Honeycomb LED Panels

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Introduction: Honeycomb LED Panels

About: I studied electronics at school and in the last years I have become passionate about several tech subjects: mechanical design, Arduino and its IDE, Raspberry Pi + LAMP server and Python, Stepper motors, LED ...

Hello there lamp makers!

Today I would like to present to you some lamps that I made for some friends of mine.

This is not the first time I build a wooden LED panel, as I have made a whole electrical system based on them in the past, you can find the relative Instructable at Wooden LED Panels and Touch Buttons for House Lighting System. That system was working with touch sensors and 24V lamps; on the other hand the lamps built in this Instructable are stand-alone devices, which just have to be plugged to the AC current to work.

The lamps work with 220VAC (Europe) or with 120VAC (USA) and they have a power supply certified for LEDs (which means they are protected against overheat).

At this link you can see a video about a square LED wood panel and how the front cover of the lamp is removable through magnets.

ATTENTION: this project involves wiring new lamps to an electrical system. Make sure you understand AC and seek advice or help from an electricians. Working with 220V is dangerous. When you wire the lamp remember to shut down the electricity in the house.

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Step 1: Materials to Make the Lamp

- LED PCBs working at 24V, neutral white (4000K)

- fir wood battens of 5x2cm

- fir wood strips of 2x2cm

- anodized aluminum plate 2mm thick

- cream colored lamp shader (made of a PVC layer and fabric layer)

- 24V 35W power supply for LEDs

- circular magnets with hole, 10mm in diameter

Step 2: Aluminum Laser Cutting and Drilling Holes

Attached you can find the DXF, which is the file usually used by the CNC laser which cuts the aluminium plate in the shape required. If you don't have a laser CNC, you can find a company that cut aluminum in your area or ask to your local Fablab. Each hexagon side is 23cm .

The DXFs do not include holes; holes were made by hand with a drill (use a drill bit for metal). But you can add them if you want to automate this process.

Step 3: Make Wooden Hexagons

With a miter saw you'll have to cut each side of the hexagon. Initially, full hexagons were made to see if the cuts end up matching. In order to cut each side the saw angle should be set at 30°.

Afterwards, the wood pieces have been glued together with PVA glue.

ATTENTION: cutting wood with a miter saw require the right safety precautions and experience. Wear protective glasses.

Step 4: Screw the Aluminum to the Wood

In this step we fix the sides of the hexagon to the Aluminum. We had already drilled holes into the aluminum (a single hole per side will suffice). Then we placed the wood side on top of it and we drilled some inserts so that the screw would enter the wood more easily. Then we screwed the two pieces together.

HINT: it is better to chamfer the holes on the aluminum plate, so the screw head will not stick out.

ATTENTION: it is important to earth the aluminum plate of each lamp. To do so, just twist some copper wire around one of the screws. The aluminum touching the screw will be enough to make electrical contact (test it with a multimeter if you want to double check). We will then connect that copper wire to ground wire of the house electrical system when we hang the lamp.

Step 5: Screw the Magnets

As can be seen in the video of the square LED panel; the cover comes off: this is important for installation and maintenance purposes. We simply achieve this placing a magnet on the wooden batten and a small metal plate with holes on the wooden frame.

The magnets are 10mm in diameters. So we made a recess with a drill bin of 12mm in diameter. It is important that you don't make the recess too deep, the depth of the recess should be 1mm less than the height of the magnet.

Step 6: Cut the Lamp Shader and Fix It

We used a piece of cardboard as reference for cutting with a cutter the lamp shader in the hexagon shape. Then we attached with staples each lamp shader to the wooden hexagonal frame.

Step 7: Test the LED

We were working with LED rigid PCBs. Each LED module is 6cm long and consume 0.7W at 24V, it can work as stand-alone unit or be connected in parallel with others, the cluster of them just need a common power supply at 24V to work.

Each hexagon has 25W of energy required, (36 LED modules are employed). So we chose a power supply of 35W to power each hexagon. As long as the power supply is a bit bigger is better.

Step 8: Place the LED

In this step you can see in details how the modules are placed. Each light hexagon is made of three PCB hexagons one inside the other. You can also use LED strips instead than rigid PCBs and achieve a very similar result. The LEDs have heat-conducting double-sided tape on the back, so as long as you place them on the anodized aluminum they will stick firmly and stay there.

