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Modding Modding my apartment. (Making a new door)

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Smilodon, 15 Nov 2007.

  1. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    Hello all.

    A while ago I made a door with a glowing image to go between my hall and living room. It worked great for a while, but it had a few flaws.

    First of all it got a bit bent when the wood dried. (I thought the glued wood sandwich I used would prevent this... I was wrong.. :sigh:)
    It also had just one sheet of plexiglass. Problem with this is that when the glass gets dirty the dirt will glow when it comes in contact with the glass. And so does fingerprints (Everybody just HAVE TO put their fingers on the glass...)

    So, to encounter all these problems I decided to make a New door.

    This time I went for chip wood board to get it straight and stable. I also used a 4 layer glass. Two outer layers of 3mm float glass and two inner layers of 3mm plexi glass where the image were engraved. I had to use plexiglass as it conducts light way better than normal glass.

    OK, let's get on with some pictures!:

    [​IMG]
    Here are the four sheets of glass. (quite bit of organizing to get them home, but that's another story.) They are green because of the protective plastic, BTW.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the first piece of chip wood board cut to shape. Nothing interesting, really. Just a whole lot of cutting. I also had to use a router to shave 2mm of all the pieces. The sheets i got were 22mm thick, and the door is 40mm. This was a hell lot of work. I also had to mill out grooves for the glass to fit into. I have no pictures of this process, unfortunately. It's not that interesting anyway.

    [​IMG]
    All the pieces cut to shape. The two pieces in the middle are also milled. You can also see that the chip wood boards use larger chips in the core. More on this later...

    [​IMG]
    This is the bottom of the door. Because of the weight of the door i was worried that normal wooden screws would just be ripped out. To be sure i milled out small grooves in between the two layers of wood boards. In there I glued three M5 nuts and washers. (A4 stainless. Just to be sure :) ) Below there you can see some grooves for two 6mm nuts and two threaded rods. These are the support for the glass. The glass is fed trough the bottom of the door. (the top would have been easier, but couldn't be done because of the structural strength of the frame.) Under the glass these is a piece of wood, and the two threaded rods. there is also a block of wood between the treaded rods to stiffen everything up, and to distribute the weight.

    [​IMG]
    Detail shot of the nuts and washers for the hinge. The hinge and screws are there to ensure that the nuts stay in the right place when gluing.

    [​IMG]
    Everything glued up. and some filler added.

    [​IMG]
    Detail shot of the groove for the glass. I had to put some filler in there to make it smooth since the core of the wood board is less dense. I also used a router to maker a nice finish to the edges around the glass. I hoped the paint would fill enough to make it smooth.... Well, it didn't. I had to use filler on this as well. (no pictures of that either...)

    [​IMG]
    LEDs! 120 of them, to be exact. 60 blue and 60 white. These will light the glass.

    [​IMG]
    LED holders. They are made from 1x62cm strips of 3mm plexi. I cut out one hole for each led and one hole for each resistor (1 resistor per 3 LEDs.) I Also had to make a groove to fit the cable. This will be at the top and bottom of the glass, the weight of one sheet of plexi will rest on this.

    [​IMG]
    Glowy!

    [​IMG]
    Close-up-art-like-shot of the LED strips. the white ones look a bit blue. (Forgot to adjust the white balance on my camera... :duh: )

    [​IMG]
    Here is the first sheet engraved. (Blue)

    [​IMG]
    ...And the second sheet (White)

    [​IMG]
    Both sheets together. the sheets are engraved on the opposite sides of each other. In a perfect world i could have engraved the same side of each sheet. however, if i did that the images would look great if they were looked at from straight in front. But if you look at them slightly from the side the images wouldn't match. (the images would be 3mm apart from each other.)

    To encounter this the engraved sides are facing each other. The problem is that one image will look a little bit clearer from one side. This turned out to be way less of a problem than i first thought. :)

    [​IMG]
    here is a pretty bad picture of the initial testing of the lights. All the sheets of glass are now stacked on top of each other. The black edge you see is electrical tape which act as a spacer/gasket.

    The "table" is another door, BTW. (not the original door I'm replacing)

    [​IMG]
    here you can see how the light distributes throughout the glass. the outer glass doesn't conduct any light at all, while the plexiglass conduct the two separate colors. there were less leakage of light than i thought it would be. :) (The blue is much "cleaner" in reality. my camera just can't pick up the clear blue light of LEDs.)

