UV Glow-In-The-Dark Laser Displays

Using UV LEDs, Phosphorescent Glow material, and clever mechanisms, a reusable and exciting display can come to life!

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UV Glow-In-The-Dark Laser Displays

This projects relies on two main components. 

UV light and phosphorescence glow material.

You can try this at home using a glow in the dark sticker and a small led and coin cell battery and "paint" with light!

I use either an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, motors (servos or steppers) and UV leds to create these "displays".

Build your own with the tutorials in the instruction sections!

Glow Raspberry Pi Laser Pointer Demo

Glow Scrolling Clock (Mahogany + Metal + Phosphorescence)


Laser cut version (Arduino Glow Plot Clock)

AutoCAD DXF - 136.52 kB - 06/14/2021 at 02:37


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 2.42 MB - 06/13/2021 at 20:38


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 1.42 MB - 06/13/2021 at 20:38


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 296.37 kB - 06/13/2021 at 20:38


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 174.89 kB - 06/13/2021 at 20:38


View all 10 files

  • How Not To Make A Glow Conveyor Belt

    TuckerShannon06/14/2021 at 02:55 0 comments

    When creating my metal glow scroll plot clock, shown below, I needed a sort of "conveyor belt" made of glow in the dark material.

    I (unfortunately) decided to make a glow-in-the-dark silicon band using smooth-on silicon and glow-in-the-dark powder.

    I 3D-printed a mould and poured a 2-part silicon with a mixed-in glow-powder

    Using a vacuum chamber, I removed the air bubbles from the mould. 

    I cut the top part off later

    As a result, I had a really cool glow-in-the-dark belt!

    Unfortunately, it came off the rollers almost immediately and was completely unusable...

    As a desperate final attempt, I purchased some glow-in-the-dark duct tape. I learned adding flour to the back removes the sticky property of the tape!

  • Working on drawing from GCode files. (In progress)

    TuckerShannon06/13/2021 at 21:35 0 comments

    Currently, the LaserPi is only configured to draw text, and a few pre-defined shapes. I'd really like to build a new method for the LaserPi to interpret GCode and thus project any shape or image onto a screen.

    To begin this step, I need to have a method for defining a "canvas" (the glow-in-the-dark surface). This would allow the user to align the laser the corners of the "canvas" and save these coordinates within memory. 

    After having the coordinates of the canvas saved, I plan on using a gcode interpreter (pygcode) to plan the toolpath. I want the toolpath to scale to the size of the canvas so that the image will be roughly centered and scaled to the canvas.

    Canvas Setup Procedure (Using arrow keys and python Curses)

    Gcode interpreter is now working too. Just need to connect the dots !

    Up next: Actually drawing this on Glow Paper with the PiLaser. Wish me luck!

    Follow the progress on GitHub!

  • Creating a new mechanism (turret style)

    TuckerShannon06/13/2021 at 21:15 0 comments

    After finishing the glow plot clock, I was left wanting more. I decided to create a new design using more accurate stepper motors.

    I found byj48 stepper motors to be a cheap and effective solution for movement.

    My next designed focused on a "turret" style approach using a more powerful microcontroller, the RaspberyPi ZeroW.

    CAD design

    Modified hand held laser pointer (Replaced button with transistor controller by RPi GPIO pins.)

    Assembling of the 3d printer parts, motor drivers, and raspberry pi

    Finishing assembly

    I wanted the laser to be controllable by the internet of things and my Google Assistant so I used IFTTT to achieve this.

    After relearning basic trigonometry, I was able to accurately move the motors to project on a screen!

  • More variations and videos for makers!

    TuckerShannon06/13/2021 at 20:52 0 comments

    After moving to a new city, I no longer had access to a laser cutter. I did have a 3D printer though! So why not make a new version of the plot clock that anyone with a 3D printer could also make?

    CAD design:

    I also updated the the design of the laser cut version to be more robust

    I've added the DXF and STL files for anyone who would like to try this out!

  • Initial Motivation

    TuckerShannon06/13/2021 at 20:46 0 comments

    I was fascinated by Joo on Thingiverse's creation of a whiteboard marker plot clock. It used servos, a whiteboard marker, and even an eraser to draw the time!  This got me thinking thought of alternatives ways to do recreate this effect! I came up with the idea to do it with glow in the dark material and UV lights. I bought a UV laser, and cut some acrylic at my local makerspace.

    Here's the first iteration of my glow clock :)!

View all 5 project logs

  • 1
    Glow-In-Dark Plotclock Tutorial Pt1
  • 2
    Glow-In-Dark Plotclock Tutorial pt.2
  • 3
    Raspberry Pi Laser Turret (Draws on wall!) Pt1.

View all 4 instructions

Enjoy this project?



alexwhittemore wrote 12/15/2021 at 14:55 point

I like the silicone belt! I bet you could make it work by just making the rollers even slightly convex, and removing the flanges. Then the belt will self-center. Same would work for the tape, probably with less effort, then you could tighten it up a little. 

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Baconator wrote 05/28/2021 at 18:43 point

This is so cool! Something that I don't see mentioned however is the refresh rate (if you can call it that?). After something has been written, how long does it take for the old message to be faded away and the canvas to be ready for a new message?

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Stefan Krüger wrote 01/08/2022 at 09:52 point

i think this differs heavily - as there are very different glow in the dark pigments out there... and how much pigment is in the surface...

you could erase it faster by flashing high brightness IR-light on it.
(you can test this by shining a IR-remote-control  on a glow in the dark star -)

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Eugene wrote 05/26/2021 at 21:55 point

how many watts is the laser?
and how to protect the screen from vandals with lasers?

UV filter?

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Tim McNerney wrote 05/26/2021 at 17:46 point

Can you recommend a source for high-sensitivity phosphor sheets that don't break apart when they're bent?

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TuckerShannon wrote 05/26/2021 at 19:23 point

For the wood/metal clock I used a Glow Duct Tape. For the others I used sheets of glow sticker paper from craft stores. You can also mix glow powder with silicone to make any shape you want with molds

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cspacone wrote 05/26/2021 at 17:11 point

Wow, what an amazing example of functional art!

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GB wrote 05/26/2021 at 16:19 point

This is a nice idea skillfully executed. Congrats on your project, looks dope.

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SephenDeVos wrote 05/25/2021 at 14:19 point

Very nice! Always mesmerising to watch. Here’s something a bit similar made a little while ago

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TuckerShannon wrote 05/25/2021 at 15:09 point

Fantastic. The glow in the dark nixie and the other projects you've worked on are mesmerizing

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Ken Yap wrote 05/24/2021 at 22:56 point

Could the plotter arms be put behind the panel so that they don't obscure the writing?

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TuckerShannon wrote 05/24/2021 at 23:25 point

I think its possible but the moving arms are pretty fun to watch :)

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Ken Yap wrote 05/24/2021 at 23:45 point

You could have a reveal all version and a mystery version.

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dearuserhron wrote 05/24/2021 at 10:02 point

Love that clock.

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