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3 inventive lighting projects using LED strips

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13:28   |   Jul 23, 2017

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3 inventive lighting projects using LED strips
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  • LED strips.
  • Incredibly useful if you know what you're going to do with them.
  • Chances are though you'll buy some and end up just sticking them to a wall or something
  • which would be a bit boring and that's a shame as you can be really quite creative with what
  • you do with them.
  • So in this video we're going to be making 3 unique lighting projects using, you guessed
  • it, LED strips.
  • Let's get to it.
  • The first project is particularly awesome looking, yet is also incredibly useful, and
  • you'll see why as the design comes together.
  • So the first thing we'll need is a thin sheet of aluminium from which we can cut two long
  • thin lengths.
  • The easiest way to do this is by scoring groves in the aluminium with a craft knife and then
  • bending them repeatedly until they break free.
  • Once you've got two of them they can be joined together using a spare piece of aluminium
  • with some screws and nuts.
  • With that done we now need to start working on the wiring for the LED strip lights.
  • As we want to be able to adjust their brightness, we need a little dimmer circuit.
  • This needs to have a power jack soldered to its input terminals, and two loose wires soldered
  • to its output terminals, which will be connected to the LEDs later.
  • We're now going to set this into cement, so to prevent cement and moisture getting to
  • anything important we can use some blue tack to shield the power socket solder tabs, and
  • then some electrical tape around the dimmer itself.
  • They can now be mounted inside a little plastic mould of some kind - I used an old business
  • card holder.
  • The power socket needs to be securely stuck to the side with some more blue tack so that
  • it will be accessible later.
  • So now it's time to have some fun as we can now mix up some cement and gloop it into the
  • plastic mould, making sure it surrounds the electronics completely.
  • The aluminium strip can also be inserted, and as you can see I added some screws to
  • its end to give it more grip so that it won't pull out later once the cement as set.
  • To finish it off we plop on a few small pebbles to give it some more interest.
  • The same can be done to the other end of the aluminium, only this time without any electronics.
  • Again, we can add a few pebbles on top for visual effect.
  • Once the cement has set, we can pull the moulds off and as you can see we've got some pretty
  • snazzy looking weighted feet.
  • All we need to do now is pup off the blue tack that we used on the power socket, and
  • use some superglue to attach some rubber pads to the bottom to give it some grip.
  • As you can see, it's taking shape and is starting to look very special indeed.
  • I left the protective film in place until this point simply to prevent fingerprints,
  • as having it fingerprint free will allow the LEDs to stick to it more reliably.
  • I'm using a brand that has good colour quality, and looks like daylight.
  • Now just a quick warning about LED strips and that's DON'T GET CHEAP ONES.
  • Cheap ones tend to get dimmer over time and have abysmal colour quality so just spend
  • a little extra and get some decent ones.
  • I've discovered these ones recently and they're pretty good - links in the description, CRI
  • of 90+, so pretty decent for the price.
  • So again, just avoid cheap ones and get something that's a lot better.
  • Once they're fully stuck down they can be soldered to the output wires of the dimmer.
  • I used a multimeter to check the polarity, but if you don't have one just use trial and
  • error and swap them around if the LEDs don't light up.
  • One final touch is to add some finishing oil to the pebbles - this gives them a glossy
  • appearance, as if they're still wet straight from the beach.
  • Looking good!
  • So now a 12v power adapter can be connected to the power socket, and the brightness can
  • be adjusted using the dimmer.
  • As you can see, it looks incredibly awesome, almost like something out of Star Trek...
  • but, what is it exactly?
  • Well, put simply, it's a work light.
  • As the LED lights surround whatever is underneath them, they illuminate everything with a soft
  • almost shadow-less light that is easy on the eyes yet provides absolutely fantastic visibility.
  • Pretty useful for homework, tinkering with electronics, sketching drawings, or even sewing.
  • You get the picture.
