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NOLA 2018, Vn. 12
Trying to get something more pleasing. This will fit in 36"x14". (Shown here on 48"x24".) Am considering buying purple paint for background color to make it all Mardi Gras colors.

(This is my 12th design, hence the 12 in the corner.)
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The problem with my first set of designs is that there's a 3-inch gap from the N to the II. The lights are about 2.5" apart, and we can't skip a light (giving us 5" in slack) because the design uses 200 complete 100-light strands.
So what do you think of removing two lights elsewhere, and putting a dot between the N and the II?
or maybe another dot after as well?
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Thinking about the lights I bought today, and the discovery that the spacing is about 2.5" on average. This means that the 3" spacing I had on a couple of my designs (like the TACO PARTY sign won't work. (It's not a tragedy, because I can just skip a light if I only need 98 of the lights on that strand anyway.)

The two "TACOS" sign designs don't have the problem that the TACO PARTY sign has, so I'm not worried there. But the "N. O. LA 2018" party needs to have the gap around the periods narrowed. Here's a rendering of that sign, for a 4'x2' pegboard. There are 100 lights indicated with white, and 98 marked with yellow.
N.O.LA 2018
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Spray painted two 4'x2' sheets of 3/16" pegboard with black paint. Tomorrow I'll paint the 6'4" piece (the one for MidAmeriCon II), and build the HAPPY HALLOWEEN sign. I can make HAPPY a different color from the HALLOWEEN (example, red and clear) so I may try that.

The Loscon Party sign was made with 1/8" pegboard. This stuff is not only 50% thicker but I also think the holes are bigger. I'll find out when I start putting lights through the holes. I may not need to enlarge the holes with my ice pick. This also may mean it'll be easier to reuse the pegboard and re-string the signs.
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The lights on the mini lights I've been using are strung about 2.5" apart. So there's a limit to how big a gap you can jump. An example of how to deal with this is shown here. I've rendered the dots larger this time, but keep in mind that on one-inch pegboard, the holes are one inch apart.
Showing some extra colored dots
Start the "Y" with the green dots shown here, going from the top towards the bottom of the Y. Then follow the red dots up to the top, and then down to the blue dots to finish the Y and start the R.

On the R, follow the green dots to the end of the leg, then follow the red to finish the bottom half of the letter.

The basic idea is that if you need to traverse a segment twice (as you'll need to do at the top of this R) skip every other dot on the way out and then fill them back in on the return. (You might be able to handle this R a little differently and end up at the bottom left, and jump across to the other R's leg. Working out whether this is feasible is left as an exercise for the reader.)

The diagonals give us the most trouble, because skipping a dot means a 2.8" jump from one light to the next to go over two dots and down two dots. In comparison, a knight's move -- over two and down one, or the other way around -- is only about 2.25", and of course skipping a dot vertically or horizontally is just a 2" gap.

Because sometimes you'll have trouble making it work, I've deliberately laid out these patterns so they don't use quite every single light on a 100-light string. So if you have to leave one of the lights unused to bridge the gap between spots, it can be done!

You'll also notice that if you finish the white lights at the top of the C, it's a considerable jump to start the yellow (right leg of the H). But that's okay, because you'll be connecting two strands together and the tails have a little extra slack. If it was a concern, you'd just go every other dot on the H crossbar to get to the top left of the H, do the C, come back and do the bottom of the H.

EDIT: I just bought some 100-light strands and it says they're 247 inches long. So that's just 2.47" on average. No wonder I had trouble stretching them to cover those 2.8" gaps!
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N.O.LA 2018 N.O.LA 2018. 48x18. L=100, R=98.

TACO PARTY TACO PARTY. 48x20 grid, L=100, R=99.

TACOSgp TACO PARTY. 40x10 grid, 96 lights or 40x8, 98 lights

PB+J PB+J. 30x12 grid. Lights: 91.

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Working on pegboard sign designs. I can take a 4-foot wide sheet of pegboard, plug in two 100-light strings of mini lights, and have a simple yard decoration. Not sure if I'll build it, but if I do I have a plan ready for it.
Merry Christmas sign
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Here's another HAPPY HALLOWEEN sign design, that's only 4 feet wide -- and I can string it with two different colors if I want.

This design has double-wide letters for the HAPPY, to make up for the red being harder to see. I'm going to paint my pegboard black this weekend, and work on the sign. I'll also go out and buy the jumbo Pixy Stix while I'm thinking of it.
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Here's a sign that's 60" wide. By a remarkable coincidence I have two pieces of pegboard that are 30" wide. This rendering shows 100 white pixels and 97 yellow.

Happy Halloween sign

I'll probably buy two or three* 100-light strands of red lights, if they're available cheap this season.

Happy Halloween sign, red
I've made a diagram that can be printed out to place the lights. )

Or you can find it online here.

I took the "LOSCON PARTY" sign to Conjecture, and it worked out very well.

* However, it's more fragile than a glass cactus, and a dozen or more bulbs snapped off and had to be replaced before the party began. I already had a spare string I was using as a parts source, so I decimated that to get the sign back online. In future, I'll either transport it completely wrapped in bubble wrap, ideally in its own vehicle, or I'll wait until I arrive and then spend an hour or two placing the lights. And bring spares.

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Here's the sign I was working on yesterday.
''Loscon Party'' sign, lit up.

It's constructed from pegboard and mini Christmas lights.
''Loscon Party'' sign is made out of a 2'x4' sheet of pegboard with white mini Christmas lights.

I'm thinking that between now and Loscon, I want to make one for MidAmericon II.
The plan can be found here.
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I've got a 2'x4' sheet of pegboard, left over from a project. I'm thinking of making 200 of the holes a little bit larger, taking some strings of mini Christmas lights and pushing them through the holes, and then hanging the sign over my balcony Saturday night at Conjecture...
LOSCON PARTY pegboard sign


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Chaz Boston Baden

June 2017

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