Introduction: 1000+ Lumen MTB Light - Drill / Miter Saw

Picture of 1000+ Lumen MTB Light - Drill / Miter Saw

FIRST POST!! Last year I set out to create a MTB light (Helmet and Bar) for trail riding without breaking the bank and with reasonable tooling and parts sourcing.  Everything here was sourced from Fastenal, Newark Electronics, Battery Space and LED  To say the least, I'm very happy with the results and have even sold MANY of these.  The only power tools used were a miter saw (with non-ferous blade), drill press, dremel tool and sander (for finish work.)  hand tools and a soldering iron as needed.  I had a calibration lab measure the lumen output for this item over a period of time and the average output was around 1125lum per setup.  I'm driving these MC-E LED's at 700mA each (separate driver for each one) which would equate to 1400lum but once you figure in heat, optics, etc, you have a bit of loss.  Batteries are 14.8V 4.4AHr Li-Ion which are great and I'm running one spot and one flood lens on each setup (run time has been full power for >3 hours without noticing any loss in light output).  Mount was from a $3 flashlight from eBay.  Driving the LED's separatly has a couple advantages, main one for me is if one goes out,... you're not in the dark :-)

Step 1: Brief Instructions

Picture of Brief Instructions

The first and most critical cut is slicing the main aluminum box - the cut is made the exact thickness of the LED's plus the lens and housing to hold them tight (no glue for the lens so you can change later if needed.  I used 80/20 Inc extrusion to hold the work while cutting

Step 2: Heat Sink

Picture of Heat Sink

Second most critical part - the heat sink.  YES, if you stop pedaling with these lights (since you're driving them at 700mA each) they WILL heat up and get dimmer - pedal faster ;-)  The heat sink is simply aluminum bar stock with slits cut - i used spacers in the holder to align them equaly.  Bevel the edges afterwards.  Sand with 220 to get a smooth finish for later mounting the LED's

Step 3: Step Bit and Dry Fit

Picture of Step Bit and Dry Fit

Drilling the lens hole and dryfitting.  Yes - use a set of calipers - tape measure is not accurate enough.

Step 4: LED's and More Dryfit

Picture of LED's and More Dryfit

Align the LED's with the holes by overlaying the material - use artic silver to attach them.  Dry fit the whole think.  Also - the only part I bought from Fastenal were the long and VERY skinny screws - I tapped and drilled in the past but this was by far a better approach.

Step 5: Final Pictures

Picture of Final Pictures

The wiring - it's pretty basic: battery, cables, switch, driver then LED ;-)  I added a couple final pictures with the mount visable.  Again, the mount in this picture was taken from 2 eBay flashlights - worked really well.  Hope you enjoyed this.  Thanks for checking this out!

Step 6: Schematic / Parts List

Picture of Schematic / Parts List
Added Schematic.
Hope this helps.

Parts: (Total Price ends up being around $207 depending on sorce of materials.)
$ / ea         QTY     Sub $          Description        Source                            Part
23.00 2 46.00 Cree MC-E LED (700mA Version) LED Supply
1.00 2 2.00 LED Holder LED Supply
7.00 1   Artic Silver LED Supply
1.00 1 1.00 Spot Lens LED Supply
1.00 1 1.00 Med Lens LED Supply
17.00 2 34.00 700mA Driver LED Supply
5.00 1 5.00 Water Grommet Battery Space
10.00 1 10.00 Battery Connectors Battery Space
6.00 1 6.00 Light Bar Mount eBay find NA
1.00 4 4.00 M4x3" Screws Fastenal NA
8.00 1 8.00 Case – Box Enclosures Newark Electronics
  NA   Aluminum Heat Sink Home Depot NA
2.00 1 2.00 Small Switch Newark Electronics Switches&in_merch=Popular Products&MER=PPSO_N_C_Switches_None
  NA   Misc Screws Stock NA
  NA   Misc Velcro for cables Stock NA
68.00 1 68.00 Li-Ion Battery 14.8V 4400mAh Battery Space
20.00 1 20.00 Charger Battery Space


philothewhisp (author)2016-06-12

A hacksaw and file would do this in the same time as the machinery set-up...! The result the same.

faitouri (author)2013-01-17

can i buy this from you? how much would it cost?

mtbgrinder (author)faitouri2014-02-27

Yes, it has taken a while to get the CNC machining up and running, the new designs completed etc but in short, yes these will be for sale. I will also be selling a very inexpensive kit of the machined case for the DIY crowd too :-) basically, add an LED, driver, switch and battery and you're up and running with one of these. To date, I'm still running my original pair and they are still the brightest thing on the trails and roads!

mtbgrinder (author)faitouri2013-02-21

Hang tight... Revision 2 is coming soon :-) I may be offering a CNC milled version where you pick/choose your own parts! I'll post when it's ready. Thank you so much for asking!

