Introduction: SJ Sharks Light Box

About: Hi, we're Elemental LED. We are committed to the importance of LED lighting as a revolutionary technology that can help people integrate green practices and a reduced carbon footprint into their everyday lives…

Hi, I'm Russell Petersen. I'm the Electrical Engineer here @ Elemental LED. I help develop the lighting fixtures and controllers we create for our DIYers! When I'm not busy creating awesome, new products, I try to join in on some friendly DIY competition. I also have created many of my own LED projects, which you can check out on my personal instructable page.

DISCLAIMER:  NHL team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. © NHL 2013. This light box was created for my own personal use and is not for monetary gain.

- Hand-Cut Decal using Contact Paper
- Hangs on Wall
- Orange Eye that Glows
- Color Changeable

Elemental LED Products used:
- 4’ of CORONIS High Output LED Strip Light  $80
- (2) Mini RGB Controllers $60

Additional Materials:
- 60% Translucent Acrylic, ¼’’ Thick – From Tap Plastics  ~$23
- (3) 5mm Orange Superbright LEDs ~$3
- Aluminum L-channel Edging  ~$8
- 3/8” Plywood ~$15
- Perf Board $0 [Leftovers]
- 2’ Wiring $0 [Leftovers]
- Screws $0 [Laying around at home]

Total Cost:  ~ $ 190

Total Time:  ~ 8 Hrs

Step 1: Decal

For the decal, i used this method on another instructable by GoodAsh03.

Basically, you make a stencil the desired size of the decal, tape it to black contact paper and cut out the white space, then use clear contact paper to keep it together and adhere it to the desired surface. Refer to his instructable for detailed instructions.

I grabbed a black and white image online. You can also take a color image of the logo, and use microsoft paint to save it as a Monochrome Bitmap. Print out your logo. if it's large, cut and tape it together as I did here. You can use Adobe to print out "posters" and remove the white border to save you time.

This logo was hard to center. Take your time and measure the center of the acrylic, or wherever you're attaching your logo if it's critical. Once it's positioned, remove the backing and carefully adhere it to the acrylic. Make sure the surface is clean and dry to get achieve good adhesion. I typically leave the acrylic covered until just before I'm ready to stick a decal on it.

Step 2: Box

For the box portion of the light box, it's important you match the LEDs with your acrylic. Depending on how translucent the acrylic is, will determine how far from the surface you will need to mount the strip light. It also depends on the look you're going for. I recomend playing around with the components so that you find what you like and know how far to mount them.

For this project, I tested the lights first, and then decided on the box depth. I then took old ply wood I had laying around and cut out the appropriate sizes. There are many ways to make a box. I used a simple overlapping method, as you can see in the images. I made the box dimensions the same size as the acrylic. I will later cut metal "L" channels to hold down the acrylic. I got L channel pieces large enough to cover the wood that shows up behind the acrylic once it's put together. That way the acrylic appears illuminated all the way across the box. You may also use a Dato blade and table saw to cut channels in the wood to hold the acrylic. That is a more permanent solution, however, and wanted to get to the lights later on in case I wanted to change them.

I used Elmers wood glue and a nail gun to put it together.

We're going to paint the inside white to make it more reflective for a higher light output. The black will be painted for looks. It's important before any painting to make sure you have all the wood working completed. For this project, make sure you have a small hole drilled for the power wire to feed in. Also drill a larger hole near the top center for hanging it on a wall.

Step 3: Acrylic Mount

Once the box is made, cut aluminum channels to hold the acrylic. Measure carefully for this. Over cut and then trim them down until they fit together nicely. A 45 degree cut on these trim pieces will give a nice finished look.

After the pieces are cut to size, you can drill two mounting holes through each of the 4 pieces. I used 8 flathead wood screws as mounting hardware. Don't fasten the aluminum down yet.

Step 4: Paint and Lights

Paint the inside of the box a gloss or matte white. I suggest brushing on a primer. This wood soaks up spray paint and takes a few coats to get decent coverage.

I used the hole I drilled earlier to hang up the box. Paint the outside gloss or matte black. Read the instructions for drying times and conditions.

Once the paint is dry, you can mount the electronics. I used cheap hardware to mount the mini controllers up off of the wood. Run power wires to each board. I wired a short DC plug out of the box for the power wall adapter. 

I used orange LEDs on one controller, and set the controller to a slow strobing mode. I first tested the lights, then mounted them on a scrap piece of perf board. Since these controllers are 12V on the output, I ran three LEDs and a 330 Ohm resistor all in series across one of the RGB outputs. The other controller is set to a solid teal, with the RGB led strip light hooked up normally.

To obtain a better effect, I used cardboard and made a funnel for the orange light. This way only the eye of the shark lights up. I also used white electrical tape for the mouth and hockey stick tape. This gives it a more pure white look, since it's normally not colored in the logo.

Once the light is complete, mount the aluminum channels, and your box is complete!