Step 9: Solder the LED and Testing

Solder all the PCBs. Between each of them solder two cables to connect them together. Remember that you have to connect all modules in parallel to light everything up with the same power supply. So, positive pole (+) with positive pole and negative pole (-) with negative pole. All the bridges among the PCBs has been soldered by hand with brass.

A final test is made before hanging the lamps, to see if the light emitted is homogeneous.

Step 10: Fix the Metal Plates

This is a very easy step, we just have to screw the small metal plates to the wooden frame where we previously had stapled the shader.

Step 11: Silicone the Power Supply

Power supplies are attached to the aluminum base with silicone.

There is a common connector for the main line of 220V and each 24V output of the power supply is soldered with one of the hexagons made of PCBs.

Step 12: Fix It to the Ceiling

At the center of each hexagon we drilled a hole, we drilled the ceiling and we stuck a fisher plug in the wall, we finally screwed the lamp to the ceiling.

Step 13: Wire to the Electrical System

Now we only have to make the final connection and then we'll be able to turn on our new light. There are three wires: neutral, line and earth. Neutral and line are interchangeable, make sure you connect the earth cable to the wire that is then connected through the screw to the aluminum and then we are done.

ATTENTION: make sure you shut down the electricity in the house!!!

Step 14: Give New Light to the Room: the Lamp Is Done!

These pictures show how the lamps end up in the house.

The lamp made with three hexagon is perfect to illuminate a room that is 5 x 4 meters in size, the one with two is good for a room 4 x 3 meters in size, the lamps height is 2.9m for both.

I really like how this lamps final effect is. Unfortunately pictures don't give them enough credit from me, but the sight at the eyes is extraordinary, and the light emitted does not blind the looker. The narrow slits through the wood frame and the wood battens which delimits the lamps are very nice, as they rim the lamp shape with a line of light. I love these lamps as they reminds me of star ships hovering the room.

The light emitted in the room is around 3000K, so a nice warm white light color. We used LED that have a light of 4000K, but with the cream colored shader the neutral white light was converted to a 3000K, which make the room very cozy and gorgeously lit.

Great job, if you have managed to read until here and congratulations if you have built this project.

If you really like these lamps but you don't have time to build them, you might consider to buy them from Etsy and I'll be happy to make it and ship it to you.

Honeycomb LED panel - hexagonal shape lamp 70W 3000K

Hexagon LED panel - mid power Lamp 50W 3000K

Until the next Instructable,

Bye for now.

Pietro

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    6 Discussions

    0
    truesy
    truesy

    8 weeks ago

    Totally cool! Would these work outside? I am starting a pollinator themed community garden. If I get the grant I wrote for a shed, I would love to use these on the outside. If not, I'll use them inside. Thanks for your creativity!

    0
    Merenel Research
    Merenel Research

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Yes, you can use them outdoor, you just have to protect the LEDs casting them into resin, make sure the resin is a bit soft because if it is too hard it could break the LEDs. You can also use transparent silicone (solvent free, the one used for mirrors is fine).

    0
    Merenel Research
    Merenel Research

    Answer 8 weeks ago

    Hello! No, they don't. Don't worry for the heat, the 2mm thick aluminum plate that the LED strips are attached to is acting as heatsink and it has a very wide surface in contact with ambient air. At the touch they don't even reach 30°.

    0
    gurugabe
    gurugabe

    Question 8 weeks ago

    How many panels can you connect together and are they dimmable? I am thinking of doing an entire ceiling of these for the kitchen and dining area.

    0
    Merenel Research
    Merenel Research

    Answer 8 weeks ago

    Hi! Potentially you can connect together as many panels as you want as they are stand-alone, each one with its power supply. In this Instructable they are not dimmable, but if you want to make them dimmable just add a dimmer control between the output of the power supply and the LED strip. Something like this will do the job https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dimmer-a-Pulsante-Dalcnet-Easy-DLC1248-1CV-8A-DC12V-48V-con-Memoria-2044/254244047302?hash=item3b322049c6:g:b1EAAOSwdqRXiLQ- You'll have to wire the dimmers in parallel and wire a push button to one of the dimmer to dim all the panels.

    Having a whole ceiling covered in hexagons is certainly cool but be aware that each hexagon irradiates around 1000 lumen of light and consume 25W of power, which is pretty much. With the 3 hexagons configuration at top light you already have enough light to lit well a 4x4 square meters room. So with a lot of them you might end up with too much light. I would suggest to use 12V LED strips instead than 24V LED strips to halve the power and you would definitely need a dimmer to keep them lower in power. You're idea is cool and achievable!