This project was born from an idea that it would be helpful to have some kind of light/indication on desk at work as a hint for colleagues telling whether we’re currently busy with something critical, or they can freely approach and ask questions if needed.
While there are available solutions we could buy for ~$50, it’s more fun to create something by yourself instead 🙂
Mechanical elements (base box, acrylic showpiece) were designed in CAD software (Fusion 360) and cut/etched on laser cutter. Electronics based on Arduino, using programmable color LEDs, with button to change the modes and potentiometer for color selection (in modes that support it).
With the acrylic panel being illuminated at the base, the etching refracts the light making it appear as if it’s glowing. Very simple, yet nice looking effect.
Note that when buying acrylic sheets for this project, consider getting cast acrylic (which is a bit more expensive than extruded acrylic, but provides nicer finish after etching).
I made few additional variants of this project for friends that liked the design.