Introduction: Star Wars... May the 4th Be With You.
This is a very simple project, using a couple of off-cuts of 12mm ply I had laying around. And I bought some "Micro LEDs" from the local hardware store. I simply cut the letters out and glue them drill holes and put the lights in.
The project can be semi-time consuming, from waiting for glue and paint to dry to feeding the lights into the holes etc. But overall very easy to make and would be a good beginners project to start making.
You can watch the video here
Wacky Wood Works
Step 1: Cutting the Plywood
Depending on the size you want to make your display cut your plywood with the tools you have available, handsaw, circular saw jigsaw or table saw. I used my table saw. If using a table saw please be careful.
The size I made mine was slightly larger than an A4 piece of paper, as the template for the logo fits nicely on an A4. Don't worry about sanding yet as we have to cut the letters out.
I will put the template I used on my website for you to download and use.
Step 2: Preparing the Template
Using "blue painters tape" I cover the whole cut piece. What the tape does makes it very easy to remove the template and with no residue.
Spray the back of your printed out template with spray adhesive and wait for a few minutes and it will become tacky. Then stick the template on top of the blue tape. You are now ready to start cutting it out
Step 3: Cutting Letters
I cut the bulk of the letters out on my bandsaw. If you don't have a bandsaw you could easily cut these out with a jigsaw (though you may want to make them slightly larger) and finally, the other option is using a coping saw.
Whatever your method of cutting, take your time and cut around the outside of the letters. The four letters that require inside cuts I used my scrollsaw but could be done very easily with a coping saw.
Step 4: Sanding the Letters
Sand the letters with whatever tools and means you have, from hand sanding, files to rotary tools like a Dremel.
I used my disc sander to do the bulk of the sanding and then used my rotary tool to get the inside corners. And finally, hand sanding to touch it all up. (which I did not film)
You really only need to sand your saw marks because overall, any imperfection isn't really going to be noticed.
Step 5: Preparing the Back Board.
Now in hindsight... (which is a wonderful thing...) you should probably make this first and while it is drying cut your letters out.
The reason I didn't as I was kind of making this up as I was going along. Wasn't sure how I was going to have the backboard, as I had other ideas with a frame and lights, till I thought KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Make you backing board bigger than the first cut of your ply... this will leave room for nice spacing around the lettering and logo. Again can be cut on a table saw or circular saw, jigsaw, maybe even karate chop. ;-)
Once you have it cut simply paint it black... I used a hammered look which gives a hammered steel look. I used this because that's all I had in the shop at the time... however it doesn't matter, gloss black or flat black the choice is yours.
Step 6: Gluing the Letters
I use a ruler to get the letters straight and to centre on the backboard. I then use regular wood glue to glue the letters in place. (However, make sure the backboard is completely dry) Then put some weight a top of them and allow to completely dry.
Once completely dry you can then drill the light holes.
Step 7: Drill Holes and Sanding...
Once the glue has completely dried and hardened and you have cleaned any squeeze-out, you can drill your light holes. If you drill them to soon, sawdust can stick to any residue squeeze-out, and can take a bit to clean out.
Also if you drill to soon, it can lift the letters off and you may have to reglue them.
As for size of the holes, this is determined by the size of the LED lights you have. The micro-LED lights I had I drilled a 4mm hole (I think).
Once drilled in my case 54 holes, I then sanded the top of the letters using a random orbital sander, this was to give a clean look. I then flipped it over and sander the back. This was to remove any blow out from the drilling. Then finally I sprayed a clear lacquer and let that dry (this took only any half an hour or so)
Okay now ready for the lights...
Step 8: Lights...
Let's light it up...
Now the lights I bought were cheap "Micro LEDs" from the local hardware store, I live in New Zealand and got them from Bunnings. the cost under $10.00. I found some batteries as I was to cheap to buy more while I was there...
I simply started gently folding the LED's to fit the holes (without breaking the wire...) Now the pack I used had 100 LED's and I knew that I only had 54-55 holes... Being LED's they are cool and won't get hot, so I decided to leave the rest on the spool. I also decided to just tape them down, instead of using hot glue. This way I can use them for something else at another time if I ever wanted to, as they are not permanently attached. It is a crude fix that is simple but works.
You could cut them down but the set I had had a small circuit board and resistors as it had a twinkle mode, and the resistor is set for 100 LED's you would have to know a little on electronics to change the resistor to set it for the right number of LED's.
However, as I said above I may want to use these for something else in the future...
Step 9: Simple Stand
The simple stand is two pieces of wood cut at a 15-degree angle and then glued to the base. Now the bigger you make this the wider your stand would have to be so that the balance is right and not to top heavy.