Got my illuminator kit in the mail from Ramsey Electronics. The device throws out a great amount of infrared light in a focussed beam. Time to build took about an hour, and the kit cost me $35 or something. Good alternative to security illuminators costing hundreds.
As you can see above, the IR reflects off of the acrylic sheet I’m using as a playfield and creates a giant flare in the camera image (see the laptop screen). An issue to solve with this will be to have the IR light travel through the playfield, but reflect (without a giant flare) off the pieces. In addition to these considerations, I’ll still have to project onto the thing.