This is a simple project that looks great.
- Pallet (or some other source of lumber)
- Sheet of acrylic
- LED strips
- 4 bolts
- 4 cap nuts
- 8 washers
Step 1: Prepare the Wood
Working with pallets is tough because the wood usually isn't in good shape. This project is an ideal use for pallet wood because you can rip the pallet apart quickly and you don't have to pull any nails.
Grab a circular saw and cut the deck boards along the stringers.
Then plane the wood to reveal the best lumber.
Step 2: Cut Pieces Down to Size
Joint one side of all your pieces. A simple table saw jointer jig will work best. If you don't have one yet, it's worth the time and effort to make a jig. I've created a small jig and a large jig and I use them several times a month.
Now that you have one straight edge, use it with your table saw fence to rip the acrylic and wood to the correct height.
Finally, use a table saw sled to cut all three pieces to the same length. You can easily get all three pieces to the same length by clamping a stop block onto the edge of the sled.
Step 3: Carve the Name and the Slot for the LED Strip
I used a CNC machine to carve my son's name, but a scroll saw would work just a well.
After you have the name done, carve a line in the acrylic for the LED strip. It has to go all the way through the acrylic and be just a little bit thicker than the LEDs. The line should be near the bottom of the acrylic so it will be hidden after you've bolted the three pieces together.
Step 4: Assemble the Pieces
Clamp the three pieces together and drill four holes near the corners for the bolts.
Drill a small hole in the back panel for the power cord.
Insert the bolts through the back plate and the acrylic.
The clamp on the LED strip will be too big to fit in the center of the assembled piece, so cut it off. Insert the power cable through the back hole and soldered the power cord directly to the LED strip.
Push the LED strip into the line you cut in the acrylic, and put some hot glue on the ends to help hold it in place.
Finally, slide the front plate on and attach the cap bolts.