I made an RGB Colour Changing On Air Sign.
See the video above for the process and read on for more details...
Step 1: Cuttng the Acrylic...
I started by cutting down some scraps of acrylic I had. The pieces that I had really determined the dimesions I ended up using although you could really make it any size as long you you adjusted the number of leds to provide enough light.
In the end mine turned out to be 30cm x 15cm x 5cm.
Step 2: Glueing the Box...
Using a square I lined up the sides of the box and tacked it in place with some CA glue using activator spray for a quick hold. Then I ran along the seem with the CA glue to bond it all the way along.
This method was perfectly strong enough and when the box was complete it was very sturdy. I intend to hang this outside so you will notice in later images that I added epoxy around all the seems to make it waterproof, this is not needed however if you intend to keep the sign indoors.
Step 3: Drill and File a Hole for Power/Programming Cable...
My leds are controlled by an Adafruit trinket board which takes a micro-usb cable for power and programming. I drilled a hole in one of the side panels and widened it with a small file to fit the cable.
Step 4: Painting the Back Box...
With the back box complete it was time to paint. I used a grey plastic primer spray, a white acrylic for inside to best reflect the light from the leds and a matt black spraypaint for the outside of the box.
Step 5: Preparing the Front Plate...
Firstly the front plate needs to be sanded to better diffuse the light. I did this with 100 grit sand paper.
Next I masked off the whole piece with blue painters tape. Take note here though, as I used some cheap tape I had as it was wider and needed less strips to cover the piece however when this was painted it bled and I ended up sanding the paint off and repeating the proccess with 3M tape.
Next I used my laser engraver to cut the design out. Obviously this is optional! I can already hear the cires of "Oooo, look at Mr Fancy Pants with his 'Laser Engraver!!'". This can easily be done by hand with a craft knife but I have a laser and I'd be a fool not to use it!!
Once the design was cut out I removed the surrounding tape and painted it in the same way I did the box.
Finally, once dried, I removed the mask.
Step 6: Electronice, Programming and Final Assembly...
As previously mentioned, I'm using an Adafruit Trinket and some individually addressable LED strip.
I soldered the power and ground pins to their respective pads on the Trinket and then soldered the data line to one of the digital pins. Any of the pins will do but be sure to change the pin number in the code.
Next I hot glued everything in plae and the gued the front panel in place.
At this point you could simply load in one of the example sketches from the NeoPixel library onto the board and you're good to go. I intend to code a program that randomly flickers the light to simulate a faulty connection but haven't quite figured it out yet ?.
That's all! Thanks for reading!
If you want to help me out and make one of these, below are amazon affiliate links for the parts:
LED's : https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00SLYAHSW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00SLYAHSW&linkCode=as2&tag=makefailrepea-21&linkId=d6c08ea0dea1c9599cbb2d553734dd3e
Trinket Board: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00M40Y8Y8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00M40Y8Y8&linkCode=as2&tag=makefailrepea-21&linkId=7cb88c2e7ba98da46f4908d3dd3821dc
Acrylic Sheet: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002U5I7NA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B002U5I7NA&linkCode=as2&tag=makefailrepea-21&linkId=07e0b824fad702b57a7b86c479555557
Matt Black: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004LLOMLW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B004LLOMLW&linkCode=as2&tag=makefailrepea-21&linkId=9ab1f16f05de8f5fda9711fde47a360d
3M ScotchBlue: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000BQWD12/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B000BQWD12&linkCode=as2&tag=makefailrepea-21&linkId=8d49ba492adf6822331e14801a4509dd