My next project is an IKEA Expedit with LED (background) lighting (more details will follow shortly). Since I will use high power LEDs rather than superflux / led stripes I need a material that spreads the light equally without changing the color or affecting the brightness too much.
I therefore ordered samples which seemed suitable for the project to me from http://www.plexiglas-shop.com (they sell pieces ~ 10x7.5 cm for 3€ total -> no shipping costs).
In this post I will discuss the following products:
- PLEXIGLAS truLED White WH14
- PLEXIGLAS GS White WH10
- PLEXIGLAS Crystal Ice White WM500 SC
- PLEXIGLAS SATINICE White WH02 SC
PLEXIGLAS truLED White WH14
This product seemed promising since they promote it as THE best Plexiglas when it comes to equal illumination, brightness etc. The light distribution is very good. But I have to say, it’s really dim for being sold as the best Plexiglas for LED applications. I already ordered the variant with the highest transmission (47%). And I don’t want to know what the 31% transmission variant looks like. ;)
PLEXIGLAS GS White WH10
This is the standard Plexiglas. As well it’s the most expensive (?) one of the selection I bought. The light distribution is still okay. But you shouldn’t use this material together with light sources that emit their light from a single point / small area (like a light bulb or an high power LED) since you can spot this area through the Plexiglas! . So for example if you look through that piece of Plexiglas into a common light bulb you can spot the glowing filament. If you really want to use this together with LEDs you should consider LED stripes.
PLEXIGLAS SATINICE White WH02 SC
What’s really nice about this product is the velvety surface - so if you plan to make a table this could be your material! The variant I bought is pretty expensive (around 54€/m²) but not very bright. If you want to buy a SATINICE with more transmission (67%) you have to pay at least 65€/m². This material also seems to be intended for uni-color applications (see example pages on the site above).
PLEXIGLAS Crystal Ice White WM500 SC
Okay. This is it! The surface is even better than SATINICE. It really does look like ice when not illuminated. The brightness is the best of all other tested materials and the light distribution is at least as good as the truLED. It is also pretty cheap with 42€/m².
Here are some pictures of “Crystal Ice” compared to the other samples (on the left side you always see “Crystal Ice”). The light source is a 40W RGB LED (4x10W), RED dimmed to 40% - but it’s still too much for the camera - so please excuse the bad quality…
Crystal Ice White WM500 vs. GS White WH10
Crystal Ice White WM500 vs. SATINICE White WH02
Crystal Ice White WM500 vs. truLED White WH14
Update: I initially wanted to buy the SC version but decided last-minute that DC should provide a better result. And…yes it did! (more on this will follow shortly) Update #2: I misspelled “Crystal Ice White” - it is WM500 instead of WH500