Making a good presentation of your work and creating a good branding is one of the most important things you can do to improve success of your good quality work.
Whether you are making videos on YouTube or opening a restaurant or design products shop, a logo light box is a really nice way to communicate your public how much you care about your work and how serious they should take it.
So, let's get started in making one! There are several ways to do it and I thought it would be really cool to build a three-dimensionally carved one. But you can just use some black (or color) sticking vinyl and hand cut the parts you want the light to come through. Be creative!
Take a look on the quick video first to get a better idea of how the whole thing will work!
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Step 1: Making the Box Frame
For this project I'm going to use MDF painted black and the light box is going to be hang on an indoor wall, so there was no reason for me to spend extra money on any other material.
I used 3/4" (19mm) MDF for the box frame and 1/8" (3mm) MDF sheet for the front panel with the carved letters as also for the backer board.
Other than that, I used 1/8" (3mm) while opaline acrylic sheet (translucent), aluminium tape, a little bit of epoxy glue,an LED strip (I used just a bit over 13 feet (4m) with a power supply, some electrical wire, basic soldering equipment and also a switch (optional).
First of all, we need to cut our MDF in strips to make the frame. My logo final size is 21" x 21" x 2" (55 x 55 x 5,3 cm) which means that I cut the strips about 2" wide. I went with glued miter joints and screws for reinforcement but you can use any other type of joint that you feel comfortable making. Or you can just butt joint the pieces with countersink screws but don't forget that if you are working with a square logo, so 2 of the sides need to be smaller:
x - (material thickness x2) = dimension of the 2 smaller sides.
I also made two rabbets with a rabbeting router bit on both sides: one for the backer board and one for the acrylic sheet. This one should be just the perfect size so that the acrylic doesn't wobble too much - in this case, 1/8" (3mm) deep. This last rabbet will trap the acrylic sheet in place.
Step 2: Carving the Design and Painting
While you are building the frame, you can always send your design to the CNC carving machine and save some time by working as a team!
After the carving is finished, you will want to carefully remove the letters and keep the interior parts of letters like R, A, D so you can later glue them in the right place during final assembly.
In this case, I sticked the MDF thin board to another piece of MDF that is functioning as a waste board with double sided tape just so that the letters wouldn't fly off at the final CNC pass. I removed everything and re-sticked the parts with some spacers so that when I spray paint the whole thing, there will be no chance for the paint to accumulate on the edges and ruin the appearance if the pieces get sticked together and we need to pop them apart.
It's nice to mask with painters tape the edge that is going to get glue later before spray painting the frame.
Step 3: Enclose the Acrylic Sheet and Prepare the Frame to Receive a Switch
Since the rabbeting bit gives us routed corners, we now need to wether square up the rabbet or round the acrylic sheet corners. I went with the second option. Just found a washer that had the appropriate diameter, traced a curve around it and filed the corners down to the line.
At this point, if you decide to install a switch like I did (optional), it's a good idea to prepare the frame to receive it and chisel up a perfectly sized hole for it to fit later.
It's time to remove the protective plastic films from the acrylic sheet, enclose it in the rabbet that we kept paint free and glue the black border of the logo in place. Clamp it properly all the way around.
Step 4: Finish the Borders and Glue the Rest of the Logo
While we wait for the wood glue to dry, we have some time to cover the backer board with aluminium foil and tape so that the interior of the box gets as reflective as it can. This is a really cheap and efficient way to make it.
Because my border MDF piece of the logo was a bit bigger than it was supposed to be, I flush trimmed the excess all around with a router. I rather do this relative dimensioning than try to predict the final size but it might work just as well for you to start with the final border dimension from the beginning.
This means I need to fill that thin edge all around with black paint. I cover the acrylic with some paper and masking tape so that the paint won't make a mess on the white surface.
We can now finally glue the rest of the logo in place with some strategic points of epoxy glue. Don't forget about the interior pieces of the letters/design!
Step 5: Applying LED Strip and Soldering
We are getting really close to see this beauty in action!
Next step is applying the LED strip all around on the inside as also on the backer board in zig-zag where you know the letters will be just so you end up with a nice consistent lighting and not getting parts less bright than others.
Also, if you decided to use a switch integrated in the box like I did, you will need to make some simple soldering in order to get it working properly and also connect all the LED strip pieces.
Make sure ir works before closing the box!
Step 6: Hang It on the Wall!
Yeah! We're essentially done!
The only thing left to do is to apply some mounting hardware, hang it on the wall and turn it on!
Isn't it satisfying to get your good looking branding piece working properly? It's awesome!
Go ahead and make your own! Don't forget to share some pictures so we all can see your version of the project!
Also, if you enjoyed the project, take a look on the video that covers the whole process, share it on your socials and subscribe to Get Hands Dirty channel! It means a lot to me :)