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We made a huge backlit LED skull sign for our workshop using the X-Carve and an Arduino!

A few weeks ago we helped a friend out and used our X-Carve to make a big sign for an event. We got inspired and realized we didn’t have a sign of our own so we set out to design it! We used birch plywood and built it in two layers, then used an Arduino to control the LED strips that light it up. This was a relatively simple project that was as much fun as it looks. You should definitely make one!

We recommend watching the video above and following along with the written steps!



Step 1: Prepping the Plywood for Carving

Picture of Prepping the Plywood for Carving

We used 1/2" birch plywood and began by ripping two pieces to 30" wide on the table saw. This is the size our X-Carve can handle so we basically maxed it out. Plywood worked really well for this and has worked well, in general for indoor signs we've made. We considered using a hardwood but since we were going to paint it, plywood was the more economical choice.

We're going to be making two major carves so we needed two pieces of identical size.

To prepare for the CNC cuts, the plywood gets aligned squarely to the bed of the X-Carve and clamped down. As you can see, the sheet just about maxes out our cutting area.

TIP: If you don't have enough space to breakdown a full 4' x 8' sheet of plywood at home, the big box stores will usually break it down into some basic pieces for you, for FREE! (Much easier to get home that way, too.)