Hello, my little fans of creativity, today I will tell you a story about how to make a modder rug with lighting. I am sure that this will not be news for you, however, I believe that every self-respecting site on modding should contain its own article about the rug =).
List of necessary
As in any other guide, to implement our ideas, we need some tools, materials and parts. In this case, we need:
- Straight arms
- A piece of plexiglass suitable for you in a format from 4 to 8 mm thick
- LEDs of the desired color and quantity. I had two white
- Resizer (s) of the desired face value
- Two-core wire of the required length from the location of the mat to the USB port
- The USB plug itself, for example, removed from a banal extension cord
- Soldering iron
- Heat-shrink tubing
- Dremel with a set of cutters and sandpaper
- Metallic paint, chrome paint or thin foil, preferably self-adhesive
* If you take less, then most likely the LEDs will not fit in, and more - there will be a large difference in heights, which in itself is quite inconvenient.
Work with Plexiglass
We start with the foundation of our future rug - we take plexiglass, if necessary, cut it to the desired size and shape. Next, we will take up places for installing LED backlighting and wiring - for them, you need to make recesses on the back of the plexiglass. To do this, we use a dremel with milling cutters, I used a 3 mm ball, and I made flat platforms for diodes with the end face of a cylindrical nozzle of the same diameter. Do not forget to also make recesses under the resistors. The configuration of the grooves depends on the number of LEDs you choose and how they are mounted. My diodes will shine vertically down, as you will see later, while the side ends are passable, but you can arrange them as you wish. I got grooves of this configuration.
Now it's time to install a highlight on our mat. You will make your life easier if you find LEDs with a rectangular lens, otherwise you will have to grind them to the same state manually.
I connected the LEDs in parallel through the common resistance using such a resistor.
We carry out food
We take food from the USB port. To do this, take the USB plug, cut off the outer rubber shell, disassemble, pull out all the wires, and solder our two wires to the two extreme contacts. We assemble the connector and seat it outside with a heat shrink so that our structure does not fall apart.
Now we try on all the components for the grooves and solder, not forgetting the polarity. Soldering, of course, is better outside the grooves, after having previously measured all sizes. It should turn out something like this.
To fix all this stuff in its place, I used transparent epoxy glue - after hardening, it is very similar to plexiglass and does not violate the internal structure of the glass, perfectly letting in light. The whole system appears to be inside one piece of acrylic.
First, pour a little glue into the grooves so that there are no voids under the wires, then we put everything in its place, and fill it with flush glass. Make sure that the parts do not puff out. If you overdo it with glue, do not rush to try to remove it in a liquid state - you will slap everything. It is better to wait for the glue to dry and remove the excess with a tool. I advise you to work more quickly, because after 5 minutes my glue did not harden, but it did not spread out and was inconvenient for spreading. Excesses sticking out are removed either with a sharp blade after drying, but not completely hardened (be careful, you can simply tear out all drenched from the grooves with a dull blade), or with a sandpaper after full hardening - this side still looks down and will be closed, so there’s nothing to worry about happens if you scratch it slightly.
Then I took up the ends (although I’ll say right away that it’s more convenient to do this before pouring - so that the wire does not bother you). Using the skins, we remove the chamfers: you can take off at 45 degrees, and you can make them rounded like me. Remember that if the ends are perpendicular, the glow will be poorly visible from above.
We optimize light fluxes
The next problem that awaits us is that we need the ends to glow, and not the surface, and even a fairly dense material is visible at the location of the diodes. Therefore, we need something to close the LEDs. There are two options for solving this problem. The first option is to stick a self-adhesive foil over the LEDs, which will easily interrupt the flow of light. However, no matter how thin it may be, on the floor with which the rug will be covered - its contour can appear. The second option is to paint the surface of the mat above the diodes with paint that contains metal particles (for example, metallic paints, chrome paint, gold paint). I found gold paint - it went perfectly.
I hope that you did not remove the protective film from the entire piece of plexiglass. Because it makes no sense to paint the entire surface, and engaging in gluing the entire piece is not a thankful task. So carefully cut out a piece of film over the diodes with the help of a stationery knife, and seal the rest of the surface, which turned out to be without film, including the ends, with masking tape.
Paint - put one layer at a time, dry and check whether the LEDs show a layer of paint or not. It is not necessary to achieve complete dimming of the light, because from above we will have another picture that damps the residual light. Only two layers were enough for me.
Install the coating
Remained a little - coverage. One of the most spectacular types of surfaces is a full-fledged pattern on the rug. Everything is very simple: we take the picture we like, for example, cut it out from the magazine, although it would be much better to take the digital version and print it on thick paper. We customize to the desired format and run to the company engaged in lamination - we do bilateral lamination, paying a fairly affordable amount for this. And voila, now we have a picture that is covered with a rather dense layer of polymer - it will not suffer from a mouse rubbing against it, and the latter will be good to slide on such a surface. We trim the edges of the film and glue it on the mat. You can glue it with glue, or on double-sided tape with the possibility of subsequent replacement. That's it, work is done!
In the dark
PS: Later it turned out that my mouse doesn’t really like the glossy white surface, and there were a lot of such ones in the picture that I chose, so the picture should be changed. So my advice to you is to first check if the mouse in your drawing works well before sculpting it on the mat.