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How to Make a Custom LED Sign with edgelit lighting. Use these same methods to make any framed sign or shadowbox. And I used fricking lasers! Affiliate links below
- Full Spectrum Hobby Laser 20×12
- Cordless Drill
- Oscillating Sander
- Wire Stripper
- Pin Nailer
- Web Clamp
- (2) 18″ x 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ wood boards
- (2) 14″ x 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ wood boards
- (2) 18″ x 1-1/4″ x 3/4″ wood boards
- (2) 14″ x 1-1/4″ x 3/4″ wood boards
- (1) 17-1/4″ x 13-1/4″ 1/4″ plywood
- LED light strip
- LED power supply
- Rocker on/off switch
- Terminal connectors
- 16″ x 12″ glass (or acrylic)
- Spray paint – black and white
Read the instructable here and you can also get a download of the plans with measured drawings over at my website: http://fixthisbuildthat.com/how-to-make-led-sign-diy-plans/
Step 1: Cut the Boards for the Frame
All boards are 3/4" thick. Cut 4 boards to 1-1/2" wide, with 2 ~19" and 2 ~15". Cut 4 boards to 1-1/4" wide, with 2 ~19" and 2 ~15". The 1-1/2" boards will make the base frame that holds the electronics and the 1-1/4" boards will make your upper frame that holds the glass.
Cut a 1/2" deep by 1/4" wide rabbet groove on the edge of each board as seen in the picture.
Cut the boards to final width of 18" for the long sides and 14" for the short sides with 45 degree miters on each end. Note the base frame will be standing on edge when glued up and and the upper frame will be laying flat. See assembly pictures for detail.
Step 2: Make Mounting Holes for the Power Switch and Power Connector
Drill holes in the side of the base frame to fit the power switch of your choice. My switch has tabs on it that I removed with a dremel tool so it had smooth sides and would fit into the hole.
Make similar holes for the power connector to fit in so it will be flush with the outside of the frame. Use a chisel to clean up the edges of the hole and make the connectors fit.
Step 3: Assemble the Upper and Lower Frames Then Join Them
Glue and clamp the upper and base frames together. After they are dry glue them together and clamp firmly. When entire assembly is dry sand the edges flush so all the sides are smooth.
Apply finish of your choice to the wood. I used equal parts Polyurethane, Mineral Spirits, and Boiled Linseed Oil.
Step 4: Prepare Glass Insert
Using a sheet of 16"x12" glass, spray paint one side with black semi-gloss paint. Let the paint dry and then it is ready to be etched. I used a Full Spectrum Hobby Laser 20x12 to etch my logo onto the glass. You could also apply vinyl stickers to the glass, spray it, then remove the tape for a similar effect.
After lasering or removing the vinyl, turn the glass over and spray it white. This helps diffuse the LED light as it shines from behind. Also it will provide the contrast needed if you are not etching the glass.
Step 5: Wire in the LEDs and Power
I used 2 jumper wires and terminal connectors to wire in the switch to the positive lead of the LEDs.
Cut the LED's to length and attach to the wood by removing the adhesive backing, use CA glue for added hold. Do a test run of the wiring before permanently mounting the connectors.
Install the power connector in the mounting hole with hot glue. Put the positive and negative leads into the power connector.
Step 6: Install the Glass, Back and Hanging Hardware
Place the glass into the upper frame and hold it in place with 1/4" strips cut from the frame material off cuts. I used 3/4" pin nails to hold the 1/4" strips into the frame.
Cut a 17-1/4″ x 13-1/4″ 1/4″ plywood back and install it to the back with 5/8" screws. Use a saw tooth hanger or similar for mounting.
Step 7: Hang and Enjoy!
Install the LED sign on the wall and enjoy your awesome creation!
If you want more details you can check out the full blog post at: http://fixthisbuildthat.com/how-to-make-led-sign-diy-plans/
Thanks for reading!