Edge-Lit Acrylic!

We’ve been playing around with edge lit acrylic signs & badges at Protospace in the last few weeks, and the results have been quite favourable :)

Jim & I made our first sign a few weeks back after seeing the awesome effect that LEDs had when laid perpendicular to our laser cut acrylic items. Instead if just using an LED or two, we went big and made a 1′ x 3′ sign with an awesome quote by Walt Disney:


“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”- Walt Disney

The sign is mounted in the space near the member storage area, and since I am missing a picture of it, you’ll have to come down to the space to check it out :)

This inspired Maria from Endeavor Arts to create her own edge-lit badge. This contains a 20mm button cell battery, a 5mm LED, some laser etched acrylic & aluminum tape to reflect the light back into the badge.

I then had to make some geeky branding items for the a co-working initiative I’m working on in Calgary called EpicYYC, and edge-lit, laser engraved acrylic was the perfect solution. We showed off our badges and sign at the TEDxYYC afterparty and everyone asked where they could get their own :)



We’ve generated more interest with the artistic communities as well and are creating some edge lit items for the upcoming Inshala 5 festival. These badges are going through multiple iterations as we figure out the best ways to hold the battery & LED in place, but we’ve almost got it down to a science now.

Because I’m thrilled with the results, I stayed up most of the night last night making two more signs on the laser cutter – one for Protospace and the other for The Evolver Calgary community. Both turned out very well, and I’ve even been using old 12V power supplies that have been discarded to light up the signs.




Our next initiative will be to make a sign for ENTS as it is their grand re-opening this weekend. After that, we are thinking of creating signs for charities and non-profits in Calgary at the cost of the material and a few dollars of additional overhead for maintenance on the laser. I will also be expirimenting with adding Arduino based control to the signs to allow fading of colors and even an interactive interface.

Click here for our flickr stream with all of the laser cut, edge-lit creations we’ve made!

If you’d like to get involved in the sign making at Protospace, come down to our regular Meet&Geek sessions and we’ll get you up to speed :)

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