Intro: LED Acrylic & Wood Cube Lights
These wood and acrylic LED cubes feature a really cool glow. They utilize RGB light strips, they are daisy chained together and powered with a 5 volt source. So the idea is to use one remote to operate any number of cubes - so one cube passes along power to the other cube and so forth. We use USB cables to create that connection, and they need to have four wires inside, to pass along all that color info.
Step 1: Products
Products Used (Affiliate Links)
LEDs - http://amzn.to/2xTVCbK
Acrylic - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Soldering Iron - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Hot Glue Gun - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Multi Meter - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Micro USB - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Female USB - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
USB Cables - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Epoxy - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Dewalt Hole Saw - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Voltage Tester - http://amzn.to/2h8Wfeo
Step 2: Cutting the Material
First of all - cutting the wood and the acrylic to size. The acrylic cuts really well on the table saw.
For wood, we're using 1/2 inch cherry. And we really wanted the wood and the acrylic to be the same thickness, however if you don't care about that, you can find thinner acrylic in the home improvement store.
We're going for a 4x4 inch (about 100x100mm) sized squares of both the acrylic and the wood.
Step 3: Hole Saw
Next up the hole in the middle. So using a hole saw on the drill press, and this was a little tricky with the acrylic. You have to go really slowly and take your time. And all in all we cut 9 pieces of acrylic, three for each cube, and then some extra. And then repeating the same size hole for the cherry, which is a lot easier.
Step 4: General Design
So the idea is to wrap the LED lights around a dowel. The dowel will be attached to the bottom cherry boards which also will hold a micro usb connection on one side and a regular usb connection on the other. These connections need to sit nicely within the wood and be carved out, and it's a little tricky because the wood is rather thin so there's not that much material to work with.
So using the cnc machine here to carve out some channels in each bottom cherry piece. However if you don't have a cnc machine, you could definitely use a chisel, or a router if you manage to clamp it down right.
Step 5: Electronics
Now for the electronics, when dealing with colored LEDs, all connections need 4 points to carry each color, which means there's a lot of soldering.
Here's a basic diagram of how everything's connecting.
So we start with 5 volt power which connects to the led controller which came with the lights, that connects to a micro USB, which connects to the light strip inside, the other end of the light connects to a regular usb female, and the same is replicated on the 2nd cube.
Step 6: Connectors
So then it was a matter of creating all of these connectors.
Step 7: LED Controller
When you buy these lights, the controller is soldered directly to the lights themselves, but in order to do a project like this you have to connect it to a male micro usb, which is basically just cutting in half a wire, a typical phone charger cord, and then connect that to the LED controller. So I wanted to use the same nice braided wires so it would be continuous.
Step 8: Attaching the Dowel & Connectors
To attach the light, we glued on the light strip on to a dowel, with some hot glue for re-enforcement. And then to secure the dowel, and the usb connections we used hot glue.
Step 9: Gluing the Cube
So to glue all the pieces together, we first used crazy glue, because you want a really tight fit, so crazy glue made sense.
However after letting it dry, it became clear that was not a good idea, and the pieces just came apart. So next up - epoxy which worked a lot better.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Next up, sanding and then finishing with a coat of shellac.
To give the cubes little feet, I'm cutting up some leather here, and then just attaching with hot glue.
Step 11: Power
To power these lights I've got them set up connected to a power strip which has usb connectors, however you could use any 5 volt power supply as long as it outputs 1.5 amps - and that's the case for 2 cubes, if you only have one, you'd get away with less.
Step 12: Conclusion - Watch the Video
For a much better perspective of the process, and to see the lights in action, make sure to check out the video of the build!