Making Illuminated Acrylic Wedding Table Numbers with a Laser Cutter and 3D Printer

Today I am going to make illuminated fiber-optic table numbers for my sister’s wedding. My sister and her finance wanted to incorporate the view of their proposal at the Newport Bridge into their table numbers. I thought it would be a special touch if my 11-year old daughter, their niece, drew the artwork. Once we found a picture online with the correct view of the bridge, she began drawing it out onto a piece of paper.

While my daughter worked on the drawing, I completed a 3D model of the base that will hold the electrical components using Shaper 3-D on my iPad Pro. This is overall a pretty straight forward design, and once I had it ready I was able to print these in a big batch.

After they all finished printing, I sanded them with a little help from the bride and groom. Then, I used gold spray paint to paint the bases to make them look a bit more upscale.

Next, I had to figure out how to wire them together, so I started by sketching it out.

I used two LED lights, a battery, and a toggle switch to turn the lights on and off. To wire these, I needed a positive going to both of the LEDs and then down to the switch. I also needed a positive coming from the other side of the switch and going to the battery. In addition, I need a negative going to both LEDs and then down to the battery.  I wired up a first one for practice to confirm that everything worked how I wanted it to.

Since there are so many bases that needed to be put together, I used WAGO connectors to save time on soldering. This meant I only needed to solder the lead wires for each component and then I could more or less just drop everything into the boxes.

To assembly-line this II started by laying out the components and putting together just the LED lights. To hold everything in place while I solder the LED lights, I braided the wire first and then insert the lead wire that’s attached to the light.

I also used this handy soldering gun that has a trigger fed solder wire. I find it to make things move a bit more quickly. Then, I added a heat shrink tube and repeated this process with both the negative wire as well as the second light.

Next, I prepared the battery case by putting the positive and the negative lead on. I repeated this process on the switch as well.

Using five-minute epoxy, I secured the Wago connectors into the box. Then, I used hot-glue to secure the LED lights into the holes.

Next, I inserted the switch and put the wiring together in the connectors. Then, I tested the switch to make sure it worked.

I completed this process sixteen additional times. Which took a while.

In the meantime, Sara put the finishing touches on the drawing. To convert the drawing into an SVG file and prepare it for the laser cutting, Brooke used the Adobe Capture app to convert it into an svg file. Then, she used Adobe Illustrator to add the details and ran the first one to check the settings.

The first one fit great, so I started laser cutting the rest of them. When they all finished printing, it was time for the final assembly.

The masking was removed and the acrylic was put in the slot in the bases.

Overall. I think this project came out great. I’m really happy with the sleek elegant look. The illumination is not too bright but it really stands out at night. This base would also make a fantastic night light base. You could engrave any number of things from butterflies and flowers to fairies and whatever else you wanted to go with.

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