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Building a Display Sign

It’s sometimes amazing how much of my work is tangential to the actual product. Whether it’s rigs for assembling the product easier, rigs for testing components, or a variety of other random things, there is a lot of stuff that doesn’t go directly into our product. Here’s an example.

We needed a sign for our display, and I wanted it to be able to indicate when a BlueTipz transmitter was on. Ideally we would put it high up so that it would draw people to our booth, and it had to look slick. Because I’ve done edge lit displays before, and I had all the tools I needed, I decided to do an edge-lit display. I designed the circuit, designed the enclosure, designed the sign, used the laser cutter and cnc engraving machine to cut everything out, and assembled it. That one sentence was a full two days of work, though. In the end, I had 3 signs; two large ones and one small one.


The two large (12″) signs on display in the booth.


The electronics were etched using a CNC engraving machine. On the left is the voltage regulation using a LM2575 to take the 12V down to 3.3 for the bluetooth module. In the center the bare spot is for programming the module. On the right is the bluetooth module and some MOSFETs that turn on the LED strip.


All of the parts together. The enclosure was laser cut and superglued together. The RGB LED strip was acquired from china, and the sign was laser engraved. Why superglue? It’s a decent adhesive for ABS that will withstand a good amount of force but if necessary can be broken apart so I can service inside.


The LEDs are blue when the tip-up is down.


And orange when the tipup is up.


The final product: