Discussion in 'Modding' started by Smilodon, 15 Nov 2007.
First off, I'll just add to the resounding chorus of approval and say kudos for a job well done!
I was brought to this thread through a Google search for edge-lit engraved plexi displays. Aside from a few small desktop projects on Instructables.com, I wasn't able to find anything as ambitious as this. There's just not a lot of detailed info out there!
Anyway, I'm entering into a project where I'm making 8 different light box displays, employing the same style of edge-lighting that you've used. I'm interested in knowing some of the more technical aspects of your project, pertaining to wiring and LEDs:
- Was there a practical reason for making separate led light-bars with the notches cut out? What about notching directly into your plexi?
- How far do you typically space the leds out? Is it necessary to put them throughout the perimeter of the plexiglass, or would one edge suffice for a smaller engraving?
- Lastly, I've never used LEDs before and I'm only a novice at wiring. Any tips or links to other resources are greatly appreciated!
One more question: Any new, similar projects in the works?
The primary reason was to make both wiring and mounting easier. The break between the sheets of glass also act as a diffuser, so it helps spread the light more evenly. notching into the engraved piece of plexi isn't a problem at all. There is just a larger risk of screwing something up On smaller projects this isn't really a problem at all, and in most cases you could get away with just hot-gluing the LEDs in place. In this case I also had to support the entire weight of the glass sheet on the strip of LEDs, so some support was needed.
The spacing entirely depend on the LEDs properties and the shape of the glass. If the glass is tall and narrow, LEDs with a narrow beam is best. LEDs with narrow beams must be spaced tighter together. If the pattern in the glass come close to the light source it's preferable to get powerful LEDs with a wide beam to prevent uneven lighting.
On smaller projects (up to about 50cm) you really want as wide light beam as possible, but again, it depends a bit on the LEDs. To widen the beam of a LED just file the top of the lens to diffuse the light. Trial and error is the way to go here
Here is a good site to calculate resistors and get a wiring diagram: http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz
Just remember to take account for heat when (if) you are going to mount it in a confined space. Resistors give off a bit of heat. Normally this isn't a problem, but if you are using many of them tight together you might want to spread out the heat sources a bit.
You also want to keep the amount of wires to a minimum because space might be a problem. In this case I have wired series of 3 LEDS with the resistor between them. Each series is wired back to back to each other. You can see the method in picture 11 from the top (in the first post). The ? and - signs are to keep track of where the wires are soldered. using this method you get away with running only 2 wires along the strip of LEDs. (plus the actual legs of the LEDs of course).
Not at the moment. I simply don't have time to do it. But I might end up making something in the future. Who knows?
I hope this helps.
Thanks for the thorough response - it definitely helps get me on my way! I just found out about an electronics store in town that sells all manner of leds and wiring .. .should help. As for the light diffusion - it makes total sense to have a separate bar (and I rationalized this after thinking about it for a while!).
I'll post pictures of my project as it comes together.
Remember that you can also put in diffusers between the light bar and the glass if you want ever more diffusion. food wrapping paper works pretty good for this
Pictures sounds nice. Looking forward to seeing your results
Nice to see others trying out the multicolored engravings too. Did my first tests back in 2002 if someone remembers. Haven't even tried to engrave something as massive as a door but you pulled it off nicely. Lately I've tried to do the opposite and moved to very small and detailed work. Some samples of these from Metku's new Modding gallery site:
It is always nice to find people who like to engrave their own pieces and not to use machine or laser shops to do the job for them. Keep up the good work and share the photos on allthemods.com too.
Your work was one of my sources of inspiration when i first thought of making this. It's a very long time since I first thought of making a multicolor picture. I never got on with it back then, though.
My original plan was also to get this CNC engraved, but it became way to difficult. The biggest CNC I could find would have to do this in 8 runs. It also was a stationary gantry CNC. In the end I figured out that is was easier to just do it by hand and take my time with it.
