Yesterday I received my 25 Blue 5mm diffused LED from Amazon in the school mail and I picked it up today. It doesn’t seem a lot but it glows brightly (at least I think it does). These LED lights will be used for the inside of my staff crystal. I drew up a diagram so that you could (hopefully) understand it better.
If you know nothing about LEDs but would like to know something, I’d suggest reading this article here from Instructables: LEDs for Beginners
Now I know my drawing makes the crystal seem transparent, but in reality it will be frosted so that that people can’t see the inside of the crystal. The material of the crystal is clear, 1/8″-thick plexiglass. So I tried many methods to make it more opaque but still allow light to shine through and make the crystal glow (keyword: GLOW). Some resources online suggested to buff up the plexiglass using sandpaper. I was using low grade sandpapers like 60, 100, and 150 grit which wasn’t ideal for large pieces. As I sanded, I could see the streaks made by the sandpaper on the plexiglass. Another method was to use frosted spray paint which I found at Lowe. This seemed to work well so no complaints here. I’ve only tried one layer of the spray paint and it dries evenly. Two layers I’m not sure what the result would be and I’m currently seeing what Clear Acrylic Sealer Spray that I got at Michaels would do on top of the frosting spray.
The reason why I was testing out Clear Acrylic Sealer Spray was because the frosted layer on the plexiglass scratched easily. Looking at the results, the frosted side is matte to the touch and the sealer side is more smooth to the touch. The Clear Acrylic Sealer does reduce the frosting a little bit, but still retains some of the opaqueness. The sealer helps the surface be more scratch resistant, but it still scratches if you press your nail in harder.
The crystal had to be blue, but I had clear plexiglass :T So after TONS of research, there are varying methods I found online. One was to use cellophane and glue it onto the plexiglass. I didn’t have regular glue at the time so I used my clear top coat nail polish from Revlon to adhere the cellophane to the plexiglass. It worked as intended, but the result leaves much to be desired. My next test will be to use RIT Dye (clothes brand dye) to dye the plexiglass using the instructions I found in many places with few differences, so I’ll paste it here as how I interpreted it.
“Acrylic”, either casted,(poured in extreme thicknesses), or extruded, (like the old playdough toy) is thermoformable–shaped by heating, giving any end-user a broad spectrum of uses, if you know how. Here goes- if the piece you want to color is large, 24″x24″ or larger, here is where you may have some problems, if the piece is small, here is the basic. Buy some Rit Dye in the color you want to use, several boxes, because you want to make a very concentrated mixture able to cover the piece to be colored, follow the directions except use half of the amount of water. You now need to heat the mixture to a temperature of 145 to 160 degress F, keeping it at that temp., don’t exceed 160 or it may start to flex if it’s sheeted materials, submerge the piece in the fluid, after 10 minutes remove and immediately submerge in a cold water bath, when cool, dry it off, if it’s not the desired color do it again and again until you get the color saturation you want. Larger pieces can be done the same way in an oven with a deep cookie sheet or casserole dish, this is difficult because of warping. I’ve done small decorative pieces and rod material this way and have been very successful.
If this falls through then I plan to try fake stained glass paint. What do you think? Should I try the paint first then the dye later or vice versa?
Back to my LEDs 🙂
So the picture below is not what I will be using, but it has the same general idea. (I’m using cardboard formed into a sphere instead)
I talked with some professors(?) or instructors at my school’s ECE workshop and they helped me figure out the circuitry. They were super nice and offered to help me tomorrow when I came back to use the solders. I bought two 3′ thin wires, a small switch, and two single battery packs all for just $2.50. I know for a fact that the switch would have cost me that much at RadioShack *shudders*
More to come soon!