  • Excellent visibility from a single power efficient and cool looking device.
  • Keeping with the modern si-fi lighting scheme going on here, it's time to start on the next
  • project.
  • Again, we'll need some aluminium for this...
  • I know, I know, but while I do admittedly like working with aluminium, there is a practical
  • reason for using it so much in these projects because it wicks heat away from the LED strips
  • mounted to it, keeping them cool and increasing their lifespan significantly.
  • Just as before, I got my pieces from a larger sheet, using the knife and bend technique
  • to trim them down to size.
  • Now we need some lengths of angled aluminium, from which we need to cut off two smaller
  • pieces.
  • These need to then have a variety of holes made through them, which will be for mounting
  • the aluminium angles to the aluminium sheet, as well as providing space for two power sockets,
  • and an on/off switch.
  • The power sockets can be wired up in parallel, as there are two of them simply for daisy
  • chaining multiple lights together if desired, and then the on/off switch can also be added
  • to the circuit.
  • I'm using a toggle switch for a nice tactile feel.
  • We can now use some PCB standoff pillars and accompanying screws to mount them both to
  • the aluminium sheet - one at the top, and the other at the bottom.
  • As you can see, I've threaded the power wires through some holes to the front, so we're
  • again ready to add the LEDs.
  • We want two short lengths of these, so cut them down to an appropriate size and solder
  • them together in parallel.
  • Before mounting them I added some electrical tape underneath at the top and bottom of the
  • aluminium.
  • This shouldn't strictly be necessary, as you may have observed in the previous project,
  • but it is good practice in order to prevent short circuits with the aluminium.
  • Now technically this could be just plugged in and the LEDs would light up... but would
  • look pretty boring and having a direct unobstructed view of the LEDs would be very uncomfortable
  • on your eyes, as these strips tend to be very harsh and glaring to look at.
  • This isn't as much of a problem on the work light project because the LEDs face downwards,
  • but this time we need to do something about it.
  • So, this is where this project's special trick comes in, for which we'll need two clear a4
  • acetate sheets.
  • These are super cheap, and you can find some links to them in the description.
  • Now, we're going to use these to diffuse the light, and to make them suitable for this
  • purpose we need to spend a lot of elbow grease sanding them down on both sides to make them
  • super frosted.
  • It takes quite a while to get them to this point, but it's worth it for such a good finish.
  • We can now fold over the edges of these sheets and glue them to the aluminium like so, with
  • one closer, and the other further out to make a gap between them.
  • Once dried the light is complete, and it looks significantly more interesting now that the
  • diffusion sheets have been added.
  • As there's a hole on the back of each piece of aluminium angle, they can be hung onto
  • a wall either vertically, or horizontally.
  • Now for the grand switch on - again using a 12v power adapter.
  • As you can see, the diffusion sheets do a fantastic job at softening the light and making
  • it much easier on the eyes, while making the whole thing look quite modern as well.
  • You can even daisy chain more than one together, like I mentioned earlier, to provide illumination
  • to an entire room.
  • Right, now it's time for the third and final project, and this one is very unusual, and
  • should be extremely practical for home lighting.
  • I'm pretty excited about it.
  • So for this one we'll first need a length of aluminium tubing, and after clamping it
  • in a workbench we can use a bolt to thread it for mounting later.
  • Now it can be trimmed down to roughly 11cm, and a hole drilled through the end furthest
  • from the thread we just made.
  • After we've got four of these short rods, we can now get a long length of angled aluminium
  • and drill some holes at each end through which we can mount these rods in place.
  • After making two of these, we now need to get some tin foil and bunch it up to make
  • tiny ridges and crevices.
  • I'm using gloves here so that I don't accidentally make a hole with a fingernail, as it's quite
  • fragile, and to also prevent natural oils from being left behind on the foil as it needs
  • to be glued down in just a moment and, like I mentioned before, oil can harm adhesion.
  • So now we need to get a large sheet of cardboard, onto which we can use some spray mount glue
