Backlit lasercut acrylic

I’m playing around with a couple of project ideas and had the idea of making a layered acrylic wall light with a backlit translucent panel (the idea being that the engraving is only visible when the light is on). Anyone have any recommendations for LED strip lighting? I have an idea of what I’d like to do but I’m worried about getting an evenly diffuse light from LED strips.

@Petra, any tips for lighting generally?

Are you backlighting or edge lighting?

The edge lighting is really effective, but the bigger the piece, the harder it is to provide an even illumination across the whole of the engraving.

I haven’t seen backlit engravings, only “stencils”. Do you have a link to an example?

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There’s various diffusion available that might work for you - I’ve used it in film lighting situations, but not exactly what you are doing. Something like this might be the thing to look at:

Best to find a local specialist lighting supplier and have a look (a lot of film ones in Soho and West London - also see from who has these online).

Greaseproof paper and various fabrics also works - used that too in low budget situations - but be aware of safety/fire risks.

Best diffusion is using principle as in soft box lighting- light directed to a reflector that bounces to the diffusion rather than light directed at the diffusion.

I’d also consider maybe hacking the backlight of a broken laptop.

Others may have other thoughts……

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Backlit - it’s a bit of an experiment. The below shows what I mean - translucent porcelain in 3d relief gives you different tones, and I was wondering if anyone had tried the same with a thin translucent acrylic…

This might be a case of have a go and see how I get on!

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The thing I was thinking of is a Lithophane!

Now that the target has received their gift I can post pics of what I managed to put together - although the result wasn’t quite what I originally had in mind. I engraved one piece and sanded the reverse to frost it, and then stuck two more layers on the front with cut outs.

I did have one minor issue with one of the profiles which I traced to somehow ending up with a triple profile, so a couple of the pieces have some burning on them. All in all a great reintroduction to the laser cutter!


where did u get the topgraphic map from?

Both that and the hands were artwork a friend made for a joint project - I just took it and put it onto something physical as a thank you.


Hi Edward,

We are starting to look at our content inclusion for the Dulwich festival Maker fair we have a “Don’t be Shy! submit your Make” event happening on Friday. Would this be of any interest to you maybe and/or do you know anyone else I can reach out too?


Hi Dorine, normally I’d be happy to help, but I can’t make it down for Friday this week. Happy for you to use the existing photos if that helps.

Hey, that’s the material I was looking for :smiley:

Would you be able to come next week? The current photos are not on paper print ready from what is posted but I do love the project