I will explain how I build this Led Neon Sign of Daft Punk. I think the end result looks great! I am really pleased with how it turned out. I unfortunately didn't take any pictures during the process. But I will explain how I build it in detail.
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Step 1: Choose Your Design
Search for ''neon'' signs on google. You will find amazing neon signs that you can replicate using LED neon strips.
Step 2: Choose Your Size
You need to decide how big your Neon sign should be. This will decide how large your piece of wood should be. It will also decide how big your template should be.
Step 3: Make Your Template
I used the following website to do this: https://rasterbator.net/
Go to this website and upload your reference photo. Now fill in the size your neon sign should be. It will automatically divide the picture over multiple A4 pages. This way you can print all the pages and stick them together. You now have created the template for your neon sign.
Step 4: Buy the Supplies
I used the following neon strips for this build. They come in multiple colours and have amazing brightness. It's important to go with the 12V versions. Those make it easy to work with and can be cut every 2.5 centimetres. Which is essential for this build.
LED Neon strips 12V:
For my build, I used 3 meters of blue and 3 meters of yellow. This was more than enough for my 70 centimetre tall build. You will have to measure from your reference how much length you need.
You will need some wire in order to connect all the little LED neon strips together. You can use 24 or 22 AWG for this. I recommend you use black for positive and negative. This makes it look way nicer on the board.
You will need a 12V adapter to power the LED neon strips. I used a 3A one. If you use less than 5 meters of LED strips, 3A will be fine. If you have more, you will need a version with more than 3A.
Input plug for the 12V adapter:
You will need the female plug for the adapter connection. This way you can plug in your adapter to your LED neon sign.
Wood and screws:
You will need some wood for the backplane of the LED Neon sign. I used 8mm thick MDF for this. You can also use different wood. You will also need some screws in order to mount the LED strips to the wood using brackets. I used 3.5 x 9.5 mm screws for this.
You will need some black paint in order to paint the wood black. You can do this with spraypaint or with normal tape. If you use MDF like me, always use a primer first.
Step 5: Cut the Wood to Shape
You will need to cut the wood in the same shape as your reference. So draw the outline of your reference on the wood and start cutting. I used a jigsaw for this.
Step 6: Cut the LED Neon Strips to Length
Lay down the LED strips over your reference. Decide where you should make the cuts. You can only cut the strips every 2.5 centimetres. You can see the cutting marks on the backside of the strip. You should now have all the correct lengths of LED neon strips.
Step 7: Solder New Wires to the Strips
Solder two wires to the now exposed pads on the LED neon strips. If have cut the strips correctly, you should see two copper solder pads. Solder the wires to those pads. You should now have about 25 centimetres of wire soldered to every LED neon strip you have cut.
Step 8: Print the Mounting Brackets and End Caps
I designed special mounting brackets and end caps for these LED neon strips in Fusion360. You can download them here. If you don't have a 3D printer, you should make your own mounting brackets in another way. You can use metal clips from the hardware store for example. I used transparent PLA - solid infill for all the parts. You will need to see for yourself how many brackets and caps you need. I needed about 60-70 brackets, 10 Normal caps and 10 Wire caps.
Step 9: Install All the Brackets to the Board
Lay down your reference on your board. Poke holes through the reference into the wood on the spots where a mounting bracket needs to go. You will need to add a bracket every 7-10 centimetres to get nice bends and straights. Now screw in all the brackets where you marked them. Make sure that you use screws that are flush with the 3D printed brackets. I made a steep incline for the screw in the bracket design, so a lot of screws will fit perfectly.
Step 10: Drill the Holes for the Wires
Now you have mounted the brackets, you also know where the wires will go. Drill a hole a small as possible at all the spots where the wire comes out of the LED neon strip.
Step 11: Paint the Wood Black
Paint the wood black with your preferred paint. I advise to remove the brackets, paint and then reinstall them again. This way the brackets won't get paint on them.
Step 12: Mount the LED Neon Strips
Slide all the LED neon strips into the brackets and run the cables through all the holes.
Step 13: Connect All the Wires Together
Connect all the wires in parallel with each other. You need to test every strip separate to see which wire is positive and which is negative. Mark all the positive wires in some way. You now can combine all the positive wires and combine all the negative wires.
Step 14: Connect the Female Plug to the Wire Bundles
Connect the positive wire of the female plug to the positive wire bundle. Connect the negative wire of the female plug to the negative wire bundle. Make sure the two bundles are isolated from each other.
Step 15: Plug in the Adapter and Wall Mount It
Plug the adapter into the female plug. All the lights should be on now. The last thing is to mount it to your wall.
Step 16: Enjoy Your Creation!
Look at the beautiful thing you built.
This is an entry in the
Indoor Lighting Contest