Airport Runway Sign Shelf Upcycle With Fiber Optic/LED Lighting




Introduction: Airport Runway Sign Shelf Upcycle With Fiber Optic/LED Lighting

When I originally started, I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to build or how I was going to repurpose this airport runway sign.

It was destined to be metal recycled, but I thought it could have a new life being upcycled into something else.

My goal was to create something with minimal cost.

Now it is a display shelf combining old fiber optic lighting with new color changing LED bulbs.

Total money spent $25

Step 1: How Does It Work

These airport signs are still in service at most major airports. As they reach the end of their service life they are being replaced with newer LED signs.

The airport picture is the same type of fiber optic light still in service as of 2017. I took the picture on a recent flight.

With any repurpose project, breakdown and brainstorming is important.

The light frame is aluminum construction and contains fiber optic cable being lit by 2 12V projector bulbs.

This unit was no longer in service and had damage to multiple fiber optic leads

Step 2: Building a Stand

I came across this old office chair that could be used a stand for the sign. It was being thrown out by a neighbour

During the planning I was trying to determine if it would be a display sign or be used as a shelf. I had a scrap piece of plastic that had potential.

Chair cost $0

Step 3: Fixing the Interior

4 nuts and 1 1/2 inch long bolts secure the stand to the underside of the sign.

The interior needed cleaning, repair, and rewiring.

The chasis is well designed and constructed, with a little work the interior cleaned up well.

The original wiring was 240V stepped down to 12V lights with remote light controls. Since I'm using 120V bulbs, the wiring is much more straight forward with the new lighting controls built into the bulbs.

The wiring blocks were reused in different locations

A few zip ties

An electrical cord from a broken appliance

Step 4: Adding New Technology Lighting

I needed 2 sockets to hold the new bulbs.

$5 for a used light on a local online page.

I decided to retain the metal housing but really only needed the light sockets.

2 GU10 bulbs were the same size as the original 12v bulbs. I decided to spend $20 on these color changing bulbs with remote. A fair price for some cool new technology for an old sign.

Energy efficient at 7 watts total, similar to an older night light

Total invested so far $25

Step 5: Testing the Lighting

The new lights work great and the remote adds a lot of new functionality and colors.

Well worth the $20 bulb investment

Step 6: Adding the Shelf

I had a scrap peice of BBQ matt from another project. It was just enough to fit the top.

A straight edge and a sharp knife made quick work of the matt.

I searched a local online page and found a perfect piece of tempered glass being given away for free.

I did measure the glass thickness and used an online resource to determine the carrying weight and appropriate glass overhang. Glass was well within the required strength and overhang requirements for the sign.

Beveled Tempered glass top FREE

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Runner Up in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Shelving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    That's awesome! Great reuse of materials and a really cool original peice :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks Swansong, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out when I started, but I really like the end result. thanks for commenting. :)


    3 years ago

    cool man. I wanna try this!
    I voted for you.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the vote and feedback Levianthan17, it's very much appreciated. :)


    3 years ago

    I have done a variety of projects over the years, but this is my first project I have posted on Instructables. It was a fun giving an object new life and use. Thanks for checking it out. Brian :)