Project: USITT 2022: Homemade LED Projects

At USITT 2022, I was fortunate enough to present as part of a panel session on Homemade LED Projects. The session focused on introducing electronics makers of all skill levels to the skills and vocabulary they need to make things with LEDs. We covered different LED types, power supplies, wiring methods, safety concerns, design processes, and so much more.

The image of the USITT motto and a Source Four light

Along with my wonderful teammates - Chris Wood, Lesley Boeckman, and Paul Yeates - we generated a number of resources for this presentation. The most informative of which is the Homemade LED Projects Guidebook. This living document aims to be a comprehensive reference work for working with LEDs in theatrical, installation art, and professional contexts.

An image of the table of contents of the LED Projects Guidebook. It shows about 30 pages of content with various resoruces. The text is small and not intended to be read

As referenced in the guidebook, as a sample project we developed a modular lithophane display box to put LEDs inside. There are five component modules:

  • The front “lid” module which traps the lithophane to the rest of the box (see below for Lithophane parameters)
  • Three spacer modules (0.5", 1", 2" deep) to increase the depth of the box, if desired,
  • A gel spacer module, which has a built-in slot for adding diffusion material (theatrical gel/frost) between the LED sources and the lithophane
  • An LED module, essentially a flat plate for mounting LED tape
  • An electronics box module, for adding controllers or batteries internal to the project.

All the releveant STL files are available on Prusa Printers.

A 3D render of a modular lithophane box, consisting of 5 modules as described in the text and clipped togehter with plastic tabs. The modules are multiple colors.