Have you ever wanted to make a sign that lights up and glows with the help of LED's? Well, if so, follow my instructions on how to create a successful sign that looks cool and is functional as well. For my specific project, I created a LED lit sign that had the University of Miami logo laser cut into a piece of acrylic. This project in turn, lights up a design of your liking, by shining light from LED's through the side of a piece of acrylic.
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Step 1: Materials
- 3 Pieces of Wood (Any Size)(Cut to Specifications)
- LED's (Of your preference)
- Copper Tape
- Acrylic Piece
- Band Saw
- Scroll Saw
- Drill Press
- Laser Cuter
- Soldering Iron
Step 2: Creating and Laser Cutting Design Into Acrylic
The first step of the process is to select an image that you would like to be laser cut into a piece of acrylic. For this, I chose the University of Miami logo. Then you will need to crop the image of your liking in illustrator and eventually laser cut the image into a piece of acrylic.
Step 3: Creating the Stand and LED Housing
After the image is laser cut into the the acrylic, the next step is to to build the base of the the sign that provides the light for the sign as well. For this, start by selecting two pieces of wood that will go under another piece of wood that will house the LED's. Then, cut them to the same specifications and find a piece of wood that will house the LED's. After finding the piece of wood that will house the LED's, cut it to the same length as the two pieces of wood that will go under the piece of wood that will be housing the LED's. After cutting it to a specific length, drill the specific number of holes for the amount of LED's that you will use. Drill these holes into the center of the piece of wood so that the holes are straight and will shine evenly throughout the piece of acrylic. Next, cut the holes to the specific size LED's that you will be using as well.
Step 4: Creating and Wiring a Circuit
For this step of the project, many different circuits and or systems can be used. In my case, I used a simple parallel circuit that got the job done just fine. You could also use wires to connects the LED's but I had used copper tape. I had put two parallel strips of copper tape on the wood. I had then placed the twelve LED's that I had used in the pre-drilled holes and soldered them to the copper tape. I had used blue, "super bright's" for the LED's. After soldering the LED's to the copper tape, you will then need to solder a resistor that fits your specific circuit, to the negative side of the circuit. Next, solder a switch of your liking to the positive side of the circuit on the copper tape. Then solder the negative side of a battery snap to the resistor on the negative side of the circuit, as well as solder the positive side of the battery snap to the switch on the positive side of the circuit. Finally connect a battery source, in my case, it was a nine volt battery, and test the circuit to make sure that it is working effectively before you move on.
Step 5: Complete the Sign by Piecing the Parts Together
Finally, continue to glue the wood pieces together to form the base of the stand. Then, also glue the wooden pieces in place, that hold the acrylic to the stand itself. Connect your battery source to the circuit and check to make sure that every thing is connected correctly. Lastly, turn the switch on, and enjoy your very own LED lit sign.