Introduction: Multi Layer/ Color LED Sign, Bioshock Themed
So, im sure many of you feel this as well, bioshock infinites themes were profound and perhaps even inspiring. Whenever something does that to me i feel inclined to ode to it (i.e my xbox speaker, daft punk signs and a violin mod youll definately want to see coming up;). As you can see this sign carries many themes from the game, elizabeth in a worried helpless looking state with a bird "in" a cage via a tear. And , litterally, on top of that we have the quote " will the circle be unbroken" the, moving, re-occuring song within the game. * But you didnt come here for a backstory, you came for instruction so I will be your shepard (ironic and/or punny) Tools and parts required Dremel/ rotary tool Soldering iron Glue gun Acrylic cutting tool Means of making a base 5mm LEDs Wire Acrylic(plexiglass) Power supply Probably other stuff i apologize for not remembering
Step 1: Get Your Plans in Order
The two applying skills in this piece are electronic foresight and a tad bit of drawing or photo editing skills. I dont have a computer at my will ( all my work is done is done on my ipod so apologies if it is not up to snuff in 'ible quality) so i had to draw all i wanted onto a single draft and trace from that. I show some layers in the pictures the different colors are the different colors the sign will ultimately be the other planning you need to have is the colors and orientation of your LEDs i made a quick breadboard of what i did. All my electronic components were supplied by http://www.microtivity.com/ and i definitely recommend them. I will now give you a tip that if i would have known wouldve saved me alot of time. When wiring different color LEDs using only the LEDs and the resistors, put each color on a seperate plane. Each color is wire amongst itself in series, however a seperate lead from the power supply goes to each color, i know theres probably a better way to describe it but my articulation is low. So for example the blue set of LEDs has absolutely no effect or affiliation with the white LEDs. This is so one set of LEDs does not steal or lose power from another set because different colors require different voltage. To most electronic hobbyists probably already know something like this but im 15 and am pretty much teaching myself.
Step 2: Etch the Acrylic
Now is where you take out your rotary tool with engraving bit and get to work. I went about this by first cutting three pieces of acrylic just a bit bigger than the paper, these pieces are the layers/ colors, now tape the drawing or printed picture or whatever to on of the pieces. Now make sure on this piece you only etch the lines for that One layers color. For example , the first layer i made was yellow so i only etched out the cage and moved on. Once you have your initial layer made take the next piece of acrylic and tape it on top of the whole set up this is so you dont have any displacement and it will all line up in the end. Repeat this till you have all your layers made. In certain spots (elizabeths corset for example) there are two colors on the same section, this makes for a much more vibrant effect but only do it where it makes sense...derp. If you decide to be rebellious and decide to add color where it doesnt belong, i wont stop you, you might notice in the final picture some blue hue in her hair, a nice touch if i do say so myself!
Step 3: Prepare All the Bases!!!
Contrary to the title each sign has one base... Another derp. I had some wood from some ex furniture i used but i have done these without a base and instead just made half circle holes in the bottom of the sign for the LEDs and used extra acrylic for the legs my zelda sign shows this but it doesnt diffuse all that well so i dont highly reccomend it. The way i made this base was by cutting a piece of wood to the desired size and than making slots for the acrylic with a grinder tool, im well aware of the lack of straight-ness and oops:) now you have to pick which layer will go in which slot, from back to front i chose to go yellow, white, blue. After you choose drill the spots where your LEDs will be. Remember to be efficient here, for example in the cage i used only two LEDs because thats all i needed also for the legs i used 1/4 inch acrylic rods, i didnt end up doing this but i planned on putting a flashing rgb LED on top of each leg for added awesomeness points.
Step 4: Wire It Up!
Here it is all to easy to make a stupid mistake, so be diligent. I go about this putting each LED where it goes and than using a tiddlybit of glue to keep it in place. I also make sure all positive legs face one way and negative the opposite. Now just wire one color at a time in series ( if one goes out, the others will stay on) my power supply was from a wall outlet that converted to 9v DC, in other words most laptop chargers.as far as resistors go i added one to the inital start of the circuit and than one right before each SET of LEDs. So four were used in all, also remember to put them on the positive leads, im not sure they even do anything on the nefative side, i never tried. If this your first electronic project just be like the happy mask salesman and have faith! And yes thats a zelda reference in a instructable about bioshock, im hardcore like that:)