In this Instructable, we will inform you on how to use mostly up cycled material to create a light up master piece! We hope you enjoy this tutorial, this light up keyboard makes a great gift, toy, and DIY craft!:) -Gella and Fiona!:D
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Step 1: Gather Materials
This project requires only a medium amount semi-rare materials. You need an old computer keyboard with the keys popped out, (can be found at computer stores such as Best Buy). You will also need led lights from places like Amazon.com, a laser cutter, or just a marker, milky-colored plastic, and a soldering pen/gun. You will also need an Arduino Nano, male to male wires, and a breadboard.
Step 2: Laser Cut Designs
Go to your laser cut design app. You can choose if you would rather draw on the plastic, (the letters/symbols you desire) or laser cut them. You make your design while being careful of dimensions of your keyboard, and cut it on your milky plastic. You also need a laser cut design for the working of your LEDs. Make a design with your application and make holes with dimensions of 3x3x3 circles (we had a shortage of time, so we used a premade matrix). Make sure the distances apart the circles are apart are even. Laser cut now. You can also use a pre-made matrix. We used a die cutter to cut the white paper letters, and we taped them to plexi glass in the photo attached to this step.
Step 3: LED Light Matrix
To have enough led lights work at once, you will need a special format for the LEDs called a matrix. First, you need as many LEDs as you are lighting up in a grid (not all are always used, it is okay). We are using 40 LEDs, and we are spelling HI. Get your circles cut (see steps 2 and 4), and start your matrix by taking as many LEDs as you are using, and take the amount of lights that will be along the LEFT side. in our case it is 4. Take the longer end of each of the LEDs from the left edge, and cut the negative/shorter end/wire, and cut it down to about 10 cm on each. Then place them in the left edge face down in each hole. You will next need to bend wires, solder, and more. Gather materials. Use the first video for the rest of the matrix. You can also choose to light up your matrix with infrared power, but that requires more time and money. Arduino wiring works just as well. Use the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th video for help on infrared power and coding for your wired arduino and breadboards.
Step 4: Laser and Dye Cut
Next, you will be cutting your designs. Cutting is not completely required in this project, but if you have access to the materials to do so, we highly recommend you use them!:) Alright, on to the cutting. Open your design on your computer in your laser cut application (we used LaserDRW 2013.02!) Go to your laser cutter, and tell your program on the app to trace the material you are cutting with your design. If you are laser cutting your circles, make sure to put 2 circles on top of each other, or else the program will NOT put a hole in the material, just a circle shape. After your design is traced, tell the program to do the final design. If it lets you, we recommend that you do the most precise option, even though it takes way longer. Do the same for your letter design. It is okay if you don't have cutters, you can also just draw on the material, and cut with an X-ACTO knife (WAYYY HARDER)
Step 5: Connect Everything
YAY! Time to connect all the parts of the project! Gather all of the work you made from the steps. Get your matrix, keyboard, and laser cut or drawn keyboard on material. Place the matrix(es) under the keyboard and connect with glue, we recommend hot glue, but you can also use super glue or electrical tape. Make sure to look at are picture examples, and make sure you don't push the LEDs all they way through the holes in the keyboard. Make sure to glue your plexi glass with letters into the keyboard frame BEFORE putting the matrixes underneath. We are using code to light up 2018 in order.