> custom work
, laser cutter
> A Killer Light Up Sign for the Porkchop Sandwiches Crew
My brother Kevin (a.k.a. KevDawg) is one of two world class college radio DJs at UC San Diego. I built a light up sign to celebrate his radio show, Porkchop Sandwiches.
The sign is made from etched acrylic, mounted into a walnut base lined with SMD LEDs to illuminate the etching.
This is how it looks right after the laser etching, with the protective brown paper still on the clear parts. The wavy bit is just cellphone camera distortion.
I’m trying to figure out how big the walnut base should be.
I used green edge acrylic for a glass look. This is one of my favorite acrylics to work with. It’s cast, so etchings comes out crisp and opaque, while cutting leaves a glossy edge.
The sign is lit by SMD LEDs that I found on Amazon. They can be cut to any length and have leads soldered back on. I was worried about hot spots, but the LEDs were mounted close enough together to provide uniform light.
The finished piece
The acrylic is wedged into a routed slot using a thin spacer. By avoiding any glue, I can remove the acrylic piece if necessary to change the LED strip or repair broken wiring.
The etching is on the front of the sign, but I think flipping the image and etching the backside would have been even better.
I was really pleased with how clean the final sign looked. The walnut base / green edge acrylic combination really gave it a classy look and kept it from looking like a pancake house daily specials sign.
A thin metal toggle switch hides behind the acrylic. The silver color and thin profile are not too obtrusive on this simple form.
I drilled two holes that intersected to install the wiring and switch. I sealed the wire in with some epoxy, along with a quick disconnect near the sign. College can be a rough time on electronics, so I wanted to bulletproof the delicate parts as much as possible.
Small rubber feet elevate the sign for a floating effect.
Lighting it up
The blue LEDs border on the UV side of things, giving the sign an interesting purple-blue coloring.