Illuminated Map With LEDs




Introduction: Illuminated Map With LEDs

About: I am a student in University of Oulu, Finland, studying education and technology. My interest is digital fabrication in education.

I made a map which brights with LEDs. It looks cool in the dark place!

I used acrylic board for map and engrave map on it. I used MDF for map stand and put two LEDs in it.

The process includes 2D design, laser cutting and engraving, soldering and simple wiring. I used Inkscape for designing.

Material (quantity):

White LED (2)

Resistor 86Ω (2)

Coin cell battery (2)

3mm Clear acrylic board

3mm MDF


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Step 1: Engraving a Map

1. Search a map on the internet. Black and white map is preferable.

2. Import the map to Inkscape.

3. Use trace bitmap to change image to vector graphic (Path> Trace Bitmap).

4. Set for engraving. Object> Fill and Stroke, Fill: back, stroke paint: no paint.

5. Draw the outline (cutting line) around the map. I made the size as 120 * 180.

6. Set the cutting line thickness as 0.02mm (Object> Fill and Stroke, Fill: no fill, stroke paint: black, stroke style: 0.02mm)

7. Cut and engrave the map with laser cutter.

Step 2: Design a Stand

I made the stand with five layers of MDF. I also made sticks and slots in each layer so that it can be disassembled to change batteries.

Each layer has following function.

Layer 1: Bottom. Sticks to fix the other layers will be attached. The wire to connect batteries will be placed.

Layer 2: Two holes for two coin cell batteries and slot for wires.

Layer 3: LEDs and resistors will be attached.

Layer 4: To make enough height for LEDs and resistors.

Layer 5: Top. Slit for acrylic board.

Step 3: LEDs and Wiring

I used very small LEDs: Chibitronics. It already has resistor.

I used two of this LED in parallel. The voltage is not mentioned in the website, but as I tested, the limit of its voltage was around 4.6V. The LED was not bright enough with one coin cell battery (3V), so I used additional 86Ω resistors and used two coin cell batteries (6V) which give each LED 4.28V.

1. Solder LED and additional resistor.

2. Solder wire (red) to resistor and wire (black) to GND (-) on the LED.

3. Connect two red wires from resistors and add one more wire. Solder three wires and fix them with tape.

4. Connect two black wires from LEDs and add one more wire. Solder three wires and fix them with tape.

5. Attach LEDs on the Layer 3.

6. The red and black wires you added go to the layer 2 through the holes on the layer 3.

Step 4: Wiring for Batteries

* This picture is old version. I modified to add switch.

I used two coin cell batteries (battery1, battery2). Battery1 will be placed +side up, battery2 will be placed -side up.

Now you have red and black wires from the holes of layer 3.

1. Attach the red wire to the bottom of the layer 3 (it touches + side of battery1). In the picture, I used aluminium tape to attach but it didn't work well. So I put normal tape. Make sure to uncovered part of the wire will be placed above the battery.

* In the PDF file, I miscalculated the length of the slit on layer 2. I manually made the slit longer so that both wires from the holes can be placed without being sandwiched by layer3 and 2.

2. On layer 1, place wire as a bridge between the spots where two batteries will be placed. I used normal tape for this as well. (In the picture, the black wire from layer3 is attached but this is not correct!)

3. Attach black tape on the bottom of layer 3, where the battery2 will be placed.

It may sound a little bit confusing, but now you should have wiring showed bellow.

On the bottom of Layer 3:

- Red wire from the LEDs is attached and it touches battery1.

- Black wire which touches the battery2 is attached (it will be attached to switch).

On the layer 1: A wire is taped between the place where batteries are.

Step 5: Making a Switch

This switch is three layers.

1. Glue bottom layer and the layer with thinner flame with bond.

2. Attach two black wires (one from LED through the hole, one from the battery2 attached on the bottom of layer 3) on the bottom layer with aluminium tape. Make sure two tapes are not touched.

3. Put aluminium tape 1/3 of the bottom surface of the movable part. Make sure there is distance between each aluminium tape on the bottom layer and movable part when you move it to the other side.

4. Place the movable part on the bottom layer and glue the top layer (thicker flame).

Step 6: Finish

1. Glue layer 2-5 with bond. Layer 1 (bottom) is not glued, so you can still take the batteries.

2. Put acrylic map on the slit of the stand.

It looks cool in the dark place :)

LED Contest 2017

Participated in the
LED Contest 2017

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    oh my word! it is so beautiful, I would like to engrave my hometown! Thanks!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you Chan!
    Engraved pictures on acrylic board look good with LEDs!


    2 years ago

    Great. What type of laser engraver do you own?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for your comment :) I used the laser cutter in Fab Lab, Epilog Laser Fusion 75W CO2.