7 Steps to an Awesome Illuminated  Laser Cut Office Sign

7 Steps to an Awesome Illuminated Laser Cut Office Sign

We recently rebranded (we may have mentioned it….a lot!) and one of the things we wanted to do was get some signage up in the office, and be able to bring with us to events like TechConnect when we exhibit there. We’re an office of creators and makers so we were keen to do it ourselves as much as possible. So here’s instructions on how we built our very own LED Aluminium sign that’s portable and even has a remote control!

Step 1

Find a custom laser printer in your area (or as we ended up doing across the water in the UK) that will laser cut in 2mm aluminium. We ended up using LaserMaster who were very reasonable rate wise and definitely helped us out with questions. We ordered 2 sheets cut from them and within 3 days of payment the pieces arrived at the door.

In terms of what we asked for we requested the logo to be 125cm long and 25cm high with a 5cm border (making the sign 135cm x 35cm) formatting we sent them a png of our logo which they converted into a machine usable jpg and we got a drawing to indicate where it would appear on the finished piece.

Laser cut aluminium for our signs

Step 2

Getting the Materials together. We used a drill press, a 7mm drill bit (suitable for sheet metal), an M8 Tap, and 8x25mm M8 bolts (we used some nice hexagon head ones from ebay), and 8x18mm pvc/nylon spacers. In addition we picked up a 5m Led strip lighting kit with remote control.

Step 3

Measure Twice, drill once. We didn’t want to use a hole punch for the drill markings so we used some post-it notes that we have for marking pages. They were exactly the right width for the distance from the edge that we were looking to drill so we were able to line them up and then just measure in the required distances from the edge (5cm and 55cm each from the each side top and bottom). As there were two sheets to drill we clamped them with a sheet of paper between to ensure they didn’t scratch each other.

Step 4

Tap the holes to M8 (it’s only 2mm of aluminium so make sure you don’t mess this up!) We taped the sheets while they were still clamped together for a bit of extra traction however it can cause them to ‘pop’ apart as the tap breaks through the first layer and enters the second so in retrospect just tap them individually. If you are going to mess up the taping do it on the top layer as you can always drill out the hole with an 8mm bit (the most important part to have threaded is the rear panel)

Step 5

Laying down the LED strip lights. We did this in a trial run first to make sure that the led covered the area and also that there was a route that allowed the power lead to be accessible from one corner. After we were sure that we were right we laid the strip lighting down for real (it was backed with adhesive tape). *update* don’t trust the tape, especially on a glossy material like aluminium. Get the glue gun or super glue out for the bends to ensure that it stays in place!

You may also be wondering which side to stick the LED tape to (or at least we were), after much ‘what do you thinks’ we ended up opting to put it on the back of the panel that would be at the front of the sign, we found it reflected the light best.

Step 6

Once the lights are in place thread the 8 bolts through the top panel and place the spacers onto the other side. Once you’ve screwed the bolts most of the way to the edge place the sign on top of the back panel and thread the bolts the whole way through to fix the two panels together. It’s important to get the 2 panels tightly together as once the top bolt makes contact with the sign face you won’t be able to tighten any further (if that happens loosen the bolt and re-screw pressing the two panels tightly together)

Step 7

Stand back and admire your handy work! Seriously for an investment of 2 hours including the emails with the laser cutting company we reckon this is a very good return on our time. In total the unit cost under €160 including postage of parts and we’ve now got a shining light in our office. Until Drogheda gets a city hall that we can put a Nebula Signal on top of we’re very happy with ourselves!