How to Create an Eye Catching Display (LED Style)

This is not as much an instructable as a record of how I made a school project. While repeating exactly what I did will probably not help y

ou, this project can be modified to make almost any display more eye-catching.

How to Create an Eye Catching Display (LED Style)

Step 1: Come up with an Idea

I know this sounds stupid but it is necessary to know at least roughly what you are trying to do. In this case, I wanted to somehow incorporate astronomy and draw attention to my poster. With this in mind, I came up with a cheesy saying and a plan for the placement and animation of the LEDs.

Step 2: Generate a poster design

The next step is to create a conventional poster, either by writing/drawing it out on paper or posterboard or by using a program such as Jasc Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. Be sure to do a good job here as a great electronics display can only help a crappy poster so much.

Step 3: Gather tools and materials

Now the fun begins.
You will need:
-A saw
-Some sort of marker or sharpie
-A straight edge
-Tape (scotch or other clear variety)
-Soldering iron
-Desoldering bulb
-Wire cutters
-Needle nose pliers
-Vice grips
-Wire strippers
-Electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing
-A backer for the poster (I used masonite but stiff cardboard or sheet PVC should work)
-Sandpaper (medium grit)
-A microcontroller
-A power source
-Jumper wires
-A breadboard to test it all
…and a partridge in a pear tree.

Don’t worry, it sounds like more than it actually is.How to Create an Eye Catching Display (LED Style) schematic

Step 4: Make backer

While you probably have a very beautiful poster at this point it is not nearly thick enough to support the electronics. Using the straight edge, mark a piece of the backer board the same size as the poster and cut it out.

Step 5: Sand down the edges

When you cut the masonite it will probably have rough edges. Five minutes with a piece of sandpaper can go a long way towards making your display look nice.


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