January 28 2009

Do It Yourself Backlit Skeeball Marquee. Part 1

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After admiring Jamie from Noise Land Arcade’s (zork40) custom Skeeball sign for way too long I decided I needed one.

Here is a photo of Jamie’s sign.

Information on Jamie’s sign can be found here

Jamie was kind enough to share some tips along with his source for where he bought his backlit frame but after I received my 0+ quote I about fell off my chair. It’s a very impressive product however it wasn’t in the budget so I decided to take matters into my own hand and construct my own light box.

First step was for me to find a nice skeeball marquee. I was lucky enough to come across a NOS marquee from Mark Little over a KLOV.

Then I had a piece of 1/8″ thick white Plexiglas cut to the size of the marquee to help “Defuse” the light. I plan on using 2-4 low voltage 12″ Dual Cold Cathode Lights and need the light to be nice and even. Or at least that is the plan.

Now, I had a nice flat piece of 1 x 3 (About 5/8″ x 2-3/4″ in dimensions) so I decided to use that. I need a slot to hold the marquee and white plexiglas in place and a second slot for the 1/4″ paneling I am going to use for the back of the light box. Wasn’t super hard, just measured the thickness of the marquee w/ the 1/8″ plex and double check the the thickness of the paneling for the back and marked the 1 x 3 and made 3 or 4 passes the length of the 1×3 on the table saw. Wasn’t super hard seeing I had help from someone that knew what he was doing (or at least how not to cut off your fingers.

So, at this point I need four (4) pieces w/ mitered corners to actually construct the frame. So, with a some carefully measuring (double and triple checking) I went for it and ended up with two pieces for the top/bottom and two pieces for the sides. Everything at this point looked great!!!

From here I attached two blocks of wood on both the left and right piece to help structure it and for something the back could screw into and assembled the sides to the bottom with a finish nailer. The top will be screwed or finish nailed during final assembly.

So, this is where it sits right now. Ready for paint and assembly (oh, and I need to get my numbers trimmed out on vinyl). But, so far so good.


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