CPI Engraving's LED SANDSTONE TUTORIAL Lighted sandstone base
Reproduced with permission from CPI & Ken Cox
To the right are the steps in making an LED lit sandstone base.
Choose your stone-
Stones can be picked according to the size of glass being used. I try to get as close as possible to the glass size so you don't have any excess groove showing when finished.
I use a 7" Husky slider saw. It is designed to move up and down to control depth, or cut through tile. It also tilts up to 40 degrees for angled edges of tile.
Mark your cut-
Set your glass as square as possible and mark with a pencil, then take a black sharpie to make a bold line that the water from the saw won't wash off during your cut.
Pick a stone
A tile saw works fine!
Mark your cut
Ready to cut-
The saw has a laser light on it to help keep your cuts straight. I also use drawer liner on the deck which helps keep the stone steady while cutting. The deck has grooves in it for water drainage as well as the drawer lining.
Cut the stone 1/2" deep and 3/8"' wide. This is done by making several passes through the saw. Some creativity will be needed here to keep the cuts straight and to cut out the center of the groove. Check to make sure that the groove is wide enough for the LED strip before going to the next step.
Drill hole for wire-
Once the groove is cut, you'll need to clean up the bottom of the groove using a flatblade screw driver to "chip out " the pieces left from the cut. They make blades to cut the groove to desired width which is on my wish list, but for now this method works with just a couple of passes through the saw. Don't worry about making the bottom perfectly smooth at this point, just chip it out so you don't have any high ridges. Now drill the hole using a 1/4" masonry bit to feed the wire through.
Ready to cut
Check slot width
Drill hole for wire
Be careful when coming out the back with the drill bit to avoid "blow out" of the stone. Sandstone is somewhat soft, so it does not take a lot of pressure to drill the hole. Make sure you use a good bit, spray a little water in the hole as you drill helps the life of the bit. If your bit starts turning blue, it means it has been over heated and won't cut properly. It's hard to tell in the picture but you will also need to drill the hole at an angle. This helps feed the wire into the groove and gives a nice clean exit of the wire without sharp bends. When completely done with the base, fill the hole around the wire with silicone.
Check the strip for length. Also notice the male and female connections that are used.
Back side of wire hole
a a a a a
a a a
Thread in the wire-
Feed the wire from the back through the hole, and line up with your LED strip. Now you're ready to make the solder connections. As you can see, I have it taped down on a piece of glass to hold it steady while soldering.
Ok, here's a little promotion for the Cold Heat soldering iron. $19.95 at Radio Shack, and most other box stores. I spent $60.00 on another style and brand, the typical 110volt plug in model. You have to wait for it to heat up. With the Cold Heat soldering iron, all you do is set the tip on your wire and insert the solder into the groove of the tip and it completes an electrical connection at the tip. It instantly melts the solder to make the solder connection. The tip cools in just a few seconds after use. Be careful not to put a lot of pressure on the tip, it is made of graphite and will break easily. The use of this type of soldering iron is important because you don't want to overheat the LED strip, which will ruin it.
Connect to strip
Now that the connections have been made, put in a thin bead of silicone into the groove and pull the wire and strip through. Set the strip into place being careful that it is centered.
Cut the felt strip 1/2" wide, and a little longer than your groove. Install the felt to the inside of the groove first. The felt should be self adhesive and will stick to the sides with a little pressure using a 1" wide piece of metal. I use the handle end of a wrench that came with my wood router to do this step. Run the metal along the top edge of the groove to help round the corner, then stick it down to the top of the stone. If it is uneven just use your razor knife to straighten the felt line.
Install your glass, plug it in!!!
Plug it in!
This tutorial is intended for those who have knowledge of the proper use of tools and safety procedures. Those who don't have the experience in using the tools mentioned here should seek assistance from someone that does have a working knowledge of shop tools. As with all tutorials, this tutorial is only intended as a guide, with helpful hints and ideas I use.
Copyright 2007 CPI Engraving.
Designs may be reproduced for personal and/or non commercial use only.