Intro: Glow in the Dark Batman Light
A few days ago I posted this Batman Light to 9gag. I got a lot of positive reactions and people asked me to do an instructable on this, so here it is. When I started on this project it wasn't clear what it was going to be yet. That is why some steps may seem weird or in the wrong order.
Step 1: Cutting Board
This whole thing started when I made a cutting board from some wood that was lying around the house. I made this chopping board by gluing together a few pinewood boards and then sanding the whole thing with a belt sander. My belt sander can also be mounted on the workbench, which is very convenient when you want to round off the corners. When it was finished I quickly realized that this pinewood wasn’t going to survive one week of cutting.
Step 2: Create a Batman Shaped Hole
This is when I decided to make a Batman light. In order to make the Batman shape, print out the logo and staple or glue it to the board (you have to remove it again so don't overdo it). Use a pencil to draw the outlining of the logo onto the board. Once done you have to cut the wood inside the logo. This is the part where you can easily mess up all your work, so be careful. I used a drill to make wholes along the sides and then a jigsaw to connect the holes. Then use a file to work your way to the edges.
Step 3: Filling the Hole
This is the part where it gets tricky. You need to get your hands on some epoxy or polyester resin, however I would recommend polyester as it is cheaper. Even when you search for polyester resin, you will find many different kinds and for me it was a matter of trial and error to find the right one. Two things are very important, when its dry, it needs to be hard as glass (so you can sand it) and secondly it needs be see through (I wouldn’t recommend a completely clear resin, as it won’t diffuse the light as much as you want). I used a can of resin which is also used for repairing boats and swimming pools.
Secondly you will need some photo luminescent powder. These are available in different colors on for example Etsy or Amazon. Don’t be fooled by the glow on the pictures, because in reality it will be less vivid. It is not photoshopped, but just something which most camera’s automatically do.
Get a cup and pour in the amount of resin you need and add the harder fluid (delivered with your resin) and mix it. Now put in some of the powder (a medium sized teaspoon will suffice for a project like this) and mix it up till it is nicely spread. Make sure the board is on a flat surface and the back is tightly shut (you can use tape to do it, but it will make your resin sticky at this spot when its dry, so it might be better to put it on a plate of glass). Pour the resin in till it goes over the edges (the resin will shrink a bit when it sets, so make sure you apply enough resin to compensate for the shrinking).
Step 4: Let It Dry
Let the project dry for a few days (depending on your resin) and then remove the tape on the back. The picture shows the back of my project after I took of the tape and I can tell you it was very sticky.
Step 5: Sanding
Now sand both sides of the board till it's nice and smooth. I used both a belt and flat sander to take off most of the material and finished it off by hand (grain 1000).
Step 6: Building the Case
At this point you will have to start building the rest of the case. The case consists of two parts, namely the front to which a frame is glued and the back which is identical to the board of step 1. Attach the back to the frame with some screws (don’t glue it, because you are going to have to put in the electronics later). When the whole thing is screwed together, use a belt sander again to make all the edges nice and smooth.
Step 7: Fitting the Lights
For lighting I used LED strips, because they are easy to fit and produce almost no heat. Measure out the length you need (about 1 meter for this project) and solder it in the right formation. You can use the adhesive back of the strips to attach them to rear board. Don’t forget to make a hole in the bottom to let out the wire.
Step 8: Polish Your Work and Admire
This project hasn't been polished yet, but it might be nice finishing touch! The lamp looks great both during the day when it's off and during the night when it's on or off and charged. Good luck!
Update: I polished the light with beeswax and now there is a slight gloss over the wood and especially over the logo. I'd love to see what you guys come up with and if you don't feel like building it you can check out my Etsy shop, simply search for FeyeCreations. Thank you for reading!