  • to attach the foil in place.
  • Try not to press down too hard as it's important to keep the rough texture that we've given
  • the foil, so we want to avoid smoothing it out.
  • Once the whole card has been covered you should have something that looks like this, and the
  • two aluminium angles can now be clamped to it on each side using some nuts and bolts.
  • Now we need some more lengths of angled aluminium, and as you can see they need to have two small
  • holes at each end.
  • Now some LED strips can be stuck down along one side like so.
  • Again, I'm using some good quality strips as cheaper ones just aren't worth using.
  • We can now grab some electrical wire, and thread it through the holes we made in the
  • rods and also through the holes on the aluminium bars.
  • Once they are pulled tight, we can use some hot glue to hold it all in place.
  • Any excess can be trimmed off at the top, but we need to leave a length at the bottom
  • to hook them up to a power source later.
  • To prevent the bars from slipping, add a little bit of hot glue under each as well.
  • Now we can expose the conductor inside the wire by carefully trimming off a bit of the
  • insulation, and bridge it to the LED strips using a short piece of wire.
  • Each of these long supporting wires will have its own polarity, so one can be soldered to
  • all the negative pads on the LED strips, and the other can be soldered to all the positive
  • pads.
  • Once that's done, each of the long wires at the bottom of the light, which we didn't trim
  • down, can be routed to a longer power cord, which can have a power connector added to
  • the other end.
  • I added some holes to the sides earlier, so mounting it is just a case of hooking it onto
  • two nails.
  • So, you'll probably agree that it doesn't look particularly amazing or anything whilst
  • it's turned off, but don't let that fool you.
  • It is quite special and solves one of the biggest problems that plague LED strips, which
  • is the glare they produce.
  • So, after hooking it up to a powerful power source - it draws more than the others because
  • a full 5m length of strips was used - you can see that it looks actually quite striking
  • now, and the light emitted from it is incredibly soft and diffused, allowing you to comfortably
  • gaze at it directly.
  • This is because the tin foil scatters the light in many different directions, and as
  • the surface area is very large it illuminates the room very nicely.
  • This method is more effective at softening the light than the wall light project, making
  • it shallower, and also requires much less effort for a larger surface area compared
  • to sanding down many pieces of acetate.
  • In fact, the light emitted by this is shockingly close to that of a window, which would be
  • very useful during the short days of winter if you want to keep that summer vibe.
  • So there we have it.
  • 3 Unique but very useful lighting projects made out of LED strips.
  • Before I sign off you might be wondering what that thing is on the wall and that's the previous
  • project.
  • It's an RGB (colour changing) crystal tower light - it's pretty cool and I'll link it
  • down below if you're interested as it's a decent one.
  • Right so other than that I hope you've enjoyed this video and if you have don't forget to
  • subscribe and maybe share this video with your friends.
  • Other than that, I'm Matt, you've been watching DIY Perks, and I really hope I see you next
  • time.
  • Good bye for now!
  • Don't forget you can find links to the specific LEDs that I used in the description.
  • They're available in different colour temperatures, and all have CRI ratings of 90 or above, which
  • I verified myself with a spectrophotometer.
  • Also if you'd like to see another LED related video, then why not check out this one, which
  • is a guide on how to make a super bright watercooled LED spotlight.
  • I use this in my studio all the time while I'm filming, so it is again something that's
  • very useful in the real world.

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Description

In this video I will be showing you how to build three unique lighting projects at home using LED strips. Here are the quality strips that I used: http://amzn.to/2yto0BQ

I specifically used the 'daylight white 5600k' strips, but the other colour temperatures are great too. Here's an ebay listing of the 5600k variety: http://ebay.to/2iSqEKu

And an ebay listing of selectable colour temperatures: http://ebay.to/2zCThDr

Dimmer circuit:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2zzmn8Z
eBay: http://ebay.to/2yTktAR

RGB Crystal Tower Light video: /watch?v=Jh618yi0JZY

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