Laser Cut Acrylic LED Display

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Introduction: Laser Cut Acrylic LED Display

About: I'm a social-worker, working with 12 - 23 year-olds. I used to be a printer. In 2018 I opened a small makerspace (www.imdib.nl) in my house, where I have lasercutters, 3d-printers, Arduino's, Mindstorms and ...

For the first laser cutter workshop in our 'IMDIB' makerspace, I designed this easy, cheap to make display.

The base of the display is standard and could be pre-cut before the workshop starts. The acrylic display part should be designed and laser-cut by the kids during the workshop.

Step 1: You Will Need

Materials:

  • 4mm MDF wood (or plywood)
  • 3mm acrylic
  • 2032 button cel
  • 5 mm LED

Tools:

  • Lasercutter
  • Computers with Inkscape installed

Step 2: Laser-cut the Base

Be sure that your wood is actually 4 mm. (my first wasn't)

The added file is a 'Inkscape' file. You can download this application for free for mac, windows or linux.

In the file you can change the 'IMDIB' logo for your own text, or just remove it all together.

Step 3: Build the Base

Notice the numbered tabs on the slides. The slots in the bottom plate are also numbered correspondingly.

  • Put the plate with the long slots on top of the bottom plate.
  • Stack the slides from 1 to 7.
  • Put the stack of slides in the bottom plates.

Step 4: Add the Battery

  • Remove slide 4 (with the higher tabs) from the stack.
  • Put a 2032 battery in the hole.
  • Put the slide back in the stack.
  • Place the plate with the bigger hole on top of the stack.
  • Finish the base by adding the plate with the slot.

It should be a sturdy base, just being press fitted, but you could add some glue if you want to. If you do, make sure that you still can remove the middle slide to replace the battery.

Step 5: The Display

The whole idea of the workshop is that everybody designs their own display in Inkscape. For this reason, one of the files added, is a file of just the part of the display that goes into the base. (just for completeness, I also added the file that I used to make the display on the pictures)

  • Finnish the design of the display by adding both the outer cut-mark and the engraving design.
  • Mirror your design (we want the engraving on the back of the display)
  • Laser-cut the display.
  • Push the 5 mm LED in the hole in the display.
  • Curl the leads outwards as shown on the picture.
  • Push the display in the base.

The LED should turn on. If it doesn't, try to turn the display around or push the leads a little closer to each other.

Step 6: The Finished Display

You can turn the display off by puling the display out of the base a little and rest it slightly sideways on the notch.

Turn it back on by simply pushing the display back in the base.

Step 7: Workshops

I give workshops where people make this display, and this is some of the things they've made.

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