Have you seen the movie Wargames?
If not, go and watch it now, its amazing.

You may have seen the DEFCON sign on the walls at NORAD. This sign shows the current Defence Readiness Condition (thus the name) in order from DEFCON 5: Normal Readiness to DEFCON 1: Nuclear War is imminent.  I decided to try and remake this iconic sign for a bit of a ‘how are you feeling’ version for home and work.
I created it as seen in the movie from steel, and a second one from timber to see what it would look like.

Video to go here

I got the help of a friend to draw the sign to scale in Adobe Illustrator and sent it off to a local perspex and printing company. They printed 2 of them for about $60. (File can be found at the end of this post.)

Adobe Illustrator
Note: the top font is not correct.

I then set to work fabricating the sections from steel, there are 4 pieces in total as you can see below

Things are about to get hot here!

A test fit that it all fits together, then its time for a lick of gloss black paint.

The brains of the sign is an Arduino Uno, easy little guy to wire up.
It connects to a set of switching transistors as the LED’s require 12v for operation. I also purchased a couple of wireless modules so you can set the level remotely. You can see them in operation in the video.

For the internal structure, it was made from 5mm laminated plywood.
It might look dodgy, but the hot glue gun worked a treat here!

Building the structure
Laying the LED’s

The LED’s came with a double sided tape backing, it also required a little superglue to help keep it in place.

Soldering the LED’s to the transistor board.

This is starting to look good!

Better run the sharpie along the edges inside!
Where the Magic happens:
Green board = RF Reciever
Blue Board = Arduino UNO
Brown Board = Transistor switch’s

Now when my colleagues walk into the office they can instantly see if it’s worth approaching my desk to ask for a favour!
Alternatively I know what mood the house is when i arrive home from work!
All in all the project took about 2 years to complete. Many hours fabricating, painting and fitting square pegs into round holes.

Arduino Sketch to go here

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2 thoughts on “DEFCON Sign

  • December 11, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    how much to buy one

    • December 17, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      Hey mate,
      This is a one of a kind.
      I would like to be able to sell you one, but it truly took a very long time to make.


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