Edge lit acrylics

In a recent thread
Looking for tips on how to make edge lit acrylic glow in a uniform way , questions were asked about edge lit acrylics.

These are my findings for edge lit acrylics.
I tested alot of the colors I have in stock (which is quite extensive), none of the opaques work- not surprised
In the transparent stock, the clear is by far the best
Yellow and orange do ok but none of the other transparent colors.
All the fluorescents work
Mirror works.
Frosts and glitters do not
Acriglas makes an LED diffusing white frost but it doesnt edge light.
I have not tested a clear with frosted edges…dont have acetone on hand.


Thank you Laser Lady!


Thanks for sharing this information!


Have you tried to make a well in the medium to accommodate the led so the strip will flush and use something like a optical jelly in the whole so that the led has total contact to the medium

I use flat LEDs so contact isnt a problem.

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Thanks for that info! Will definitely save a lot of users from “wasting” acrylic . Have you tried or worked with LGP acrylic? https://www.inventables.com/technologies/lucite-light-guide-acrylic-sheet

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Thank you for the info :smile:

Nope…wouldn’t waste my money. For the size acrylic I use with LED application, regular old clear cast works just fine.
This may work better if you need to do edge lit for larger areas like in feet or meters…not inches😁

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I’m a bit surprised one of our engineers or physicists hasn’t jumped in to apply an understanding of how edge lighting works.

ya I should have been more specific or at least provided the QBQ (question behind question). so I have indoor hydroponics so I can grow food for the fur babies this requires light. I have some high end LED lights for my main grow but I have been wanting to dable with so larger crops like bush cucumber or bell peper. so I have a DIY ligh bar but the lenses are hot glue on so they can fall off if bumbed and are not all straight/flat. my hope was to see if anyone has maybe done like a faring strip and put LEDs in it. I’m not talking the bulbs 2 lead leds made of plastic in the milliwatt range I’m talking ‘high power’ leds. so then I have this strip across all of them that maybe would work like a lense instead

pics for better understanding

This is one of the tasks I am excited about using my 'Forge for. Light pipes for my WS28XX projects.

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indeed the wild card is does putting the light through the acrylic decrees the micro moles (measure of photons per second) some crops have a DLI (daily light integral) of say 15 and others say 20 moles so to figure out if your crop is getting enough light you look up the DLI for the given crop and say lettuce is 17 and your photo period is going to be 16 hours so you want to be able to deliver 17 moles in 16 hours go over and you have problems like tip burn plant gets to much energy but not enough nutrient absorption during the day so when it grows at dark period it doesn’t have enough say calcium to support cell growth so you get sludgy tips on new leafs or not enough DLI and your wasting crop space because the plant is not growing as well as it could be due to energy shortage. so you take the moles / photo period / 60/ 60* 1,000,000 (because whole numbers are easier to read then decimal 17/16/60/60*1000000 = 295 micro moles so to hit 17 moles a day you need a light that will put out 295 minimum and if its more then you just adjust the photo period. so that was the long way to explain the concern (figured teach when I can) so if your light system is only doing 300 micro moles then you don’t have much tolerance for say a 15% performance loses due to setting up a light pipe hence me being curious if anyone has tried. larger crops like say a cucumber or pepper may be like 22 DLI.
I am a dork and made a par map for my garden when I rented a li-cor quantum sensor last year so I could understand my settings eg as plants grow more they get close to the light and absorb more photons then they should when they are 13 inch away so I needed to know how to calibrate the lights for ech growth zone so they don’t get over juiced on DLI

I wouldn’t call this a full high jack but ya a derail with a common interest of how to leverage acrylic with LEDs and in this case would it make a good focusing medium with out attenuation photon output to greatly to cause poor growing conditions


You had to ask…

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Sticking this link here because of the LED information. I don’t have any strip LEDs, just single ones, and quite a few of them.


I have a feeling I’ll be making a trip to the dollar store to scavenge parts. Please disregard aVe’s snark. He is very good about offending everyone fairly.


And in a few months, we can then do this instructable ourselves, changing step 3 to read:
I used a marker and my Glowforge’s auto-trace mode. It was trivially easy.