Cutting down 5mm LEDs

Minjin

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Sep 21, 2002
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1,237
Location
Central PA
I know this topic was talked more about in the past than in recent years, but I can't seem to find any threads that describe the process. Can anyone direct me to a thread that would help me out? Or has anyone had success cutting down the 5mm LEDs to shape its output?

I just swapped LEDs in my Petzl Tikka Plus for 55k JELEDs and its now a few orders of magnitude brighter. However, I'd like to take some of that extra light that is concentrated into a spot and make it more floody. The cut down LED in my Dorcy Turtlelight is rounded but I seem to recall some people just cutting it down flat at the end. Also, what are people using to do this? I'm guessing a dremel with some kind of grinding attachment because I can't see sandpaper doing much.

Thanks in advance.
 

Hondo

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Oct 26, 2005
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SE Michigan
Actually, they are pretty soft, and a medium sandpaper on a block would not take too long. I have used a sanding drum on a Dremel for all of the ones I have done. I have taken them as close as I am comforatable to the die inside, not quite flat, just a little dome shape. Then I polish down through sandpaper grades all the way to 2000 grit (auto body finishing paper), and then buff. If you use it with a parabolic reflector, it will make a tighter spot, reflecting the light out the sides of the LED off of the reflector. Without a parabolic reflector, it will produce almost no hot spot at all, just a wide flood of light. I don't have the Tikka, so not sure which it has.


Hondo
 

TorchBoy

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Jan 15, 2007
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New Zealand
The only shaping of 5mm LEDs that I've done I just sawed the top off them, then maybe used a bit of sandpaper or a fine file to smooth it off a bit. Since I just wanted a broad light for backlighting a radio's LCD I didn't worry to much about making the new surface optical quality.
 

cutlerylover

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Oct 5, 2006
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Pennsylvania, USA
I have LED keychain lights on ym keys one of them original and it has decent throw, the other identical light but I canded the dowm down to nothing, that light I use for in the car light like readign a map so its easy on the eyes...Works like a charm, all flood, no hotspot...
 

ken2400

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Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
227
I have had good luck using a hack saw and sand paper. Don't cut too much off just enought to get to dome off the top. I did not have the real fine stuff so I just used some 200 and then put clear nail polish over the LED when I was done.

Good luck.
Minjin said:
I know this topic was talked more about in the past than in recent years, but I can't seem to find any threads that describe the process. Can anyone direct me to a thread that would help me out? Or has anyone had success cutting down the 5mm LEDs to shape its output?

I just swapped LEDs in my Petzl Tikka Plus for 55k JELEDs and its now a few orders of magnitude brighter. However, I'd like to take some of that extra light that is concentrated into a spot and make it more floody. The cut down LED in my Dorcy Turtlelight is rounded but I seem to recall some people just cutting it down flat at the end. Also, what are people using to do this? I'm guessing a dremel with some kind of grinding attachment because I can't see sandpaper doing much.

Thanks in advance.
 

hank

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 12, 2001
Messages
1,561
Location
Berkeley CA
I've been wondering about using the tool made for countersinking screwheads in wood -- cuts a wide shallow conical hole. Doing that then polishing the inside ought to throw all the light out to the sides toward a reflector.

So many project ideas, so little time ...
 
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