How to Make an Arcade Marquee Lightbox
January 12, 2021
A couple weeks back, a buddy of mine at work asked if I could make a lightbox to display one of his arcade marquee signs. I thought this would be a great project to make for the show so I said yes and got to work. When I set out to make this box, I wanted one side of the frame to be able to pop off so you could slide in/out different marquees if you ever wanted to change it. Having one side able to slide off also allows me to paint the frame before I add the marquee (which is a necessity for me) and repair or replace the lights if they ever go bad. One thing to keep in mind is a lot of the marquees you buy online (eBay has a lot) are slightly different sizes, so I had to cut all my pieces to specifically fit the marquee he gave me. I started by taking some oak 1×3’s and ripped them down to about 2″ wide. Next, I cut the pieces out for the frame and cut a groove for the marquee and plexiglass to go on the front. On the back and side pieces of the frame, I need to cut a 3/4″ wide and 3/8″ deep rabbet. I did this by installing a dado stack on my table saw to reduce the number of passes I needed to make. Next, I cut a sheet of 3/4″ plywood to fit down into the rabbets I made earlier. Using a T-Slot bit on my router table, I routed 2 spots to hang the frame when its all done. With all my cuts made, I glued up the 3 sides of the frame along with my piece of plywood for the back. After the glue was dry, I gave everything a nice sanding and painted all my pieces black with some spray paint. To hold the removable side of the frame on, I drilled a hole for a magnet to go on the top and bottom of my side piece/frame. This allows me to clip the frame together and separate it in the future, but for now I can leave it off. Using some LED lights I bought online, I attached three strips to the inside and drilled a hole in the frame for the cord to go. From here, I cut a piece of plexiglass to fit the front groove and slide my marquee into place (in front of the plexiglass). With the marquee in place, I clipped the side of the frame into place and turned my LED lights on. The sign came out great and the black frame goes perfectly with the marquee!
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