    [​IMG]
    Here is the sandwich all taped up. (the white tape will ensure a snug fit into the wooden part of the door)

    Unfortunately I didn't get the glass as clean as i wanted it to be. If the glass is viewed from an angle some dirt is visible. It's not critical, though.

    It turned out to be a bit too snug. I had to put a whole lot of pressure on the glass to get it in. I eventually got it in. if i ever get it out remains to be seen. Hopefully i never have to take it out.

    [​IMG]
    To photograph light a good tripod is needed. I didn't have a good tripod, just a tiny one. So i made my own! It's made from a chair, an adjustable mop shaft and some masking tape. it actually worked great! (well... It's not a tripod. it's more of a petapod)

    [​IMG]
    Detail shot of the picture.

    [​IMG]
    And another one. Notice how the blue and white slightly overlap. (the blue looks very uneven. It's a bit better in real life. This is because the white is viewed from the "correct side" while the blue is actually viewed from the "wrong side".)

    [​IMG]
    Detail shot of the sword handle.

    [​IMG]
    And here is the final image in darkness. It looks pretty unclear. I had to put sun film on the camera lens to get a half decent shot. I tried several times to get a good one, but my camera doesn't allow me to control it enough manually to get a perfect setting.

    [​IMG]
    And finally, the door in a illuminated room. (the lights in the hall is off. the glass is completely transparent, but the image doesn't look good at all on photos if the light is on. This is not a problem in real life, though)

    It took way more time than I intended it to take. I only had an opportunity to work on it on the weekends. I came up with the idea of making a new door sometime in the summer. But couldn't get started because i had lots of other things to do.

    So, that's it. I hope you like it :)
     
    Last edited: 2 May 2010
    Matticus likes this.
  2. Ryu_ookami

    Ryu_ookami I write therefore I suffer.

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    thats cool I like that would also look good if you used the same process to make a table with a lit chess board or backgammon board instead of the dragon and sword actually etching the board on to the table :)
     
  3. Jaguar_Infinity

    Jaguar_Infinity Just some guy

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    Very nice. I like that. good job :)

    Stuart
     
  4. johnnyboy700

    johnnyboy700 Active Member

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    Wow, what fantastic job you've done there, I'm really impressed with the artwork and as for the lighting!

    The only thing I would say is that if you're going to put this much effort into the artwork and electronics then you should have used a hardwood for the door and not chipboard. The better quality wood gives you a stable base which doesn't get affected by temperature and humidity in the same way that it does with chipboard. Plus, as the name suggests, chipboard is made from little bits of wood so when you cut it you don't get a perfectly smooth edge as the chips break off in a random fashion. Hardwood will give a very smooth finish which can be stained or varnished to give a good finish.

    However, don't let me detract from the fantastic job you've done here, its just wonderful.
     
  5. Rocket733

    Rocket733 Austerity - It's the only way

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    That's awesome! I'm really impressed with the concept (now I want that for my house). How did you hook up the electrical wiring?
     
  6. Morphine-Kitty

    Morphine-Kitty Dead account.

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    Looks very cool. I should try something like that sometime.

    Great work. :thumb:
     
  7. Major

    Major Guest

    That is amazing, good work!
     
  8. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    Thanks guys :)

    I was thinking about that once (not a chessboard, though). If i knew how to play chess that would be really cool :)

    The biggest problem with hardwood is the price. I Don't have any stable income (i'm studying at the moment). I figured that the best alternative were chip wood. It's pretty stable when it's as thick as it is now. Using some nice hardwood would be a shame anyway, as it had to be painted white. (All the other doors in my apartment are white.)


    You can see the cable at the bottom left corner in the last picture. I used normal lamp wire to the door frame. From there I ran two thinner, separate wires to the actual door. These wires were twisted to prevent them from being pinched or worn out when the door opens and closes. I also added a connector inside the door just in case i have to remove the door for some reason. From that plug there is separate loops for each color. (I did this in case there were some need to adjust the brightness of the colors in relating to each other.) The LEDs are connected in groups of 3 with a resistor in series.

    I have a 5amp 12V powersupply to run all the LEDs i have in my living room. I had one powersupply for each LED light i have. This became too much of a hassle. (I have LEDs in all my cupboards and some decorative lights.)
     
