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Lighting prep for structures

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Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
Hey Steve.

The type of structure may determine the best phasing for painting and installation. For lasercut buildings I usually paint the exterior and interior on the uncut sheets, the interior can just be spray paint black or brown.

For plastic/styrene buildings, I usually assemble the walls and either roof or floor, so everything is fairly stable. Then spray the interior, then the exterior. Or sometimes I get too excited and paint the exterior color first, then I have to mask off all the exterior to paint that interior coat (to avoid dark overspray on my nice exterior.)

You do of course need to think through where lights are likely to go and how they will connect. A couple flood light on the exterior walls? A single lamp in the interior? Those are fairly easy to install so no special prep needed beyond the painting. But if you're thinking of lighting up different sections of the interior (to make it look like different rooms) it takes more planning. Maybe add some dividers inside. If there are multiple floors involved, it might be easier to just darken certain windows. For large complex buildings, the interior and exterior lights can be a bit of a project. For each LED in there you got little wires tangling up in there, and you have to think about how the circuit is going to work for it. Does each LED get their own resistor or do you link the LEDs in series of threes with a smaller resistor? How are you going to connect it to the power on the layout?

I like my buildings removable so they can be worked on, so for me that means each building gets a connector to plug into, and the circuit for the lights is then all contained within the structure. Only thing on the layout is the footprint for the building and a small plug to plug into with 12V DC power.

You'll want to test your lighting circuits prior to installation. It's a real bummer to burn out a LED on light that's already glued to the building. In most cases, I assemble and paint the building completely prior to installing lights. But in most cases, the building will need to either have an open floor or a removable roof in order to get inside for the wiring.
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