This is my first homemade flashlight. It took me about two months to construct. This is partly because this was my first flashlight and I made a lot of mistakes, but also because I gave up on it for a while. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures of my first homemade light, and maybe can offer some questions, comments, or a suggestion on a good name for it.
The main idea behind this flashlight was to build a powerful light that was encased in a natural material. Most flashlights these days are made out of metal or plastic. I wanted a light that would look good sitting on a bookshelf or for display on a ledge. I decided to go with bamboo because it has a cylindrical pipe shape and the natural plugs are great for the cap I made. Bamboo is the perfect shape for a flashlight, and it is really inexpensive (2 dollars for a meter long stick) because it grows very fast. As a plus because it is fast growing it has a low environmental impact.
The flashlight uses a 130 lumen Luxeon Star K2 LED. I used a resistor to regulate the voltage. That isnít great, but remember it is my first light. The flashlight uses 2 3v CR123A batteries. The clickey switch (always an important part) is an average device you can find at your local Radio Shack.
There were a couple failed attempts, but in the end everything worked. Now I have a flashlight that is not that great or powerful, but something I can say I built myself. I think thats a good first try, considering I'm a Freshman in High School. All the pictures and their captions will explain the building process. Take a look!
The first step was to actually saw a decent length of bamboo pipe to encase everything in. It was purchased from a local store that only sells all kinds of bamboo for any purpose. Since bamboo is the hardest of all woods I used a hacksaw to cut through it.
I cut off a plug from the bamboo and set a PVC pipe in it that would fit 2 CR123A batteries, a resistor, and a spring perfectly. In this project hot glue was my friend.
The LED in all of its glory... I attached it to an aluminum heat sink with super glue and some mounting hardware from Radio Shack. When I turned on the LED the heat sink seemed to be taking the heat, so the connection must have been good.
After several failed attempts I managed to attach wires to the LED. Between my novice soldering skills and the tiny solder pads it was pretty difficult. I got them on securely eventually.
Then the LED was attached onto the PVC. I drilled holes in the side of the PVC to run the wires through. The resistor is mounted onto the inside of the PVC, right above the batteries.
Next I mounted the PVC inside the bamboo pipe. If you could not tell, I had to get another pipe of bamboo because the other one had too small of a diameter. I secured the PVC in by cutting up a wine cork and sanding it down to size. I placed these cork slices on the sides of the PVC, securing it in the center. A hole was drilled in the top of the bamboo for the clickey switch. Everything was then soldered together. I used a spring to secure the battery in place and to attach the wire to. Because of this the battery is very hard to get out, as you have to move the spring out of the way when you want to change the batteries. As a plus, it is a simple design.
The finished product:
If anyone is interested, take a look at the "blueprints." The quality is not so good because of my scanner. The original idea for a name was The Woodsman, which explains why that is written at the top. Click on the images to enlarge them.
I added up the cost of all the parts. Total comes to about $26.87. If there is a huge interest for me to sell a very small batch I might consider making one or two more and selling them for about $35 to $40.
Edit: See a later post for more information on the new flashlight design I might be making and selling.