Introduction: Neon Sign 3D Printable "CUTE" / "BEER"

About: Innovation engineer. Electronic and DIY enthusiast, with personal interests in retro tech, board games and old cars.

Hi everyone,

On this Instructables I will explain you how I managed to make a lighting sign for my girlfriend.

I had a faux neon wire called "El wire" which is commonly sewn on clothes by some people (you can have a look) but I wanted to make something different. So the idea of making a neon sign came to my mind and I wanted to share it.

You'll find two files: one for making a "CUTE" sign and the other one for making a "BEER" sign (which I have not done yet).

For making this you will need :


  • Of course some 3D-printer filament, one design required 140g of plastic (you can of course choose the color of your choice, I picked the red filament)
  • A 5-meter El wire with a battery driver or a USB driver are available here for 6€30
    • You'll only need 4 meters of this wire if you pick the "CUTE" or "BEER" design (choose your color, I picked pink)

  • (Two AA batteries, if you choose the battery driver)

Required tools

  • A 3D printer, mine is a Creality CR-10
    • Warning : If you want to use the same design, you will need a printing area of minimum 30cm x 30cm. If you doesn't have enough space, you can recreate you own design in following the further steps.
  • A pliers to cut the excess neon.

Optional tool

  • Some glue, if your "El Wire" doesn't hold perfecly

Step 1: Designing the Sign With Fusion 360

When I started designing it, I had some constraints :

  • The sign had to be in one piece and I only had a printing area of 30cm x 30cm
  • I had a 5m "El Wire" out of which I tried using the maximum length I could
  • The letters had to be linked altogether by the neon wire (I didn't want any soldering)
  • The chosen word had to be short because I wanted to make large letters

If you want to make your own design with a customized text, just follow the following steps (see pictures) :

- Download the neon font I used : made by Unblast (if you want to try with other font, choose a font in the ".ttf" format so that you will be able to use the "explode" function on Fusion 360)

- Write the text and explode it (I have choosen 130mm height for the font)

- Draw a line between the two lines drawn by the explode function (this line will represent the path of the future neon wire)

- Make a fillet of 5mm on each angle (I made some test and a 5mm fillet seemed to be the best option to pass the wire easily)

- Make a 2.5mm circle at the end of each letter, do this on another plane

- Stop sketching, select both the circle and the path and use the tool "Sweep" to draw the wire path

- On the last picture, you can find a sketch of the necessary height of material you need for clipping the neon

Step 2: Print It

I used the slicer Cura for my Creality CR-10.

Genering the .gcode is a bit tricky, if you use the auto-support function you will waste time and plastic. For that reason, it is better to manually insert some supports. If you want to do this, you will find a file called "Sign_support" which you will insert in the exact same place as the sign basis (use the coordinates x and y for better precision) and define it as support.

For a better grip, I used the "Brim build plate adhesion".

To make a Beer sign, use files BEER_sign + Sign_support

To make a Cute sign, use files CUTE_sign + Sign_support

Files are also available on Thingiverse, here is the link :

"CUTE" and "BEER" signs have the same size which is : 285mm long x 65mm width x 97mm height

Step 3: Make It "Glow"

It's the last step and it will take you around 30 minutes to make.

Start by cutting the cap at the end of the wire. Don't worry, the neon doesn't need the cap to glow.

To insert the wire, think about an optimized path. This is how I did it:

  • 1st, the frame around "CUTE"
  • 2nd, the letter 'E'
  • 3rd, the letter 'T'
  • 4th, the letter 'U'
  • 5th, the letter 'C'
  • And finally, the frame on the very edge of the sign

Insert the wire centimeter by centimeter by pressing with your finger or a soft tool (I used a screwdriver handle)

Step 4: Enjoy !!

If you want to go further, I still have some ideas to improve this design, here you go :

  • Create a design for each alphabet letter and find a smart way to combine those. The advantage would be to create longer words which would be easily customizable
  • Make a frame that you could hang on the wall (no support)
  • Make a multicolor sign (the extra difficulty would be that you'd have to solder)

I'm pretty happy with the result, it's so Vegas-like !

I hope you will enjoy making one for you or for someone you love, I also hope you'll enjoy the result as much as my cat Mimi did :3

Have a nice day !

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