How to make a DIY LED NEON SIGN WITH PIXEL FREE LED TRIM
Here at Ellumiglow, we are all about custom lighting solutions. Many of the projects that have used our specialty LED Strip Lighting, Laser Wire, and VynEL products are either custom, one-off projects or products that are produced into higher volume manufacturing. We work with many different industries! From textile manufacturing, to custom cabinet fabricators or amusement park ride engineers.
Today, we’re going to demonstrate how one of our newest products, Pixel Free LED Trim can be used to create faux-neon signs, without all the hassle of specialized manufacturing, or the cheap appearance of standard, boring diffused LED signage.
At this time, Pixel Free LED Trim is available in multiple color temperatures of white, and single Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow colors, and operates on common 24VDC power. It’s thin 4mm illuminated surface and shallow depth allow it to bend tighter than almost any other diffused LED-based neon lighting solution available today, and integrated into virtually any surface. The tight bending radius of 30mm (or roughly 1.2”) allows for greater design flexibility when creating faux-neon signage. The lighting strip is cuttable every 25 millimeters (or ~1 inches) for ease of integration. Other illuminated strips are often cuttable every 2.5”, or more - making designing a custom LED based solution more difficult.
When making your own custom LED signage, there are some basic tools and materials necessary. It’s possible to create and fabricate the entire sign in house, or outsource the materials, design work, and fabrication.
Either way, this is how we built a one-of-a-kind custom LED Neon sign.
We started by deciding on the base or substrate to use. We went with a 3/4” thickness sheet of Expanded PVC - this material is easily cut by a CNC router, and we found more consistent than using wood as a substrate. The CNC subtractive router we used is by Inventables - This is a low-cost, but high value/performance fabrication tool we’ve used for other custom signage and low-volume prototyping at Ellumiglow. The design of the signage was drawn out in Illustrator - accounting for the 4mm wide gap for the lighting’s silicone jacketing and diffuser and the minimum bend radius mentioned earlier.
We also used thinner gauge, two conductor wire to solder and connect the various letters together, drilling holes through the end of each channel to join the power wires at the back of the sign. 20 gauge is about the right gauge for ease of bending and sitting behind the letters without being too light of a gauge to carry enough power to each letter.
Using thinner gauge wires also makes it easy to slip the wires into the jacketing after soldering, and protect/hide the solder joints from shorts.
One of the best features of using diffused LED-based sign solutions from Ellumiglow is brightness and longevity. Pixel Free Trim is similar in brightness to existing neon signage, with up to three times the longevity of traditional neon, and without pesky and unreliable high-voltage neon ballasts.
To see how our custom diffused lighting solutions can be used in your next lighting project or sign, please contact us today!