Zodiac display done.
July 7, 2009
Edit: Added some more photos to the bottom. Those were taken with the curtains shut. Also took a short video.
Finally completed the zodiac display. Aside from the sickly colour of the top and 1 of the red LEDs stopped working after I glued it all together, I`m pretty happy with the way it turned out.
It`s made of 4 layers of 5mm foam board. It uses 2 2mm clear acrylic layers for the lights with a sheet of red between them. The red hides the scratches of the star connections but doesn`t interfere with the red LED when switched on. Around the edge where the acrylic touches the foam I put aluminium tape to help reflect the light back into the middle. If you think the constellations look weird it`s because they are mirrored. I copied them straight onto the plastic and then had to flip it over because the best effect is when the scratches are on the underside. Oh well, the kids won`t know.
I forgot to take some pics inside before sealing it up but it`s pretty simple to image.
Originally I glued a pack of 4 AAA NiMH together and sealed it inside with the 2 screw heads as charging terminals. Unfortunately the first time I charged it the heat made the hot glue soft and the batteries lost connection :/ I added the battery pack through the bottom but I still charge with the screw heads and some magnets on wires.
The left hand side slides out so that I can get access to the plastic sheets. I may add more info onto the middle red sheet, like the earth\sun thing later.
A little recess on all edges holds it all in.
2 microswitches turn on the layers seperately.
In the dark - off.
Bottom layer only. 1 LED stopped working thats why the right side is brighter.
Top layer only.
Both layers - close up.
The 3 plastic sheets used. From left to right - red middle sheet, clear bottom sheet, clear top sheet. Ignore the purple, it`s just there to make the clear sheets visible.
The first video is mine. The 2nd and 3rd show what kind of stuff is possible with edge lighting.