Edge Lit Signs – SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Author

Brandi Dixon
Brandi Dixon
Informal educator
Brandi Dixon is the Education Program Manager for the Hardesty Center for Fab Lab Tulsa, a charitable organization located in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which began as an outreach program from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and… Read More

Summary

Students design a decorative plate, laser engrave and cut it, then assemble it into an edge lit sign with an LED.

What You'll Need

Materials:

Cast acrylic in clear and an opaque color of choice(6mm or .25 in thick)

Through hole 5mm LEDs (1 per student)

CR2032 batteries (1 per student)

Acrylic Weld-on (exercise caution with chemicals)

Sharp needle nose pliers (take caution working with young or inexperienced students)

Hardware:

Laser Cutter

Software:

Inkscape

The Instructions

Cut the stand pieces.

Cut the stand pieces for the sign ahead of time. Use the file name Edge lit sign stands.pdf (2 per Student)

Prepare the image.

Open Edge lit sign template.svg in Inkscape and direct students to customize with their own image and/or text. Note: Black and white clip art style photos are most successful in the laser. Avoid the use of photos with watermarks. Imagine with watermarks don’t engrave well and art under Copyright.

Open Edge lit sign template.svg in Inkscape and direct students to customize with their own image and/or text. 

Note: Black and white clip art style photos are most successful in the laser. Avoid the use of photos with watermarks. Imagine with watermarks don’t engrave well and art under Copyright.

After positioning the text and proofreading it, select the text and choose Path > Object to path. This function changes the text from a text object to artwork and prevents the font from being replaced if the file is opened on a computer without that specific font file.

Reverse the artwork.

Reversing the artwork allows us to engrave the reverse image on the back of the sign. When the sign is laser cut, the front will have a smooth, shiny, finish and we will be able to see the artwork through the clear acrylic. The icon looks like this:

Laser Cut the edge lit sign file made by the students.

Nine images at a time will fit on an 12”X18” laser, 12 at a time fit on a 12”X 24” laser. 

Assembly

Step 5: Assembly

Note: Check the lights with a battery before installing to insure they function.

1.Prepare the LED. Bend the LED leads as shown in the picture.

2. Position the LED.  Put the leads through the holes of the stand pieces. Make sure both pieces are facing the same direction.

3. Assemble the engraved and clear pieces. To do this, first line up all of the edge pieces with your engraved clear piece. Make sure the LED is sliding into the slot where it should fit. Make sure the edge pieces are lining up with the profile of your clear piece.

4. Make sure everything is really nicely lined

Up!

5. Bond the pieces. To do this, place your project on a protected surface, hold the project steadily with your hand or clamp it together gently and glue the pieces together with Acrylic Weld-On.

6. Attach the power source. After the glue is set put the battery in! The leads may need to be adjusted slightly to fit the battery nicely. A sharp needle nose pliers is handy for this.

Success!

7. Enjoy your finished project in a dark space!

Standards

  • (Fab-Safety.1): I can safely conduct myself in a Fab Lab and observe operations under instructor guidance.
  • (Fab-Electronics.1): I can follow instructions to build a simple electrical circuit using conductive material, basic components, and power.
  • (Fab-Fabrication.1): I can follow instructor guided steps that link a software to a machine to produce a simple physical artifact.
  • (Fab-Design.1): I can be responsible for various activities throughout a design process within a group under instructor guidance.

Lesson Feedback

One Response

  1. SCOPES-DF March 8, 2019
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