Now it was time to make a solid grate out of the 60-something pockets glued on a transparant piece of plastic. A wooden trim was made as the outside of the grate that will make assembly lateron more straight forward. To keep the curing temperature low (my PLA pockets are not so heat resistant) I choose resin to bond the grate. A filling material of fibreglass was added to save on resin and increase strength of the pouring. This was my first time pouring resin and it turned out that I added too much filling material resulting in the resin not flowing. The result needed some extra filling and sanding since the epoxy did not flow enough, but still, I was pretty happy with the result. Also in this stage, a 3D printed (black in the image) bracket was added to help assembly of some 7-segment leds to display points earned during the game. In the end the whole thing was sanded a bit.
Between this grate and the printed artwork there will be a piece of black felt to even out irregularities and prevent the artwork from being scratched. Although still a bit rough, the grate was finished now and was first spray painted black. A dark color made sense to minimize light leakage of course. The inside of the pockets was spray painted silver to reflect a bit of light, and a black backlayer is always a good idea when spray painting silver anyway.
To save myself from endlessly soldering LED’s and wires, I opted for these individual adressable LED’s that made a quick test pretty straight forward. When thinking through the project when I started this, creating the grate seemed to be a pretty straight-forward job of routing holes in a piece of wood. In the end, it proved to be quite and adventure that was delayed several times. The result, from the outside of the panel is pretty much like I envisioned it.