Engraved acrylic LED poster

Engraved acrylic nightlights are a common product currently floating around the internet and are popular with college students. It involves a base with embedded LED lights, with a sheet of engraved acrylic fitted directly above it. The light from the LEDs diffracts through the acrylic, highlighting the engraved parts in the design of the user’s choice. They are cheap to manufacture and visually appealing. I was introduced to a team at Carnegie Mellon that has been manufacturing these lamps and selling them.

Another popular household decoration is neon signs. However, they are incredibly expensive and difficult to customize. Our team decided that by upscaling these engraved acrylic nightlights to a poster form, we could create an easily customizable, low-budget alternative to neon signs.

I started by designing a frame to hold a large 18×24″ piece of acrylic. The frame would also have a slot for an LED strip to sit, and a mechanism to mount the poster on a wall. The frame was designed and analyzed in solidworks for structural integrity.


After the computer design, the first prototype of the frame was 3D printed in smaller pieces and constructed using wire, heavy-duty glue, and screws. A piece of acrylic was engraved with a design and fitted into the frame. LEDs were installed.

We plan to integrate this prototype to add bezels for the portion of the LED strips that runs down the sides, as well as mold the frame pieces rather than 3d print them for cost reduction.

We are currently in the process of applying for a provisional patent and hope to bring the product to market via e-commerce by 2022