Is a DIY project cheaper than just ordering a professionaly made panel? I have no idea what the materials needed cost. Fiber optic wires, twinkle mechanism, light box etc etc.
You may be able to build them "cheaper" but it depends on whether or not you factor in your time as labor. You may also not end up with results as nice as professionally made panels.
You will need the following:
Illuminator(s): either one central illuminator or one small illuminator for each panel. The smaller illuminators make for an easier installation. You just pop the panels in and plug them together then you are basically done.
Fiber-optic cables: it's best to use varying thicknesses for a more realistic look
Glue: to glue the fabric to the board
Tape: to keep the fibers organized and mounted on the underside of each panel
Some Tools you will need: Drill bit or another a way to cut the holes in the board. In our case we use an automated CNC machine that makes a counter-sunk type hole on the back side of the panel. This enables you to locate the hole much easier and makes inserting the fiber in the hole easier.
Scissors and/or cutting wheel for cutting the fabric
Knife to cut the board: An electric carving knife will work nicely depending on the type of board
Can anyone please point me to the best DIY with step by step instructions on the forum?
I have not seen a DIY on this forum so far, but I have not looked recently.