Silhouette Décor Lighting
After I shared my first silhouette box it gained interest from others and that was what I was hoping for. A friend of mine reached out to me and said she would like one but didn’t know exactly what she wanted on front panel. It worked out great because she is a long-time friend of mine and I would love to build her something, and I could revisit a project I enjoyed building the first round but felt there could be improvements.
After we spoke for a little bit, I got some general details about what she wanted and went to work in Photoshop to mockup some ideas for her approval. She decided to go with a beach scene and gave me some colors she wanted to use for the RGB lighting. After I got the final approval on the image I created for the front plate, I realized there was no way I could hand Dremel the design. I reached out to a local maker group and found the go-to guys in the area that have access to a laser cutter. I met Nate from Heron Manufacturing and ZW Tools. He is on the same side of town I am, and the price was good. I visited his facility and Nate gave me a tour of his manufacturing area. I have to say, I was super impressed. He was doing a mill run of their ZW Tools Strike Plate Titanium MFTool and it looked great. You can visit his site at ZWoodknives.com. He has all kinds of cool tools on there. The key part for me during this meeting was I found a local manufacturer that could laser cut my highly detailed front plates that I make in Photoshop. He did the cut out easily and it came out fantastic, and I really wanted to do his work justice.
I changed up the technology used to detect motion to a low powered doppler radar. Using doppler is cool because it can see through walls and detect someone as they are walking into a room instead of waiting for them to get into the room to trigger the lights. During testing, it created a smoother transition. I ended up changing my existing silhouette light to use the same sensor. I made a couple other changes to the original design to make the box cleaner and better suited to fit the face plate. I opted to use 1/8” plywood instead of 1/4” pine and made the middle panel a seamless insert. Instead of the electronics being at the bottom, I put them behind the middle panel and attached the back with threaded inserts I did before. I also added a power switch instead of always being on and a better power supply.
I am excited to have access to this new level of making, so I’m very appreciative of the commissioned work request by Denise. It has allowed me to perfect this décor lighting design I had in my head before. I am thrilled with the results and it has become the new standard for these pieces. I still need to work on painting better, or I might commission that out next time to see if I can get lightening to strike twice.
I rate this project 3 stars because most of the details have already been worked through with my first silhouette light, and this one was more just fine tuning the process. Using a laser cutter is by far a better way and is how I will be completing these in the future. Working with Nate has been a real pleasure and opened far more detailed work than I was able to do before. After this build and fine-tuning, it has turned into a customizable product. There are a lot of ways this project can look, but I believe the overall function of it and way it’s built I could easily re-produce.