The chances are you’ve seen the myriad cheap copyright-infringing edge-lit acrylic displays from Chinese suppliers everywhere on the internet, and indeed, etching acrylic with a modest CNC laser cutter has become easily viable to a lot of us in more recent years. However, if you want to kick things up a notch, [Michael Vieau] shows us how to build a plaque from scratch using not acrylic, but rather etched glass to make the finished product look that much more professional.
There are a few different steps to this build and each one is beautifully detailed for anyone who wants to follow along. First, the electronics driving the WS2812 lights are designed from scratch based on an ATtiny microcontroller on a PCB designed in Fritzing, and the sources necessary for replicating those at home are all available on [Michael’s] GitHub. He even notes how he custom-built a pogo-pin header at the end of the USBASP programmer to be able to easily use the same ICSP pinout in future projects.
But since a lot of you are likely all too familiar with the ins and outs of your basic Arduino projects, you’ll be more interested in the next steps, detailing how he milled the solid wood base and etched the glass that fits onto it. The process is actually surprisingly simple, all you need is to mask out the design you want through the use of a vinyl cutter and then pouring some etching solution over it. [Michael] recommends double-etching the design for a crisper look, and putting everything together is just as simple with his fastener of choice: hot glue.
Much as there was an age when Nixie displays adorned every piece of equipment, it seems like ease of manufacture is veering us towards an age of edge-lit displays. From word clocks to pendants and badges, we’re delighted to see this style of decoration emerge, including in replacing Nixies themselves!
Looking for something unique to spice up his music room [Est] decided he wanted to try making a light that responds to the music — kind of like a VU meter, but a little different. He calls it the Light Effect Tower.
The main structure of the tower was cut out of 6mm acrylic using [Est’s] homemade CNC router. He used a V router bit to do the engraving, which when combined with light, produces a high contrast dynamic with the plastic.
He designed the circuit to fit into the triangular base, which uses a PIC micro controller to sample a microphone to produce the lighting effect. The cool thing is, he’s designed it to calculate the max level of noise, to scale the sample accordingly — that way if you’re playing loud music or quiet music, it’ll still work without any adjustments to the microphone gain.
Oh yeah, did we mention this thing is big? It’s actually 1.5 meters tall! Check out the different modes he programmed in — it’s pretty bumping.
Continue reading “CNCs And Acrylic And LEDs Oh My!”
As a retired industrial designer, [Dave] has a lot of time to do what we’d all like to do: sit around in a workshop and make stuff. His latest project, an acrylic light display of an Indian motorcycle looks fantastic and betrays his designer heritage.
The base of the light display is made up of a laminate of a few 1/4″ pieces of Poplar carved on [Dave]’s CNC machine. These pieces were glued together with a slot routed into the top for the arcylic panel. Instead of going with a few LEDs for the light source, [Dave] used a small cold cathode fluorescent lamp with the requisite inverter tucked away inside the base. This is the same setup he used in an earlier project, and judging from that the Indian motorcycle display looks great on the inside.
After giving the wooden base a few coats of lacquer, [Dave] milled a piece of acrylic with an Indian motorcycle motif he created himself. It’s a great piece of work, sure to brighten up his very awesome workshop.
Most holiday light displays we see this time of year are stationary, or at least confined to somebody’s home. [Marco Guardigli] wanted to take his lights on the go, and thought that a light up winter hat would be perfect for showing off his holiday spirit.
In the winter he sports a sturdy wool felt hat, which was ideal for mounting LEDs. He picked up a basic LilyPad Arduino that uses a small LiPo battery as its power source, mounting it inside the hat with a bit of glue. He wired up a series of SMD LEDs around the perimeter of the hat which blend in quite well in the felt, leaving them nearly invisible to the naked eye when powered off. When he flips the LilyPad on however, there’s no missing the bright blue LEDs nor the music emanating from the tiny speaker he also mounted in the hat.
We think that [Marco’s] display is great, and if we were to build one, we would likely include a copious amount of red and green LEDs in ours. Do any of you take your Christmas light display on the go? We’d love to see them, so be sure to let us know in the comments.
Stick around to see a short video of [Marco’s] hat in action.
Continue reading “Head-mounted Light Display Takes Holiday Cheer On The Go”