Here is a cool project that I just did for my kids. An Ice Rink with remote controlled LED lights under the ice.
Step 1: Make the Frame and Make It Flat
1. By the Plastic or Tarps FIRST!!!!! Go to you local hardware stores a price out the 6mil clear (You Need Clear!) I made my frame a nice 15 x 30 but they don't sell 15 foot Plastic. They only have 12 and 20 foot wide.
2. Make the frame. I used old wood, rocks, and dirt.
3. Make it level. This was the tough step because of lava rock. I used a hose with water in it to figure out where level was and set the top of all the boards at one level. Drive some stakes it the ground next to the wood so you can rase and lower the height on the wood. Use nails or screws to secure the wood to the stakes
4. Remove dirt and make it flat. I did this by hand and it took about a day of hard work.
Step 2: Get the LEDs and Make Them Waterproof
What to buy...
This is what I bought for my LED setup. Everything came from China, 1 month wait for shipping to the USA.
1. I bought two 15 foot strings of 5050 RGB LEDS WaterProof Silicone. The 5050 LEDs are more spaced out and are cheaper. Search Ebay for... 12V DC 5M 150Leds 5050 RGB SMD Silicone Tube Waterproof Flexible Strip Lights. $10.00 each with Free shipping.
2. LED Lights controller. 44Key IR Remote Controller For RGB 5050 LED Light Strip. This controller allows you to hook up 2 15 foot LED 5050 to it. $6.50
3. Power Supply. This converts 110 AV to 12volts. AC 85-245V To DC 12V - 6A - USA Plug Power Supply Adapter For Led Light Strip. $10.00. You might just have one of these but watch out it needs to have the smaller male end that plugs in to the lights controller. It needs to be 12V with a > 6A output.
Before adding the LEDs to the bottom of your pond, you will need to make them waterproof. Even if the manufacture says they are waterproof. I went out and got 34 feet of the Clear 1/8 inch thick tubing. As I recall it was 5/8 Inside Diameter and was .60 a foot.
Now fish the LED string through the clear Plastic tube. This was a very tough step for me. I ended up using A LOT of WD40 and fished a 12 gage wire through. Make sure you have the wire taped to the full length of the LED strip as you pull it through the tube. I ripped one of mine in half.... I also cut the tubes into 8 foot sections and rejoined them with pipe and hose clamps. Just make sure to wrap the clamps with tape so they don't tear the 6 mil plastic.
I then plugged one of the ends with a wine cork and made it water tight.
Add the LED strips to the low spots of your empty ice rink. Mine wanted to curl up so I used some u-shaped wire to hold it down.
Run the Power ends to some kind of weather resistant box. The LEDS can run on a 12V battery but I'm running mine to the AC to DC Power supply.
Step 3: Add the CLEAR 6 Mil Plastic and Fill It Up
1. Before adding the 6 Mil plastic make sure there are no sharp objects on your base. If there is, like in my case ,Lava rocks. I put down a small layer of dirt on then and laid down old traps.
2. Add the 6 Mil plastic and make sure there are no folds in the plastic.
3. Secure the plastic on the side with weight for now.
4. Add water ... Start by adding a little water to all 4 corners and then pull the the plastic taught to try and get rid of any large air bubbles.
Step 4: Add a Board Topper
This step is not required but I added board to the top of mine to try and protect the plastic. I now see why people use large overlapping pipe to make this.
Step 5: Add Lights
To add lights around the rink.
First find a good set of outdoor lights on a string. We by chance found ours at Costco. 48 feet for 50 bucks I think... Search ebay for " feit electric string of lights" Ouch... $100 bucks. Well thats what the LEDs lights are for I guess.
If you get the String of lights.
1. Put in some posts and run a 3mm cable across the tops of the posts and ancore the cable on both sides to the ground. I just put my posts in the ground and added gravel. The cable across the top holds them down. I used a cumalong to cinch it down. You can get a 100 foot 3mm cable for $10.00 at harbor freight. VERY CHEAP! as compared to any Hardware store. http://www.harborfreight.com/100-ft-x-3mm-aircraft...
2. Add the other cables and attach the string of lights. I made some 4 inch twist ties from some 14 gage romex wire. worked like a charm. You can see them in the 1st picture.
Step 6: Things That Went Wrong
The LEDS came to late and the pond froze. Workaround... Use a sawzall to cut a trench for the lights. It does work but only do this at your own risk.
The ice is not flat!! First don't let anyone walk on it when it is soft. My workaround for this was to top the pond off with hot water. To get the hot water, I just hooked a hose up to the hot water at the cloths washer. I also used a hot Iron on the lumpy bumps and it works. Try this at your own risk.
1. Need to figure out a cover for when it snows or rains.
2. Small hot water zambonie
3. 30 more feet of LEDs.
4. Needs to be colder where I live.
Please vote for me in the "Make It Glow Contest" if you like it. VOTE button in the Upper RIGHT