Rick Osgood creates all kinds of cool things, most recently a professional grade vacuum former from scratch. So when he was looking for some help creating a project for Independence Day, I jumped right in.
The idea was to create an edge lit Declaration of Independence from acrylic. I’ve done a lot of work recently with similar projects. There were two options for making the acrylic part. Engraving this on my CNC would allow the acrylic part to be up to 28″ x 16″. But the writing on the Declaration of Independence is extremely detailed. I’ve had problems with small engraving on the CNC, and it would take forever to do that much engraving. My laser is limited to 14″ x 8.5″ which would make the smaller writing nearly impossible to read. But it handles tiny engraving with ease, and can quickly zip through a part like this in about an hour, so that is the approach we took.
I handled the acrylic part, cutting out a piece laser engraving it, and finishing the edges. The lit edge works best with a high polish the let in the light. Putting a rough finish on the other 3 edges causes them to illuminate nicely. The end part turned out great, and shows how well a cheap Chinese laser can actually do when dialed in properly. I’ll share more of my experiences with the laser engraver/cutter in a different post.
Rick put together a mini-Arduino and RGB LED strip, in a wooden base. Then he did a slick trick of vacuum forming plastic over the base to give it a professional, finished appearance.
Check out Rick’s video showing the entire project.