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Christmas 2016 Project Ideas

The festive season is now officially on! To mark the occasion we've put together a few project ideas to help to get you into the mood and to, hopefully, give you some ideas. We've included downloads for all of our designs so that you can fire up the laser cutter and get making straight away, the downloads are located near the top and again at the bottom of the article.

micro:bit christmas-2016-project-ideas-all projects-870

Although this is not a step by step tutorial, we've included lots of hints and tips and photos of the assembly process to help you if you decide to make your own designs rather than cut ours.

 

Downloads:

All of the files have been individually zipped. The hex files can be unzipped and the files dropped onto your BBC micro:bit in the usual way via file explorer.

 

Christmas 2016 Project Ideas:

christmas-2016-project-ideas-laser-cut-house-front-870

For these project ideas we've focused on laser cutter designs. We have two different types of edge lit signs, one that can be wall mounted and one that has a stand. We have also included a separate design that can be adapted for either the wall mounted design or the stand mounted design and we've also included a file that contains just the stand.

There is also a laser cut winter cabin, complete with lighting method and a tree outside. The BBC micro:bit also gets in on the Christmas action with a couple of hex file downloads for your microbit; one is a Christmas countdown and the other is a nice and festive animated badge.

 

You Will Need:

To make the designs we used the following items, if you alter the designs then the materials and items you need may vary.

 

You Will Also Need:

 

Free Standing Santa's Sleigh Edge Lit Sign:

christmas-2016-project-ideas-free-standing-edge-lit-sign-870

This design is effective and elegant and will look great on any flat surface, such as; on a desk / table, on a windowsill or on a mantelpiece. We determined whilst making it that light behaves properly when we used 5mm clear perspex sheets as opposed to 3mm, we strongly recommend using 5mm thickness perspex for the part that is to be engraved.

christmas-2016-project-ideas-free-standing-edge-lit-sign-parts-870

 As you can see from the above image, there are very few parts. This keeps laser cutting time and assembly time down to a minimum.

Custom Designs: If you want create your own design with a custom engraving, before exporting to your laser cutters software ensure that the design is fully enclosed or it may not engrave properly.

christmas-2016-project-ideas-free-standing-edge-lit-sign-leds-870

LED Spacing: The LED spacing on each design has been done so you should not need any wires, which allows for a very neat setup. We found it best to put the LED into the hole, and bend the leads to 90 degrees, then use a crocodile clip or similar, to hold the legs together whilst you solder.

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The LED’s need to be connected in parallel, i.e the positive legs should all be connected and so should the negative legs ( See the above diagram).

christmas-2016-project-ideas-free-standing-edge-lit-sign-assembly-870

The design slots together easily and everything is then held together with two screws, as shown above. Once screwed together it is sturdy enough to be handled repeatedly without any worries of it coming apart.

christmas-2016-project-ideas-free-standing-edge-lit-sign-assembled-870

The battery cage is then screwed in place which ensures that the design is not only sturdy but also fully portable.

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In the downloads list you will see that there is a file for the completed design and that there is also a file containing just the base so that you can easily create your own design if you prefer. When designing your own part to be engraved, create your design and connect it to the top of the RED lines ( See above screenshot).

When doing your own designs you might want to consider also engraving the back of the sign (in reverse) exactly over the design on the front, as this greatly improves the results.

 

Wall Mounted Merry Christmas Edge Lit Sign:

christmas-2016-project-ideas-wall-mounted-edge-lit-sign-870

Rather than just create different versions of the free standing edge lit sign design we thought it would be more useful to come up with a different design altogether to give you more location options. This type of design would suit being mounted to an upright piece of wood as shown above.

christmas-2016-project-ideas-wall-mounted-edge-lit-sign-parts-870

As you can see from the photograph above, this is a very simple design and once cut it is very easy to assemble. As with the free standing design, the engraved part should be cut from 5mm clear perspex sheet as this will ensure an even light distribution throughout the sign.

LED Spacing: The LED spacing on each design has been done so you should not need any wires, which allows for a very neat setup. We found it best to put the LED into the hole, and bend the leads at 90 degrees, then use a crocodile clip or similar, to hold the legs together whilst you solder.

christmas-2016-project-ideas-led-wiring-870

The LEDs need to be connected in parallel, i.e the positive legs should all be connected and so should the negative legs (See the above diagram).

 

Illuminated Christmas Cabin Laser Cutter Design:

christmas-2016-project-ideas-laser-cut-house-side-870

This fun yet effective design was all cut from the same piece of 3mm Laser MDF and then illuminated with an LED light kit. We used a Micro USB Lamp Kit - 1W LED but you can use any kit that provides the amount of light that you need.

Note: We chose to make ours a miniature house, if you wanted to make a bigger version you can easily scale the design up in your CAD software. You would need to revisit joining parts as these would also scale up to bigger than your material thickness. You may also want to consider a different lighting method if you scale up the size, something like the 5V LED Desk Lamp Kit may be a more suitable choice.

christmas-2016-project-ideas-laser-cut-house-front-870

If you want your cabin to stand up to being moved, we recommend using an adhesive to help hold it together. PVA wood adhesive would be the preferred choice, but a hot glue gun would also do the job.

 

BBC microbit Christmas Project Ideas:

christmas-2016-project-ideas-microbit-badge-870

 

We've also included downloads for a couple of quick microbit projects. The micro:bit Christmas Badge, shown in the above gif, is a simple idea that scrolls through a selection of images. You could even mount it in a star for the top of your Christmas tree. As you can see from the above gif, we powered our micro bit with a MI:power board, this allows you to put the microbit wherever you want it without also having to worry about a bulky battery cage.

The second BBC micro:bit project is a 25 day Christmas countdown that utilises all of the microbits LEDS. At the start of each day press the B button and one of the 25 LEDs turns off, when you reach nine days from Christmas it changes from turning off LEDs to a numerical countdown and when you reach Christmas day it scrolls Merry Christmas! Just like an advent calendar, only without the chocolate!

 

christmas-2016-project-ideas-santa-cad-design-870We've also included a download for the design file shown above. This can be adapted to fit either the wall mounted or free standing edge lit sign designs or alternatively cut into laser MDF and used for a bedroom door sign.

 

Downloads:

All of the files have been individually zipped. The hex files can be unzipped and the files dropped onto your BBC micro:bit in the usual way via file explorer.

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