Dash - DIY Modular Lights




Introduction: Dash - DIY Modular Lights

About: Industrial Designer and Maker.

Dash is a modular lighting system intended to provide an inexpensive lighting system that can be adapted to many environments, purposes and spaces. That is why it maintains a formal simplicity and cleanness on all its volumes, materials and surfaces.

The vast majority of the pieces are precisely shaped using laser cutting technology, then the parts are glued and assembled together until the final shape of the lamp is achieved. The lighting system uses 24 LEDs and a remote controller to change the color and intensity of the light, which is evenly diffused thanks to an internal paper sheet surrounding the LEDs and a frosted acrylic piece that in addition of diffusing the light protects internal components as well. The entire system can be assembled and disassembled easily thanks to 6 screws that are fixed in order to keep all the container sealed

Step 1: What You Will Need

  1. Laser-cut 3mm plywood (Download cutting files here).
  2. Traslucid clear 3mm acrylic (Download cutting files here).
  3. LED strip.
  4. 6 x 1cm screws (with nuts).
  5. Sandpaper (500).
  6. A couple of tie-wraps.
  7. Paper (180-200g)
  8. Wood glue.
  9. Small clamps.
  10. Wire.
  11. Soldering iron.

Step 2: Creating the LED Bed

The first thing to do is gluing the base pieces together, we accomplish this by applying white glue and aligning them using as a reference the identical holes in both pieces.After putting them together the best way to keep everything in place is using several clamps to press the two sheets of plywood together for 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the base is dry, we proceed to glue the pieces that will keep the LEDs and the diffuser in place, these 4 pieces should be located perpendicular to the one glued initially and placed in the rectangular holes located along the base.

Now we can locate in place the rectangular piece that will hold the LEDs, we use again white glue. Depending on the characteristics of the laser cutting machine some assemblies will be more accurate than others, which is why if unions are too loose you should ideally use rubber bands to hold everything in place while the glue dries.

Step 3: Setting Up the LEDs

There's a huge variety of LED stripes available on the market, with many different variations of sizes, power, protection and color. In this case I used a 5050 LED stripe, the purchase included an infrared controller to change the colors and intensity of the LEDs. Perfect for this modular set up.

This LED strip comes with a double-sided tape on the back, so it's really easy to put it in place. In my case I used two 12 LED strips and later wire them together using the holes on the base to keep the wires in place. Also placed a couple of tie-wraps along the LED strips to secure the whole setting.

Remember to check that the LEDs work as intended before assembling the lamp.

Step 4: Gluing the Small Lateral Walls

The first thing to do to start assembling the box that will protect the entire system is gluing the walls of the lamp.

The smaller walls are assembled similar to the base: Adding white glue and pressure. In this case the pieces are aligned using as reference the three circles present in both pieces.

On the top interior side of the wall we must glue the small plywood ribbon that will hold the acrylic in place, that's why we should leave a 3mm gap between the ribbon and the smaller piece we just glued.

Repeat the process, you will end up with two identical pieces.

Step 5: Gluing the Large Lateral Walls

Just like the step before we need to glue the pieces that will hold de acrylic in place. In this case there are no holes to use as reference while aligning the pieces together, so, we will leave a 3mm margin on the sides and the bottom of the assembly. On the top, the large ribbon needs to be glued leaving a 3mm gap to hold the acrylic in place (see last picture).

Repeat the process, you will end up with two identical pieces.

Step 6: Adding the Nuts

Take one of the small pieces with the hexagonal holes and pair it with one with a circular hole, glue them together and place a nut inside the hexagonal hole. Make six pairs and place these groups inside each of the three rectangular holes found on the two large lateral walls. This will later serve as an anchor when inserting the screws.

Step 7: Adding the Diffusor

In order to diffuse the light emitting from the LEDs take the paper and fold about 5 mm on its large borders, then form a semi-circle and introduce the papers in the guides of the base, on top of the LED strips.

Step 8: Frosting the Acrylic

In order to diffuse the light a little bit more, a small grain sandpaper was used to add some roughness to the clear acrylic. Using soft and circular movements throughout the whole surface of the material.

Step 9: Putting the Box Together

Now that we have all the components of the box we can assemble it.

First, glue the small walls to a larger one. Then, slide the acrylic piece through the canal created by the gap between the ribbons and the internal pieces glued earlier.

Once the acrylic is in place, glue the final large wall to finish the enclosure.

Use angular clamps or thick elastic ribbons to add pressure while the glue is drying.

Step 10: Final Assembly

Take the base with the LEDs and the paper diffusor and slide it inside the box assembled in the last step. The pieces holding the LED strips should slide into the canals on the interior of the box. To finish the module, tighten the six screws on the back of the box.

Assembly as many modules as desired, then wire them together through the circular holes on the small sides of the box.

This is my first instructable!, so, If I left something out or you have any doubts, feel free to comment or contact me at rogzam@gmail.com

For more projects, visit www.rogzam.com


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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Beautiful module! Clean and crisp. The sanding of the acrylic could maybe be replaced by a diffusive film on top, applied before laser cutting?



    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks!, Yes... you're right, that's another way to do it. I just happened to have some sandpaper around and needed a quick solution but a diffusive film would definitely make the screen look cleaner. Thanks for the suggestion!