Neopixel Charcuterie Board

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Introduction: Neopixel Charcuterie Board

I love addressable LED lights and while brainstorming ideas for ways to use them I decided I wanted to try using epoxy resin to make a charcuterie board. The plan was to dye the epoxy white to have an opaque finish that would defuse the LEDs. Even though things didn't go exactly as planned, I feel that it is worth it to share my process to inspire others and hopefully anyone who tries this can get a better result. I even included some tips in the final step that I wish I had tried rather than doing what I did.

I built this Charcuterie board to turn a mini fridge into a bar top but you can use this idea to make an elegant serving tray that will surely awe the crowd at your next dinner party. When a glass is set on it the lights make the whole drink shine so This idea is perfect for a larger bar top as well.

Supplies

Stuff you might want

Github Code: https://github.com/mrme88/Charcuterie
PCB Gerber File: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1meBJLIPDrQmjwaIH...

Links to NEXTPCB who sponsored this project

Register to get $5 coupon: https://www.nextpcb.com?code=christopher

Reliable Multilayer Boards Manufacturer: https://www.nextpcb.com?code=christopher

4 Layer PCB Boards 10pcs only $12: https://www.nextpcb.com?code=christopher

10% off - PCB & SMT Orders: https://www.nextpcb.com?code=christopher

These are all the supplies I used. Use the affiliate links to support me at no extra cost to you!

WS2812b LED strip - https://amzn.to/3kXtYDI

Arduino Nano - https://amzn.to/34a4MUu

Table Top Epoxy (What I used) - https://amzn.to/2Xve1d7

Casting Epoxy (What I meant to use) - https://amzn.to/3brKQA4

Tools

Hot Air Gun - https://amzn.to/39ha9lD

Miter Saw - https://amzn.to/3h8zkcL

Jig Saw - https://amzn.to/3iSWoNh

Soldering Iron - https://amzn.to/3iSWoNh

Hot glue gun - https://amzn.to/3iSWoNh

Materials

Solder - https://amzn.to/2Yc61Pb

Hot Glue - https://amzn.to/2Yc61Pb

Wood Glue - https://amzn.to/2K2DXKd

Step 1: Build the Frame

The only wood you’ll need for this build is an 8 foot 1 x 2 and a 2 foot by 2 foot sheet of ¼ inch plywood.

The plywood is going to be cut into a 19 x 21 inch board.

The 1 x 2 will need to be cut into 5 pieces of the following lengths: 2 x 19 inch pieces, 1 x 21 inch piece, 1 x , and 1 x 16 inch piece. All except the 16 inch piece will be cut at a 45 degree angle to form the outside edge of the cutting board.

The 1x2 boards are glued down in the pattern pictured above. It was at this point I realized that this is kind of big so feel free to adjust the dimensions to make a more reasonable sized serving tray.

Step 2: Electronics

I laid out 6 strips of 10 LEDs and used the adhesive backing to stick them to the wood. I stuck the ends of each strip to the start of the next strip using the PCBs I mentioned earlier. Then I just had to add a little solder to each pad and the LEDs worked. The code I’m using is just a modified version of the FastLED colorpallete example, you can find it on my GitHub.

To take advantage of the full 2.1 amps my power bank can provide, I soldered a usb power cable directly to the Vin and ground pins of the Arduino Nano. I also added a button for controlling the state of the LEDs. To do this just connect a resistor to one leg of the button, then a wire to each leg of the button on the same side. The resistor will connect to ground, the wire on the same leg as the resistor will go to a data pin, and the last wire will go to 5V. I used hot glue to stick the electronics in place but feel free to design a proper enclosure.

Step 3: Epoxy Pour

As I mention in the video, I meant to buy Casting Epoxy but I bought Table Top Epoxy instead. This meant that I couldn't just pour it and let it dry, I could only pour 1/4 inch at a time. These instructions will be for tabletop epoxy, if you try this with casting epoxy instead be sure to follow the directions on your bottle instead.

Start by getting all your supplies ready, once you start mixing you want to pour and heat it as soon as possible. Start by mixing a small batch and mix more as needed until you have a layer that's a quarter inch deep. I left the first layer clear with the intention of making the second layer opaque white but it didn't work out for me so if you want a solid color I would recommend some small scale experiments first!

With the full first layer poured use a heat gun to get it evenly spread and then hit it with a blowtorch to get any bubbles out. Wait two hours and then repeat the steps again for a second layer.

Step 4: Finishing Touches (Don't Do What I Did)

The result I was hoping for was an opaque finish that defused the lights so you couldn't see the individual LEDs. Obviously that result wasn't achieved but I do have some ideas that might inspire you to make your own.

If you like the look of mine, I covered the top with some white wallpaper. This is a cheap way to get a consistent finish on the top but you can't wash it so it's not the most useful serving tray.

Here are some other ways you could finish it to get a better result:

  • Use a piece of frosted acrylic on the top
  • 3D print thin white tiles to line the top and coat them with another thin layer of epoxy
  • Fill the reservoir with clear beads or rocks to diffuse the light and fill with casting epoxy
  • In between the two layers, add white flowers or something else to give a floating effect and diffuse the light
  • Anything else you can think of, try it and it might work!

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    4 Comments

    0
    ehensel1
    ehensel1

    1 year ago on Step 4

    If you want a more diffused look, the easiest way would be to take a random orbital sander, start with 100 grit, and sand up to 220. By the time it's nice and smooth, you should have a nice opaque look to it. It might not be as diffused as you want, but will be better than just clear epoxy. You don't even need an electric sander if you don't have one, but sanding it by hand will take some elbow grease!

    0
    ChrisParkerTech
    ChrisParkerTech

    Reply 1 year ago

    Great advice! I should have realized this would be a better solution since I did this technique with my LED lamps and it worked really well. Thanks for the suggestion!

    0
    ehensel1
    ehensel1

    Reply 1 year ago

    My pleasure! The added benefit is that you never have to worry about scratching your beautiful board!

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    1 year ago

    Like a dance floor for your cheese :D