Glowing Nameplate




Christmas presents for the whole family. Unique wood base and personalized acrylicLED nameplates crafted using a Epilog laser etcher and cutter. Everyone loves them.
I made it at TechShop.


Step 1: Set Up Image and Run the Laser

I start by drawing the cut out line for the laser cutter in Illustrator. Then type a person's name inside cut out line and flip ("reflect") for printing on the backside of acrylic plate. Add clipart from Google. Now I'm ready for etching.
I etch using 1/4 inch Acrylic sheet from Tap Plastics.

Step 2: Etching Is Clean. Check for Defects.

Etching is finished in minutes. Checking for burnt plastic or melted plastic. Speed and power settings take practice. Lower power and higher speeds stopped the undesired burn marks. Repeating the etching 2 or 3 times makes the cut deeper and that can be helpful to see the etching when the light is off.

Step 3: Create Wooden LightBox With LED

My Dad helps me pick the premium 1 1/2 square inch Pine wood posts. The cutting is done using a standard drill bit, a dovetail router bit and a Forstner bit. I've attached the drawing for the wooden light box.

I use RGB 5050 LED strip non weather proof. Solder a 9 Volt battery connector (Radio Shack) to one of the colors (R, G or B) to the anode and the positive terminal to 12 V positive tab. Push the LED strip through the through hole in the bottom and lay the LED strip in slot in wooden block.
Connect a 9V battery and lights are on.
Battery fits snug into battery hole compartment. But just in case it slides out;Wrap a rubber band around battery for a tighter fit.

Step 4: Happy Christmas Faces From the Glowing Nameplates

Hand out 9V connected lightboxes to everyone.
Give them a second to guess what they just got. Some think they got a lightsaber of some sort. Others thought it was a puzzle.
Now pass out the personalized acrylic nameplates.
Smiles all around.

Note: The nameplates seem to stay lit for more than a week on the one battery. Most people disconnect them after the party though.



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    6 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks!! Its fun to add an image to someone's name. My father-in-law says his has been running non stop since Christmas day.
    See you in TechShop soon.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I woke up thinking about this.... I bet you could get a plug in transformer cheep on ebay... like this!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That'd cool. Less battery waste too.
    I do wonder if a solar cell could recharge it. Then add on off/on switch to save battery charge.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Since you are a member of TechShop, try making the bases next time on the ShopBot. You can create the slot for the acrylic, cavity for the lights and battery, and even the outside shape, all in one shot!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I must admit the wooden bases were "hand" done. That effort took way more time than necessary. Thanks. I've taken the ShopBot class. Next iteration will definitely use the ShopBot.