MakeHaven Sign


I think we should make one or two signs out of acrylic for MakeHaven. For inside the space, I envision something like this on our brick wall:


It's laser cut acrylic on brushed aluminum standoffs. With access to a lasercutter, we could cut the acrylic pretty easily. Then it would be a fairly trivial assembly project. The only real difficulty is that much acrylic could be rather pricety. 

For outside (if it's legal to DIY), I was thinking something in this vein mounted above the door:

If we wanted to move ahead, we'd need to pick a size, pick some colors, and decide YES or NO on LED lighting. Then I could teach some basic CAD stuff on Autodesk Inventor and we could design the housing in Inventor before cutting the pieces on a laser. I'd estimate this will be a month-long project with our current meeting schedules. It could be expedited with people working on their own and with Rob's laser installed and operational (another project? Perhaps before this one?).


That sounds like a fun project, and LED lighting would definitely be cool - also, if we need anything else in the mean time, maybe as a temporary banner/sign, I have a vinyl cutter and plenty of vinyl...

It's been a while, but last time I purchased plexiglass / sheet acrylic, it wasn't terribly expensive. I'm pretty sure it can be purchased locally at any hardware store. I guess it all depends on what we want to do. We could paint / treat the back-side of the sheet before cutting, then the laser could cut / burn-off whatever we want to show through...right? And while we're using laser power...why not use plate steel or aluminum? Mixed media all the way :D

I'm with you there, Frank, except the laser I have access to won't cut metal. Acrylic and wood are the best this particular beast can do. If you know of someone with a more powerful laser, please let me know. Marcus, a temporary sign would be great. It would be awesome to get a sign out there.

We'll have to find a more powerful laser then, won't we? So how powerful would the laser have to be to cut...say 14AWG [~1/16"] steel?

Guys, If you end up laser cutting acrylic, its better to get cast acrylic than extruded acrylic. Cast is more expensive, but much better than extruded because extruded offgasses something fierce.

There was talk of mounting a sign on the exterior. I think Ben B. had done some conceptual mockups. He also has a canvas covered board if we want to paint something for the short term.

Never really ended up doing mock-ups but it would be nice to get that board that Danyel delivered painted as a temporary sign. Would be awesome to work on the LED project as well. I wonder if EL wire would be bright enough? Its about $1/foot.

I can definitely cut the logo and some lettering out of vinyl for a temporary sign...also some wall graphics if we want to have any for the space inside! Different kinds ov vinyl also make great paint/spray masks and stencils...I'll be stopping by tonight, maybe we can at least figure out some temporary signage! EL Wire is a pretty good idea, however, it's not terribly bright. There is another, LED based product which seems to be much brighter, however, I think the radius you can bend it to is not quite as small:

EL wire has the disadvantages of [a] not being particularly luminous; [b] limited color options; [c] and requires high voltage AC to drive it, making circuitry much more complicated than LEDs. Using LEDs, we have a lot more flexibility, including using RGB LEDs if we want. I also have some extremely bright white LEDs that can be driven with modest currents and low voltages that could be useful for back-lighting or edge lighting. We could even add 7-seqment displays to display the time / temp, etc. But if Marcus can hook-up vinyl signage for the time being, that would be awesome.

solar powered?

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Yes, it could definitely be solar-powered. We could use some inexpensive pv cells to charge LiPo or NiMH batteries pretty easily. There are some very simple and efficient energy harvesting ICs out there to simplify the task.

I checked last night to see if I have anything as a substrate for a temporary sign for outside - all I came up with are a couple of sheets of aluma-core, which is a aluminum-pvc-aluminum sandwich. Pretty light and very sturdy and I have two sheets 48"w x 24"h...if we could mount them next to each other at the spot where the old sign on the building was I can make a pretty decent size decal of our logo so we have something on there for now.

Hey guys, I can help. I have a plasma cutter, it will cut up to around 4" thick steel. I could probably rustle up some scrap sheet metal to cut it out of too. I'm not a member or anything...

Hello Nichole! That's awesome to know that there's someone out there reading on our page that has access to such a wonderful tool :) As for the sign (and I have to update this thread sometime...), we have since moved forward with an etched aluminum sign. There are a few pictures of the little prototype we made here: Hopefully tonight I'll etch the two large aluminum panels much like we did the cookie sheet in the pictures. It doesn't show well on the photos, but it's actually a nice, raised relief after etching. This will probably be going to be the temporary sign, until the 2,000 LED display is finished! However, I remember quite a few conversations we had in the space where the talk of needing help with some plasma cutting came up, so this is very good to know ;-) By the don't have to be a member to swing by some night...especially Tuesday nights we have open house starting at 7p and if you follow our google group, you'll see there are other days/nights people are working on projects in the space, and it would be awesome to see you down there some time! Cutting stuff / signs / art / logos out of scrap steel just has lots of awesome-factor to it =D

Hi Marcus! I found you guys from the Hackerspace wiki and can I just say it's so cool there's one by me? I planned on coming to an open house, I work at a machine shop that my family owns so I could be an asset, I think. We have just about everything anybody would need to make stuff out of metal with, and I got keys to the place. And I need a hobby, making stuff would be a good one since I just bought a house.

Well, it sounds to me like you definitely have to come by some time soon! You should fit right in with the rest of us, and if you need a hobby (or projects to work on/help with/start yourself), you'll find loads of inspiration - sometimes too much if you're like me and come up with too many things to do in too little free time =P) There's a good chance that people will be in the space this coming Sunday, and definitely on Tuesday evening again! Looking forward to meeting you!

I like learning stuff! I'll come to help on Sunday probably.

That would be awsome, we could use the help!!! if you get there after 10 on sunday and the door is locked it's because we're @ Home Depot. Please wait, we will return, as I have planned on spending the better part of the day building the benches.

Awesome! I know that Mike will be down there from 10a on, since he'll be leading the work on I am hoping to make it down there myself too...see you there if you can make it!

I am psyched for this weekend! Cannot wait to build stuff.