Life-Size Glowing Minecraft Block

Life-Size Glowing Minecraft Block

Life-Size Minecraft Block

My son loves Minecraft (what kid doesn't), so I thought I'd build him a Minecraft block for his birthday. I've seen small lamps before, but blocks in the game are one-meter cubes, so why not make one life size? A full cube would be too much, though, so instead I chose to do only one face. It's lit from the back with RGB LEDs, and the colors can be changed via remote control.
Gluing the Frame

I mitered 1x2s and glued them to the outside of a 1-meter-square sheet of 1/2" plywood. This frame would provide depth that would contain the lights and any required electronics.

Rolling the base gray color on to the top and edges.
Marking the Grid

There are 16×16 pixels on each block, so on 1-meter square each would be 6.25 cm. I printed up a piece of paper with that spacing, then marked along two edges of the panel.
Drawing the Grid

A drywall square let me trace a line all the way across the panel from each mark I made. Now I had a full 16×16 grid marked.
Marking Holes

Working off a paper pattern, I marked where each window needed to be cut. The rough pencil marks only show what "pixels" need to be cut; I followed the straight, square lines for the actual cutting.
Cutting the Holes

Cutting along the lines with a jigsaw to make windows.
Fixing the Holes

Some of the plywood tore out, so I had to fill with wood putty and repaint.
Progress So Far

Vaguely Minecraft-looking, but not that great yet.
Marking Acrylic Location

I had a plastic shop cut translucent white acrylic panels to size. I set the panels on the wood over the top of each window, then marked their locations so I could remove plywood to inset them.

Work moves outside to avoid all of the dust that the routing creates. I set the depth on the router so that it removed all but the last layer of the plywood.
Test Fit

All of the acrylic panels fit into their spaces.
I had the plastic shop cut them into rectangles, then planned on simply routing out the space to hold them. It wasn't until the last one (at top right) that I thought about cutting the acrylic to fit the actual shape of the hole, and then routing to fit more precisely.
Second Shade of Paint

I added black paint to the quart of the gray that I used for the base to darken it for the next shade. I repeated this each time, adding a little more black.
More Paint

More shades are going on. I did it freehand, figuring it would be good enough.
Light Support

My original plan was to run the LED strip around the frame, but that didn't get enough light to the windows, so I ripped some leftover 1x2s and glued those in a pattern around the windows.
Light Path

I peeled the adhesive back on the LED strip and applied it along the path. This got the light a lot closer to the windows where it would show through.
Light Path Lit

This is how it looks from the back with the lights on.
Power and Remote

The controller was held on with double-sided foam tape, and the remote sensor held in place with duct tape. It was able to pick up the IR signals from the remote through the translucent acrylic.
Mixing Epoxy

I mixed and applied two-part epoxy to bond the acrylic to the wood.
First Test

There's a lot of light leaking out the back, so I thought of using a scrap piece of black canvas stretched across the back to contain it. That absorbed a lot of the light that was otherwise bouncing off of the white wall, and the glowing sections ended up too dark.

A friend had a scrap of silver fabric that I quilted onto the black canvas. This reflected a lot of the light back out the panels.
Space Blanket!

Stretching the Canvas

Like stretching canvas to a frame for painting, I pulled and stapled the canvas across the back.


Glowing at Night

This is full brightness. Even turned way down it's really bright.
Source : HaHaBird from Reddit