View Full Version : Edge Lit Signs

01-09-2011, 06:03 AM
Not sure this is the correct place for this but...
Has anybody played with Edge Lit Signs using clear acrylic . I played a little tonight not sure im totally happy with the results (pics attached)

There has to be a secret to getting the light to better reflect off the letters.
Im just using 3 layers of 3mm acylic sheet with cut out letters between them here



01-09-2011, 08:36 AM
If I remember correctly, the letters were engraved into the plastic sheets. There is not anything to reflect the light if flat letters are placed as you have done.

What are you using for edge lighting?

01-09-2011, 11:53 AM
There has to be a secret to getting the light to better reflect off the letters.
Im just using 3 layers of 3mm acylic sheet with cut out letters between them here

You actually want the light to diffuse at the edges or surfaces that you want lit. If you are wanting the letters themselves to be filled in, then you would need to rough up the surface within the letters. To do that, etch, grind or sand at those places. Here is one example article that shows a few ways to do that:



01-09-2011, 02:33 PM
One other trick I learned from etching on my computer case was to hide the source of light from being directly viewed. The light around the edge is so bright, the text gets washed out. So along with scratching/etching the surface, you might frame the sign. I guess it depends on the look you are going for.

01-09-2011, 03:32 PM
I have a commercial sign that I bought years ago - as others have mentioned you need to etch into the surface - mine is just barely etched. It has some sort of color changing light inside that runs along the entire top edge only. It's very visible from the street and is probably 12x24 in size. It would make a great tune-to sign since you can turn it off and see through it if you wanted to.

01-10-2011, 06:17 AM
Trying to aim for getting mostly just the outline to glow brightly .. Going to try as suggested on Auschristmas forum cutting the letters at a 45 degree angle to get more diffusion on the edges . Maybe even 60 degree . Was going to try it tonight but had to dig a 12 ft hole for my kids swimming pool .. Thank god for excavators :)
Forgot to add this test one was lit by a 12v red led strip top and bottom ..

01-10-2011, 09:49 AM
A 1/4" Core Box (ball) bit will work great. The problem with a V-Groove (45 deg) bit is that you will need pretty thick Arcrylic/Plexi if you want the engraving to have any width at all.

01-10-2011, 11:41 AM
http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/edgelit2 has some good info on this

01-10-2011, 02:28 PM
this might have already been said , but with my experience with optics and car fog lights made out of acrylic tubing i understand how frustrating it can be to get the light to show where you want it....in order for light to visibly show you have to breaks in flawless path (ie etch or grove where you want the light to show....next under lie a reflective service underneath where you want the light to show so it reflects more light to the etched surface. the next step is to hide the light source. this time put the reflective side down using foil to reflect lost light back into the acrylic or optic material then use something dark black preferably to visibly hide the light source in your case around the edges...these techniques will increase the visibility of your letters and increase its brightness so its a win win situation.

PS in all my experience i have use aluminum foil and it works great for that extra boost of reflectiveness

01-10-2011, 07:15 PM
Laser engraving will accomplish this beautifully and rather quickly. I make them all the time for people. From "Rest Room" signs to "Our Beer is Better" signs.

01-11-2011, 05:57 AM
Engraviving is definitly the way to go I engaved a pic on 3mm scrap today with awesome effect , Now my son will have a edge lit dragon sign in his room :) Going to have to look at buying a laser engraver or see how big a pice my local trophy shop can engrave