ProofGrade Projects and Pre-Release Glowforge :glowforge: mini acrylic LED sign
Posted by
Lake Ozark, Missouri 
Joined Oct 14, '15 

Of all the cool things one can do with a Glowforge, I think the one project that will instantly justify the purchase to anyone curious is an edge-lit acrylic sign. We have had many examples on the forum. I was inspired by @smcgathyfay, and with her blessing came up with my own.

I had the LED strips, an old USB cables and an extra 5v AC/DC adapter. The only real challenge to this was getting the slot for the acrylic dialed in for the top layers. The acrylic is labeled 1/8" but is thinner than that. My first attempt made slots just a hair too small for the top. I placed those pieces back in where they were cut out. I went back to inkscape and enlarged the rectangles ever so slightly, positioned them over the existing cut and hit print. It was a perfect alignment. The laser only slightly grazed the top of the slot and at the bottom of the slot shaved off just inough to make a press fit for the acrylic. If you zoom in you can see that the bottom line of each slot is ever so slightly wider. That same print also scored the MakForge and date on the the bottom layer. Pretty good accuracy for this one.

So in addition to an assembly bench, I need an electronics bench.

And a sanding station to rough up the finish on the maple plywood to take the glue. I also sanded the edges after glue up to even things out and give a lighter edge to base. Still a little sanding is needed. It’s also good to sand the edges before inserting the acrylic. Got a few scratches on the acrylic. There is also a little stress crack on one inside corner of the acrylic where it goes into the slot. This was from trying to force it in when the slot wasn’t quite wide enough. Might want to put a slight inset radius there to relieve stress, the dog bone thing.

I’m learning that using layers and distinct colors make it much easier when importing your design into the workspace. The layers and colors help you keep track of what is scored light or heavy, or what is cut or engraved in the design, and then the different parts are parsed out into different operations that are much easier to handle. Here is the design.

and further refined here:

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