A client approached the company I work for and requested a hologram display for tradeshows and Leigh, the designer, asked me if I could do something like that. I had a flashback to a project I did in college where I lit up acrylic I had etched with a dremel tool to produce a hologram like affect. I asked if that was hologrammy enough and it was so we sent some vector files to a company that does etching and we received (a month later) the three pieces. I would have really preferred to not do it in pieces because I knew the edges would light up and connectors would be added complexity but that was a design requirement as the client didn't know what size table they would be putting it on.
The next step was to make a base which I did with the assistance of my father. I had ordered the two batteries we would be using and the arduino so I knew how wide the base would have to be to house the electronics. It seemed like it would be wide enough to also keep things steady so we were good. The concept art that had been provided to the client just had a black rectangular base, but wood looks so much better with the figure showing so we decided to dye a curly maple really dark, but not so dark you wouldn't see the figure. We didn't have any pieces tall enough to house the electronics and also hold the acrylic steady so we decided to add another thinner strip of wood on top.
So the glass had to have a groove to go into, and had to sit on top of the LED strip. The LED strip was wider than the acrylic so we had to route a "keyhole" which is pretty neat. Then hand route out a hole for the electronics, screw a cover on the bottom, drill appropriate holes and dye everything.
Then get all the electronics to work.
That's a brief summary of the project. It was nerve racking because unlike programming there are material costs and I could have easily damaged a part and had the project fall apart.