Edge-Lit LED Signals | Make:

Edge-Lit LED Signals | Make:

Noisebridge is fully commited to supplying a 24/7 available house in San Francisco offered to all hackers and makers. They are losing their lease as of August 2018 and are presently fundraising to obtain a new place. 

Two factors that most any hackerspace can advantage from are superior signage detailing the house, and festive LED decorations.

In planning for Noisebridge’s ten-12 months anniversary in 2017 we made a decision to handle both equally in one particular project making suspended LED indicators that determine the operate areas of our house in San Francisco. This type of signage is not uncommon, but our considerable set up and our signifies of preserving costs down led to various requests for a tutorial. You can examine far more about it at the noisebridge web site, but here’s a fast overview of how we produced and put in our 14 suspended, edge-lit LED indicators.


The styles of the indicators went from sketchbook to AutoCAD to RDworks, which imports .dxf files. I used three or four line hues: one particular that was intended to lower by the acrylic, one particular for slicing midway by the acrylic, and one particular that described the bounds of the indicator but was not lower at all.

On a number of indicators I used a fourth colour to create a shallower hatch throughout the letters to aid them pick up far more gentle. For suspending the indicator, I lower holes to move wire by in the higher corners of the indicator. For textual content, I attempted to keep it all about 4″ inches tall or taller for straightforward studying throughout the space.


I used 3/8″-thick acrylic for the reason that it was abundant in the Tap Plastics scrap bin. The speed and electric power (S/P) options I arrived at for our cutter were 7/55 cut by, 30/50 for a ~three/16″ deep lower.

The 50 percent-deep lower forms the graphics of the indicator whilst the lower-by in the higher corners is used for mounting holes. To protect the indicators from all the handling, I saved most of the protecting movie on them right up until they have been mounted and tested.


I determined that ESP8266/Arduino boards with extravagant LEDs would be far too high-priced and finished up making use of an RGB dimmerto regulate the complete detail. This also meant making use of SMD 5050 strip lights, which are affordable. It was also less complicated for me to set up, as I am however new to electronics.

This budgetary decision turned out to be an enhancement for the project in general. These dials sit future to the upstairs entrance to Noisebridge and let any one to alter the colour of the indicators in the house. Right here is the sketch of the structure of the program.

For the RGB dimmer to operate all 14 indicators, I split the program so that the indicators on the west and east sides would operate off of different amplifiers, which I put in on the partitions form of centrally located to the indicators they would provide.

Even though the dimmer, LEDs, and amplifiers have been affordable, I opted to get trusted Signify Effectively LPV-one hundred-12 8.5A 12V one output switching electric power materials. I used 18AWG four-conductor stranded speaker wire in between the dimmer, amplifiers, and indicators, operate together the ceiling making use of bridle hooks. I went with affordable, straightforward to use terminal block connectors on the ceiling higher than in which each individual indicator would be, permitting me to detach and reattach each individual sign’s LEDs with only a screwdriver.

To suspend the indicators I used eye lag screws in the ceiling, with a unique driver bit produced for them, and hooked 3′ lengths of twelve gauge hanging wire onto them — sturdier than I necessary, but it permitted me to alter the signs’ positions by basically bending the wire.


I lower the LED strips to the duration of the indicators, then connected sufficient 22 gauge four-conductor stable wire to arrive at the ceiling when the indicator was put in. I had to be pretty thorough bending and moving these connections, as they are really fragile, even with heat-shrink tubing utilized.

To keep costs down, the LED strips have been connected to the tops of the indicators with 2″-wide black duct tape. I folded any additional tape around to shut off the gentle at the close and trimmed the excess with scissors.

A pretty tiny volume of gentle bleeds by, but not sufficient to require far more tape or one more remedy. Preferably each individual LED is centered going through the edge of the indicator, but a minor offset doesn’t look to make a huge variance.


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