't worry if there's any small bubble usually we can get rid of it later...
Step 6: Trimming Vinyl
Once the vinyl covers the mdf you can put a lamp table below the design in order to cut the vinyl following the mdf contour.
If you don't have a lamp table and easy option is to place the mdf on a window, that would make quite easy to follow the contour.
Step 7: Sealing
Now we want to fill the negative space with the coloured translucid epoxy resin, but before that we need to seal the piece so resin does not escape from our project and goes all over the table, floor, etc... Resin is like water so we need a good way to seal the project.
I initially tried to use a couple of layers of packing tape but still not 100% sealed and some resin escaped so in the second attempt I added a third layer of vinyl covering all the back and sides of the mdf and this really did the job, remember that this has to be removed once resin is dry so avoid using papers or any other material that will get stuck to the resin once it is dry, vinyl goes off resin really well, same as packing tape. Another option would be placing a silicon matt under the project, this would leave a perfect finish to resin but again you should seal all the corners of the mdf to avoid resin slip; for me it did not work as expected. Next you can see a picture of my third sealing layer (it should be better applied and without wrinkles but as I had two more layers already I did it too fast)
The problem of the tape/vinyl is that once we remove it leaves a matte finish to the resin, that is why I put the tape at the back of the design and pour the resin from the front side, this way the front side will be perfectly shiny and will look great once resin is cured.
Step 8: Preparing Epoxy Resin
It's time for the Epoxy resin.
Read carefully about how the proportions work, sometimes it is on weight and others on volume so just be sure you read instructions properly or it will affect your final result and curing times. In my case resin mixing proportions are 1:0.6, so I used 300gr of component A and 180gr of component B. I suggest you mix color with component A and once you have a smooth distribution add component B and mix well for about 2 to 3 minutes. About colours you can do some testing before going to the final filling of the project to be sure you get an idea of what you will get. These are my testing board, and how it looks just placing on a window to see the light effect coming through, once you choose what works better you can prepare the final mix for your project.
Step 9: Colours
I used orange mica powder to add some texture and extra shine to the sun, it really worked well. When using mica colours I recommend you to give a twist and make some patterns at the epoxy using a thin stick after first hour, otherwise when you leave it resting shiny particles tend to group to the sides and it can get too uniform.
Giving it some movement before it sets will provide a better finish, but don't wait too much, if resin is too thick don't mess with it or you will ruin the flat shiny surface we are looking for.
Keep in mind that we need that our colour, once mixed, still allows some light to come through or it won't provide the glow effect we need.
Another thing to consider is that even when your color may look too deep once you are mixing, do not worry, the layer we will deploy is going to be quite thin so it would be much lighter than the intensity you will see in the mixing recipient. When mix is ready start pouring slowly starting on the big areas, for the smaller interior spaces I used a dropper, don't worry if there's some spill on the vinyl, just take a paper and clean it while still fresh. This is how it looks after resin is cured, in my case after 24 hours:
Step 10: Wiring
Now let's put some light and wires on it !!
I used arduino board, started with arduino UNO but just for what we are doing I decide to try arduino NANO, it's easier to fit and we use the same code so you can use any of them. To avoid too much soldering and make sure connectors are properly attached I added a terminal shield to the arduino Uno, that really makes connections easier.
Step 11: Diagrams and Source Code
Here you can find the wiring diagrams for arduino, power switch, potentiometers, transistor and source code for the arduino board.
Step 12: Potentiometers
I'm using two potentiometers, first one (purple wire) will control the brightness from 0 to 100%, second one (green wire) how long the light will be on, in my case from 1 to 15 minutes. I did not have faston connectors so I had to solder them.
Open holes for the power switch and potentiometers on one of the sides.
Step 13: Adding the Light Strip
For the light I'm using a 1 meter 12v flexible strip (any 12v led would work) the main idea is to keep a uniform light all around but with indirect illumination.
Another option could be using two separate led strips, one on top and one at the bottom. Place the led on the back of the frame around the design and fix with hot glue. I made a big sun and it is coming right to the edges of the frame so I had to narrow them in order to get a uniform light all over the sun. Still the side led lights were visible directly so I covered them with black tape to get a better result. Luckily just with the top and lower light it works great. So make sure you leave space on the sides for placing your leds and they stay out of direct sight. According to your design you'll have to think the best way to place your lights.
Step 14: Movement Detector and Arduino Board
After led is on place and we have the holes on the side frame it is time to mount the rest of the components as planned in the initial layout we prepared.
I decided to place movement detector on top and secured it with screw to be able to take it out easily if needed.
I installed a double technology movement detector that uses both infrared and microwave detection,; microwaves will go through wood and vinyl without problem, if you plan to use a regular pir detector you'll need to do a small hole at the front so the detector has open sight through the mdf and vinyl, since wood and vinyl will block infrared readings.
Arduino board and transistor will be at the bottom, to keep the main wiring closer to the potentiometers and power switch. Also I secured arduino shield and transistor with screws to the board rather than using the glue gun since eventually we may need to take them out.
Step 15: Final Inspection and Power Up !!
Last step, put a cover on the back to protect components, add a couple of D-ring hangers, place it on your favorite wall and enjoy it !!
Hope you liked and enjoyed this instructable, please upload your projects and comments if you decide to give a try.
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