Cake Stand with LEDs
I made 12 columns for three cakes 5″, 8″ and 11″ tall. The columns are 2″ square. As you can see in the pictures below only two cakes got deployed (I heard they had a cake disaster of some sort).
I designed the stands using Sketchup (CAD software) based on 1/8 acrylic sheet. I used a CNC cutter to make the 99 snap-together parts.
For extra stability I spot welded the acrylic in 8 places per column (96 places). I used a hot air gun (from a soldering re-flow station) to heat a 1/8 piece of cylindrical metal (burned out endmill with 1/8″ shank) and used it to melt the seams together at strategic places. I may have invented that technique as I’ve never seen it before. It works very well and still allows for the parts to be disassembled if needed.
The engraving was done but cutting 0.025″ deep with a 1/8″ endmill. That was a single flute up-cut endmill. Feed rate was about 12 inches per minute at 5450 rpm.
For the lighting I cut a small feature into the lower plate to hold a CR2032 battery. The LED was fastened to the battery like a “throwie“. The face with the engraving had a feature at the bottom that could accept the LED to inject the light into the column. The light is internally reflected inside the acrylic and comes out at the engraving points.
Here’s a CNC machine cutting a similar piece of acrylic so you can get the idea how the pieces are made. In this case the machine is making it’s own vacuum shoe.