Anyone who has spent much time designing circuit boards will recognize the inspiration for this project. When designing a 2 sided PCB on a CAD system, it is common practice to display the board with one side red, the other side blue. In this example we are using the component side as red and the solder side blue.
Of course, this is the famous Arduino Uno. The two panes are made of 1/4" (6mm) clear acrylic. The panes are approximately 11" x 9.5". As you may know, the thickness of cast acrylic can vary quite a bit, so there was no point in providing precise dimensions for this project. I some cases you will have to measure and fit.
Also needed is a short length of red and blue LED strips. The strips use 12 volts and are wires in groups of three LEDs. The strips I used had 15 LEDs in each strip.
The Support is machined from 6061 aluminum bar stock. I used 1/2" thick material 1.5" x 13.25". If you don't have access to a milling machine, you may want to use another material such as hardwood or a plastic. Corian would work well.
The Base is hardwood, in this case Mesquite (I'm in Texas).
Other materials needed would be a 12 Volt DC wall power supply, and maybe a connector to fit the power supply if you wanted to be able to unplug the lamp from the power supply.
Step 1: Component Side Acrylic Pane
This pane is cut using a laser engraver. The .AI file supplied should work well with any modern laser software. The red area is engraved and the black lines are the cut lines. The pane will be 11" wide when cut. The holes are 0.200" in diameter. Use 1/4 (6mm) clear acrylic. Although the artwork appears inverted, do not flip it over. When finished, the two engraved sides of the panes will face one another.
If desired, the artwork can be resized for any desired size. Make sure you note the scale factor, the solder side pane will have to be cut in the same manner
Step 2: Solder Side Acrylic Pane
Same process as the previous step. This panel will be viewed through the Component side pane.
Step 3: Special Parts for Connecting the Two Panes
When assembled, the two panes will be separated by about 1/8". This helps align the center of each pane with the LEDs, and provide better color separation.
The bottom spacer is simply a piece of black acrylic 1/8" (3mm) thick, 11" long, and 3/8" wide. Make this spacer then stack it with two pieces of scrap from cutting the panes. Measure this total thickness and write it down for use later. My stack came to 0.540" thick.
The two top spacers each consist of 4 parts. Two #6-32 x 1/4" button-head caps are used. A small donut, laser cut from 1/8" (3mm) clear acrylic. The donuts are 0.400" outside with a 0.200" hole.
There is also a standoff machined from 3/16" brass rod. It will depend on the thickness of your material, but for me the spacer needed to be 0.540" long. It is threaded thru with a 6-32 thread.
It may work well to use a tiny amount of acrylic cement to glue the bottom spacer to one of the panes. This will make it easier to deal with later. Remember, the two etched side of the panes face one another, so glue the spacer to the etched side of the pane. Don't glue it to both sides, you may want to disassemble the panes later for cleaning.
Side the top spacers in place. Push each brass standoff through the holes and secure with a screw from each side.
Step 4: The Aluminum Support Assembly
This is the tricky part. The assembly consists of two Aluminum bars 0.5" thick, 1.5" by 13.25". Of course, this can be different if you want. The critical part is the length and width of the notch cut in each piece. The depth of the notch cut in each piece would be 1/2 the stack width (measure earlier) minus about 0.005" for compression. If the notch is too wide, it will not hold the panes. If too narrow, there will be a visible gap between the two bars.
The underside of the bars is cutout to a depth of about 1/8" to provide clearance for the LED strips. Be generous, make the clearance wide so you don't crowd the strips too much. Also, notice the small channel cut in the end of the bars. This is to proved clearance for the power wire.
The two bars are held together by a pair of 6-32 x 1" screws. You will need to counter-bore for the heads at least 3/4". When drilling these holes I taped the two bars together as precisely as I could. They were mounted in the milling vise which held them in alignment. Then I drilled the counterbore holes with a #1 drill bit and followed with the #36 for the holes to be tapped 6-32.
A 45 degree chamfer cut in the top edge of the support is a nice detail.
Step 5: Assemble the Acrylic Panes and Support
Makes sure everything fits together well. If the panes are too loose, mill a bit off the inside of the bars to make them fit tighter. It too tight, mill a bit more of the slot cut earlier.
Check the alignment of the panels, they should be nearly perfect.
Step 6: Make the Wooden Base
Make the outside measurements of the base at least 1/2" wider than the support assembly. The base needs to be at least 1/2" thick. Layout the cut-lines for the pocket in the base. A good depth would be 0.325". This should cover the screw-holes in the support but still leave a reveal for the chamfer cut on the support. Cut the pocket with the milling machine or router. Square up the corners with a chisel.
Now is a good time to drill holes to secure the base to the support. I used six 2-56x1/4" flat head screws. Drill the holes for the screws, insert the support (with out the panes) into the base, then use the scerw-holes to mark the support for drilling. Drill and tap the holes in the support about 3/8" deep. Don't drill through the top of the support!
Drill a small hole (mine was 5/32") from the inside of the base to the outside. This is used for the power wire.
Cut a piece of red LED strip and a piece of blue LED strip. These can usually be cut at ever third LED. There is usually a mark where they can be cut. Mine had a tiny symbol of a pair of scissors where the cut could be made. I was able to use 15 LEDs in each strip.
Stick the strips to the inside of the base. Make sure they are centered on the pocket with the red LEDs to the front. Wire the two strip in parallel and bring the power wire through the hole in the base.
Step 7: The Finial Assembly
Attach the support to the pane assembly. Put the base on the support and secure with the small screws, you're done!
This light makes a great night-light, or a conversation piece for your desk. A tribute to the most popular micro-controller ever built.