I just love the level of detail on your work. Looks great!
this post may be out of line, but this thread is about to pass a major milestone...
you are almost at a quarter of a milion pageviews!
Kudos for the great work (you inspired me to do some engraving of my own later), and congrats on becoming a bit-tech classic
It have actually passed a quarter of a million now!
Thanks. Remember to post pictures of your results!
A fantastic peace of work
I may have to have a dabble at this for myself
I just arrived from hackedgadgets.com. I have always known that led+etched glass = color at specified locations, but I never realized the possibilities.
On a side note, have you experimented with other colors, such as Red and Blue? In addition, if you used red on the left side and blue on the right side of the same pane, would we see a transitional color (go from red to purple to blue?)
There is no limitations to color combinations, really. It's just a matter of taste. The LEDs needs to be somewhat balanced in brightness, though. Blue, white and red LEDs are normally the brightest. Bright green LEDs tend to be a bit expensive and harder to find.
As for using two colors on the same sheet. I did this on my first door. (This is the second one) That one had white at the top, and blue at the bottom. The result isn't as good as it sounds like. The glass conducts light a bit too good, so the end result will give a pretty even color. (I used white and blue which gave a really cool white color. Using blue and red (higher contrast) will probably give a clearer effect) However, the parts will change color when viewed from different angles. Another cool effect is that each etched line will have one color on top and another at the bottom. you have to get really close to see it, though. But if thick glass and very wide lines were used, this could be an interesting effect.
Hah! finaly i've read it! Good job i must say
Dude, your on Make: Blog
This must be some kind of record for views...
You've been featured by Gizmodo. Wow. Kudos dude, kudos.
Was just about to say that dshankar but you beat me to it.
lol at the automated truncation of link text.
first of all to the thread author
you did some amazing work.i really appreciate for the effort.and for sharing ur design with us.
i was searching for some good project on LED and i ended up here.now instead of door i want to make a small decorating table lamps based on this idea.i have red the page 1 in detail.but couldn't understand what u did to control the scattering of light from one layer to other.
so i made a rough sketch in paint brush(sorry for bad pic).pls have a look
which on of these u used to make it work.and which is better and efficient?
and in the door,u made a slot to fix the led strip made of plexi.what is the width of that strip.is it projected out of the slot of sits inside to completely hide the LED's.
i'll be waiting for ur reply.
thanks once again for sharing ur work.
Light does jump to other layer if they both have imperfections. Just keep the engravings apart and it should be ok. Usually this is easy as the design is normally visible from one side only. Door in this thread wasn't "a normal" case...
You just can't keep the lights mixing completely as when the engraving on the top layer passes in front of the engraving on the back, it will receive some tint from it. That isn't usually a problem as the front color will still be the dominant one.
The whole article from 2002.
The left one is the most efficient, since you will get both "sides" of the engraving lit. Both images can be lit from the same side(s). The light don't have to shine 90degrees on each other.
The scattering of light isn't as much of a problem as long as you keep the glass clean and scratch free (And i mean VERY clean). Just make sure that there is some space between the sheets. A strip of electrical tape around the edge is enough. If the sheets tough each other you will get scattering of light, and some strange light reflection/rainbow effect.
The LED strips are made from the same material as the engraved glass, so they are 3mm wide. The part you see in the pictures are the side of the strips. The light you see there is just leaking light. The part that actually light up the engraving comes from the top of the strips. Hmm.. if that makes sense. The point is that it's the front of the LEDs that light up the glass, and not the side. (As seen on the picture Japala posted) The LED strips are hidden about 7-10cm into the frame of the door. This is to prevent leakage of light (as you can see on the smaller pictures).
the difference between my and Japalas method is that I have light on both sides of the glass. Because of this I can't seal of the edge of the glass to prevent leakage. Instead I made LED strips that are the same thickness as the glass. between the strips there is a layer of black electrical tape to prevent leakage the first cm or so. The spacing between the glass prevents further leakage.
Hope that makes sense...
Separate names with a comma.