I’ve never been to a taping of a TV show, but apparently there are illuminated “Applause” signs to tell the audience when it is appropriate to clap. I used this idea to clean up the looks of this machine and hide the messy mechanism.
I made an art project in school with where a light is diffused behind a piece of plastic. I recreated that effect in this project. I had a piece of plastic that I sanded with a random orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper to create the diffused effect. In the above photo, you can see the difference between sanding just the front side (left) and both front and back sides (right).
I bought some stencils and red spray paint and added the word “APPLAUSE” to the plastic. The stencils are overall wider than the plastic (and some letters are repeated) so I had to paint this in two steps to get the desired output.
The next step was mounting this plastic to some wood that can cover the entire front of the machine. I practiced with my router to cut a shape into the wood that was the thickness of the plastic so I could mount the plastic in place and it would be flush with the front surface.
I originally intended on just making a lip around all four edges but later determined that I could just leave a mounting tab on the top and bottom so that I could light the entire width of the letters( which is also the full width of the plastic).
After this was complete, I spray painted the wood black and hot glued the plastic in place.
I had a spare length of white LED strips from another project, so I added screws on the back of the wood on all four corners and wrapped the LEDs around facing inside to illuminate the plastic.
You may notice that the LEDs dim while the mechanism is clapping. This is because the power supply voltage drops. I actually like this look so I consider this a feature, not a bug.
I’ll explain the electronics including the power supply in another log.