Thursday, January 19, 2017

Planet Express Lighted Display Project

I wanted to get this post out before another day goes by so that I can keep you up to date as to what I have been working on in the shop lately.  First off the Goldwing cooler project is still progressing nicely as the painting of the cooler is coming along slowly.  I will post the final build on that project just as soon as I am happy with the end result.  But for today I want to share with you another new project that I have been thinking about for some time and have managed to put some hours into this past week.

  I call this the Planet Express lighted display project. I am a big fan of the show Futurama and of course the spaceship from the show.  I came across this picture online of a poster that has been around for some time of that spaceship.  I like the poster but I wanted to make something similar but also a bit different.  So I thought why not do a line drawing of the poster and then backlight it using LED strips in a frame.
Here is what the line drawing looks like after I reworked the design using my computer and a lot of effort to get the cross hatching the way I wanted it.  I printed off a 18 x 24 inch copy of the drawing on my plotter several times to get all the detail that I wanted in the drawing correctly done.  This was quite a task in itself as it took a little over an hour just to print one copy of the drawing and I went through four prints before I finally got it all worked out.  This does not even include the hours that I spent just creating the line drawing itself.

I plan on reprinting the drawing hopefully for the last time on to Mylar film using my plotter once again and a drafting ink pen. Once this is complete I will taking the print and sandwiching it between two pieces of Plexiglass and mount it into a framework that will also hold a LED light strip.  This light strip which will wrap around the inner perimeter of the light frame. It also will be behind the plexi/print sandwich assembly and the light frame that will have a backing board at the rear of the frame.  The Mylar is just translucent enough to allow light to pass through the material to give the display a nice even look.   I could have used a paper print but the paper itself when lit from the rear shows all the paper fiber.  Not the look I want in the project.  
  One of the pluses already with the print for the project being 18 x 24 inches was that the Plexi glass that I picked up today was exactly the same size so it simplified part of the construction.
  I have the led lights on order and I will have to pick up the wood for the light frame to get the construction started in the next couple of days.  I also will have to wait for the drafting pens to show up so I can make the final print of the drawing.

Here's a short little video that I put together of the line drawing on my plotter.  Kind of fun to watch if you've never seen a plotter running before.  I could not show all the detail as again it takes over an hour to do the entire drawing with all the cross hatching that is in it.

Here's a good computer image of what I have in mind for this project.  The green lighting or any other lighting for that matter would be generated by the mulit-colored LED lights within the display.  This will be controlled by a small remote so that I could pick and choose whatever color strikes my fancy for the day. 

So that's the latest update for this week.  I'll post more once I get this project started in earnest in the shop.  Have a good one.

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