Introduction: Multi-panel Edge-Light Sign
Here is my tutorial on how I made this multi-panel edge-light on a laser. I don't own a laser right now. I used to have access to an Epilog Helix 60 watt laser. At my job I made thousands of edge lights. I worked for Laser's Edge. I've added a few of the edge-lights I've created in the past. I know lots of tricks and techniques for getting the best results!
If you've ever made an edge-light from scratch it can be difficult, and an edge light with multiple panels is even more difficult. At Laser's Edge we took the difficulty out of making them. Even programming the lights is very easy with they new Edge-Light Kits.
I've added a photo comparing the multiple panel edge light to a single panel edge light. With multiple panels you can get much more details and variability in the design!
Everything that you will need other than the laser comes in the Kit.
What you will need:
- Edge-Light Kit from this link: Edge-Light Kit
- Access to a Laser (I use one at the public library for free! Check fab-labs or business incubators in your area to see if you have access to a laser)
- You can also use a cnc machine
- If you only have access to a sand blaster you can contact the people at Edge-Light Kits to see if they will cut the piece out of the acrylic for you.
- Soft cloth for wiping acrylic (acrylic can get dusty from engraving and cutting)
- Work surface for putting it all together.
I also have a YouTube video that walks you through the creation of how I created a Captain America night light: Captain America Night Light Tutorial
Step 1: Step 1: the Design
This is not meant to be a lesson in graphic design. A basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Corel will be about all you need.
Step 2: Step 2: Prep the Design for Engraving/cutting.
Step 3: Step 3: Engraving and Cutting
The settings for engraving on the laser are going to be different for each model and wattage of laser. All lasers should be able to cut through eighth inch cast acrylic. If you don't know your settings for power, speed, frequency or anything else, I recommend you contact your laser provider for settings.
You may want to purchase extra acrylic when buying your kit, especially if this is your first time and you are worried about making mistakes or unsure about the laser settings.
With this product, a little engraving goes a long way. You don't need to engrave very deeply at all for the acrylic to pick up the light. Too deep of an etch and you might block the light from transferring up to the rest of the design!
As I said before I used an Epilog 60 watt Helix for this piece. Here are my settings:
- Speed: 100%
- Power: 30%
- Speed: 20%
- Power: 100%
- Frequency: 5000 Hz
- Dither: Standard or Brighten
Step 4: Extra Tips on Engraving
Here are a few best practices that can help make your finished piece more impressive.
Step 5: Step 4: Putting It Together
These slides talk about the kit that comes from Edge-Light Kits. In my experience it is super easy to put together! So easy it feels like cheating to me since I've done it the hard way in the past. I didn't add a wrench or screwdriver in the materials needed because finger tightening is all you need to get this together. Plus you don't have to worry about cracking the product that way, unless you have super strength like me ;)
Step 6: Step 5: Setting the Lights.
This part can be really fun. It takes only a minute to set the lights, but you can have fun tweaking the various settings of all the preprogrammed light shows that come preinstalled on each piece. These kits really are great!
Step 7: Step 6: Enjoy!
That's all there is too it! As I've said before, I've made thousands of these and it's a lot of fun. I've even made some upside down and put them in my car for my favorite sports team (Go Browns!) My point is there are so many fun uses for these and they really get peoples attention.