Intro to Fab. – Week 1

Homemade Flashlight

This week’s assignment is to build a flashlight — something portable and that lights up.

I had a couple ideas to start, the first was to repurpose a small juice jar and have the transparent bottom of it be where the light is shone, and to use the twist cap as an on/off function.

A second idea I thought up was to create a small box and have a panel at the front that lifts up and down to turn the light on and off. I was thinking of one of those pin hole cameras and that’s where the idea kind of stemmed from.

Pictured below is the juice jar and a couple of basic sketches.

Before building anything out, I built a simple circuit on a breadboard to make sure I had connections correct.

Before moving the circuit to a proto-board, I planned out my enclosure a bit more. I decided to go with the box plan rather than reusing a glass jar.

I gathered my materials– I have this big sheet of what I believe is compressed cardboard or chipboard leftover from last semester and so I decided to use that.

The bottom two sketches are how I was going to have a removable side so that I could access the circuit and battery holder in the future.

Next, I cut out the pieces I would need for my enclosure, and started to roughly assemble it with some paper tape before making any permanent adjustments.

As I continued to build out the enclosure, I drilled some holes onto one end of the box for the LEDs to shine through. The material I was using was pretty soft so the holes are pretty rough and messy because of the loose fibers.

With the holes drilled, I worked on the placement of the LEDs to make sure the light would actually project out of the box.

Before securing the enclosure, I wired the proto-board. I ran into a couple of hiccups and by hiccups I mean I burned a few LEDs. After adjusting the issue – I had a wiring problem and overloaded the LEDs. I worked on securing it into the box.

I had another hiccup once the wiring was right, but the second bulb burnt out — still not quite sure what was wrong, but I’m 99.9% I had the anode/cathode orientation correct.

The ‘pushbutton’ action is done with two wires covered in copper tape that are connected when a panel (also covered in copper tape) is pressed down bridging the gap.

It was a little finicky. My original idea was for the light to turn OFF when the lid was open, and ON when the panel was pressed down. I did it a bit wrong, and with the combination of the spotty connection, the light now is just a push ON/OFF and doesn’t latch ON.

Lastly, I just finished closing up the enclosure and adding the top lid that slides out to access the inside of the box.

Well, it’s portable and it lights up!

The drill holes aren’t pretty though.

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