  9. China-SCF

    China-SCF New Member

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    :thumb:

    Very, very beautiful!
    I also want to do a similar door
    :thumb:
     
  10. jamie_2k7

    jamie_2k7 New Member

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    love it :) cool drawing (Y) how long did that take you to do ? and how hard is it ? i am wanting to do something similar but alot smaller to stick on my wall or something :)
     
  11. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    Very cool, any chance of some pictures of those other things you mentioned had LED's in them? I'm curious now.

    Anyway, great work with this, its something I'd really like to try at some point.
     
  12. Pegasus

    Pegasus New Member

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    Absolutely LOVE IT! :clap: :clap: :clap:

    I find it very inspiring when people also share modding of other things than PC cases.

    How about those other things you have LEDs in? Please share :thumb:
     
  13. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    From the idea popped into my mind to the finished thing i thing about 6-7 months, however the work done was in weekends only. I believe it took about 4-5 solid weekends of work. A lot of time got wasted in cleaning up, though. I don't have a proper room to work in, so i had to do it in my living room/hall, so i had to clean up each Sunday. (Didn't want to live in something that looks like a wood shop the rest of the week)

    "How hard" is a bit difficult to explain. Depends on money, skills and tools available. The hard part was to cut and mill out all the pieces of wood. It have to be precise, and it's pretty messy when you do it with a router. Since the the glass have to slide in, the precision in the groove for the glass have to be pretty exact. With a proper mill this is easy. The engraving part can be hard as well, but most of all it's time consuming. If you want to make one yourself I would recommend practicing on scrap pieces first. I have some pictures (A4 size) that is made in the same way. Use as thin glass as you can. (thickness will depend on LEDs used. 3mm LEDs for 3mm glass.) Thicker glass will "leak" more light than thing glass. I find 3mm to be the most practical to use. You should also make some kind of diffuser/holder for the lights. (see picture 9, 10 and 11) This makes the light smoother, mounting easier, and reduces the chance of messing up the picture you make. Also remember that when the glass is mounted you should put it in a frame with glass, and paper/plastic background. and the glass needs to be CLEAN. Any fingerprints, dust and dents will glow if it get in contact with the glass.

    Also remember that the light should be balanced to the lighting in the room. Make it too weak, and the picture won't show well. make it too bright, and they get uncomfortable to look at. (I this on the small pictures i have. I had to replace some faulty LED's (ALWAYS use resistors!) and the new ones were way brighter than the old ones. I have to put in some extra resistors in there to dim it...) Also, the more light you have, the more the dust and mistakes will show. I have figured out that engraving with the protective film on the glass is a good idea for simple designs. If the design is complicated you should take of the protective film. Just be careful with the dust that comes from the engraving. Blow it away or wash it of with lots of running water. Don't brush it of with your hand! This will cause very fine scratches.

    To get the design onto the glass you have three options:

    1: Freehand drawing (if you know how to do this)
    2: print out and trace it with a felt pen.
    3: Just put the image under the glass and engrave. If you do this, you must be careful that you always look from directly above the part you are engraving. If you don't, the lines won't line up. (if you look at the image from an angle trough the glass the light will bend in the glass and "move" the image a bit. This gets worse with thicker glass)

    I find the 2nd option to be best on complicated designs, and the 3rd to be best on large, simple designs (like on my door)

    I'll see if i can take tome pictures this weekend :)


    edit: How did this thread get 7400 views?? :O
     
    Last edited: 24 Nov 2007
  14. Rocket733

    Rocket733 Austerity - It's the only way

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    Because it's original and awesome! :thumb:
     
  15. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    hehe. What i meant was that it have been here for 9 days. And the count have doubled the last 9 hours. (14+K now).

    But I take that as a good compliment, so thanks for your interest, people! :D :clap:
     
  16. knuck

    knuck Hate your face

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    THAT is freaking cool !!

    ... speechless really. I want to do that someday :D
     
  17. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    awesome work!!
     
  18. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty damn cool :D

    Nice solution to the parallax problem as well :thumb:
     
  19. Asulc

    Asulc Member

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    You should make me a door now!
     
  20. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    Thanks :)

    Does anyone know any good image hosting sites (free)? I used photobucket, but ran out of bandwidth (Max 25GB per month). I'm now using hotlinkfiles.com, but I'm getting close to the limit there as well (Max 8GB per month). I had no idea this thread would get such massive traffic...!

    Well, I think that's the only way of doing it. An alternative is thinner glass, but that could be pretty difficult to handle and get light into.

    Everything has it's price :p
     

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