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light up letters (as in alphabetic)


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As I'm planning for next year and my first display and possibly a small display for the 4th of july, I was wondering what everyone does to have letters in their display. Do you create them with lights, can you buy the letters or do you buy the entire message and then split each letter so you can individually light them up?

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In preparation for next year's display, as I haven't been able to obtain any LOR controllers for this year (while they are out of stock), I have prepared my lighting plan and bought 25 x 100W spotlights that will be configured in a 5 x 5 matrix. Using LOR to switch them on and off I will be able to create any type of alpha character and number sequences from 0 to 19. I'm planning having the spotlights pegged to the ground and angled so that they don't shine directly into the visitors faces, otherwise they might go blind and get sunburnt in the process hahaha. The matrix allows me to sequence things like countdown timers, etc.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

davidt

www.daves-portal.com/xmas2005

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I was wondering the same thing myself. As of right now I'm planning on making 2X4 frames with screening of some sort( Chicken Wire ) and tying lights to it. However I'm open for ideas. If anybody has a better one I'd love to hear it.

George.

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musicman wrote:

I was wondering what everyone does to have letters in their display. Do you create them with lights, can you buy the letters or do you buy the entire message and then split each letter so you can individually light them up?



Another option is to cut the letters out of plywood and outline them in mini-lights. Drill evenly spaced holes and secure each light with dab of hot glue. Painting the plywood with flat black paint will highlight the lights at night, other colors will look better during the day. This will leave you lots of options on how to light them with LOR.



Merry Christmas
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You might consider using coro. Corrugated plastic. It is going to be lighter, and waterproof. I found some 4X8 sheets where I live for $15.00 a sheet. Easier to cut and easier to store them.



-Duane

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how well does the coro board hold up to the forces of nature as compared to plywood? I just worry about putting all that time into it only to watch it be tore apart by the wind and rain and snow.

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I think Dan has just been overloaded with traffic ... (ChristmasLightShow.com) ... I'll bet he'll be back up soon.

As for a sign, this was my first year with Music ... I had a sign made by a "quick sign" place that makes signs and banners for all kinds of businesses. This one looks like the kind of sign you would think of as a Real Estate for sale sign.

It is two-sided, same words on both signs. It is also sturdy enough to handle the wind. Then directed two outdoor flood lights on the sign. The floods are on ground stakes ... you see them on sale with Christmas decorations all the time.

The Pros and Cons:


  • PRO: the sign was not too big, so it didn't look bad during the day time
  • CON: the sign initially didn't catch people's attention, and they didn't tune to the radio channel. But people quickly caught on. They weren't used to the idea of sychronized lights ... so they thought the music was just background music, or an actual radio station.
  • PRO: having it professionally made, save me a lot of time ... and it will last.
  • CON: It did cost $70. I decided it should be a one time expense.
  • PRO: there was room to have a full/near full sentence on the sign ... Top Line: "Tune Your Radio To"; Middle Line Big letters: 100.1 FM; Third line: To Hear The Show". With the snap and glow letters, I think it would take up too much space to do.
  • CON: If a car was parked near the sign, the view of it was blocked for other cars.
  • PRO: I had my LOR control the floods to come on and off at the beginning and end of each song. This also gave an obvious que to the people in their cars when the show was over -- i.e., when the radio sign turned off.


For next year:


  • I think I'm going to either have two signs like the one I have now. Or buy the snap and glow letters to supplement the sign I used this year.
  • I've also thought about buying a moving led sign to put in an upstairs window. The problem so far is that the letters for the reasonably (nearly reasonable anyway) are no more than 3" inches tall. That is too small for most people to read from the road (or notice with the other lights blinking).


More on this topic as the year progresses.

T

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I made letters for my display using quarter inch peg board. I painted the board a flat black and used super glue to hold the lights in each hole.

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I made mine out of fabric wire (1/2" square chicken wire). The first set I made I made it out of just the plain steel looking stuff, works ok and then I got to thinking with it up on my roof it might start to rust. This next batch that I have been working on is the same stuff but but they put a green vinyl coating on it. Thats works great and the green light wires don't show very much.

My letters stand 3' tall and are about 22" wide. I made the design and light placement on it with AutoCAD. So if anyone wants the design for the letters I have made or would like some others I can easily make them for them. The words I have made are "REMEMBER" and "JESUS". All in capital letters. So I guess thats the letters R, E, M, B, J & S. Note the M is a wider letter thou that the rest I think its about 30" wide.


Attached files 15089=859-DCP_5363-2.jpg

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For my signs, I used a wooden platform, either from plywood; or from actual boards pieced together; if I wanted a more permanent look to it, and then lined up rope light. You can use the small 3/8" plastic wire mounts (Menards - 98cents/10) to form the letters. After a little practice you can figure out how to shape any letter or number.

If you don't want it to show in "script" style writting (that's easier), you can make it read as block lettering by drilling holes into the wood and having the ropelight go behind the display panel and back out again for each letter. If you use chasing ropelights, it gives it a kind of 'writing-in-progress' feel to the sign,

The thing that I like about a plywood background is that it is easy to shape, like making the sign look like an open book (think of a two-dimensional drawing). You can always outline the shape with additional minis to define the borders better.

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  • 4 months later...
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Ah. I found a thread on the snap-n-glow letters. Just wanted to say that they're awesome with naked LED bulbs (specifically: Philips icicle strands). Sadly, Philips only makes their naked LEDs as icicles, which can make it a bit challenging to thread the strange wiring into the letter forms. But quite doable with just a small amount of thinking ahead.

Probably the coolest thing is that, because it uses regular bare LEDs (no diffuser), the intensity of the light is focused forward. Focused at a very specific area. If you point it at whatever eye level will be, there will be a 30 degree angle or so where each of the letters become super bright. Even at a distance.

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