We got a load of free SMD LEDs, and I wanted to test how it looked embedded in acrylic.
Using the laser cutter, I made holes in the acrylic to fit the LEDs.
The LEDs have the pads on the ends, and are slightly longer (3.5 mm) than the acrylic is thick (3.2 mm).
Because the connector pads of the SMD LEDs stick out of the surface of the acrylic, it is possible to connect them all using one piece of pcb copper on each side.
It turned out quite nice and beautiful.
Step 1: Drawing and Cutting It Up
I got the measurements of the SMD LEDs from the datasheet and drew the shapes up on the computer.
I made the holes the exact size of the LEDs, to make the just squeeze in nice and snug.
I cut up the acrylic shapes in the laser.
And the pcb copper parts in the cnc router.
Step 2: Mounting the LEDs
Mounting the LEDs in the acrylic - Using a pair of tweezers, because they are too small for my fingers.
Make sure to mount the LEDs the same way up/down, as they have polarity.
The LEDs have a little notch, showing the plus side.
Step 3: Making the Sandwich
A piece of copper plate go in the top and bottom.
I used some old double sided pcb copper sheets.
A 3 mm screw hold it all together.
The sandwich is held together firmly by the screw, wich ensures, that the pcb flex and all the ends of the smd-LEDs are getting connected.
Step 4: Electrical Connection
Double sided pcb copper sheets do not have connection between the front and back layer of copper, so I had to solder a little bit for that.
I added a little extra solder just for the looks.
Step 5: Mounting Cable
I soldered on some solid core cable for the electrical connection.
The bottom copper layer is getting connected through the screw, that hold the sandwich together.
Note the circular groove in the copper, that isolates the center (connected to the back) and the front.
Step 6: The Base - a Leaf for the Flower
I used the same pcb copper sheet for the base. It is very easy to shape in the cnc router.
I went for a leaf, because that went well with the flower theme.
The groove "stem" of the leaf going all the way through the leaf suits to isolate the two halfs of the leaf from each other.
I soldered on two small pieces of pcb to each side, with just the right distance to hold a coin cell battery.
The coin cell delivers 3 V, wich a perfect to run the SMD LEDs on.
To turn on the light in the flower, one simply places the coin cell battery in the little wedge between the two halves on the leaf.
(Remember the polarity, though. If it does not work, flip the coin cell battery)
Step 7: All Done
Very simple to make, and surprisingly beautiful.
When it is so simple to mount SMD LEDs in acrylic, it really opens up for a lot of new ideas.
There is a lot of projects in my mind already, that needs to be tried out.