How much would the cost be? If its in my range, I'd love one for my mountain bike.

Advar (author)mtbgrinder2013-10-03

Count me in, too. "Bright" idea! :)

misobrilliant (author)2012-12-06

You indicate that you sold many of these - how much and can I buy one? Thanks,


mtbgrinder (author)misobrilliant2012-12-06

Emailed Separatly - There was not much margin in it after teh parts and time but yes, I would make them again. My turn around is long right now - Santa's workshop is in full swing ;-)

FIREBALL (author)mtbgrinder2013-12-05

I would be interested in one also if your still building them?

Please email me the details @

Thank You

i would like to have one also.

please email me the details @

misobrilliant (author)mtbgrinder2012-12-06

Understood. I'm in no rush. If you make another, I'd like to buy it! Thanks!

Bilal Bin Siraj (author)2012-12-08

Nice ible
just below i saw Doonular asking if fan could be added to the design. can be done difficult but not impossible.

i have another one.
add a sensor that detect the wheel movement or speed and if below a certain speed range the MAIN LED's would turn off (save it from over heating) and a secondary small led would turn on (so that you can see your way and not invisible to others in the dark).

Good idea - how about this: the drivers have an input that can be a resistance, dc level or PWM. I could use a 2 wire RTD mounted in the heats sink to measure the temperature. This would be fed to a comparator with a trim pot on the other leg. The result would be when the RTD reaches "x" temperature, the comparator puts a determined dc level on the LED drivers causing them to dim. Once the heats sink cools, the dc level would drop and the LED's would be at full power. I like it! To be clear though, I've never had a problem with overheating using this big heat sink (really, the whole case draws heat away too.) my comment about heat was only precautionary. Thanks

sounds good enough.
i come to think of it overheating wont occur as LED's will be operating at night time and after sunset temperatures drop significantly, in case you are riding downwind or coasting behind a large vehicle the heat-sink wont get enough wind over it hence over heating :) .

tvignos (author)2012-12-07

Sorry for such a newbie question, what is the aluminum stock. And where did you source? I am a woodworker who is willing to tinker in metal.

mtbgrinder (author)tvignos2012-12-07

I hear you - I've used this stuff for many of my woodworking tools and the accuracy improvements alone are worth it. 80/ is my source - mostly from their web store on ebay and through Fastenal. There are many other brands and sizes other than 80/20. Do a search for 80/20 on and you'll find a bunch of ideas.

Phaero (author)2012-12-07

Would be cool to set this up so that it uses a reCycle, or something similar, to recharge the batteries while riding.

bobble293 (author)2012-12-07

Your light is excellent!

I noticed your reference to drilling and tapping for fasteners in the past, and that you now source long skinny screws. The red anodised extrusions (and probably the silver ones) usually have provision for "roll tapping" with fluteless taps, or with thread forming screws. This provision is not always a full circle, often only 270 degrees, but makes life easier. "Tri-Lobular" screws are among the suitable types. Establish the correct size fastener by measuring the hole with a vernier, or a digital caliper, then search for a screw whose "effective" diameter matches that measurement. Note that, because no cutting of threads occurs, the diameter of the hole is larger than the normal tapping size. I usually use fluteless taps in my battery drill on low speed, taking care to align the tap accurately with the hole.

mtbgrinder (author)bobble2932012-12-07

I should clear this point up - the long and skinny screws are to hold the whole "sandwiched" part together (covers, front, hearsink and back.) These screws fit nice an nsnug without forcing them into the setup. The screws I tapped are for attaching the mount to the underside. Although it hit me last night that in the furure, I'll probably just rivet the mount to the underside or made a 3D print that clips onto the side of the red case.

NitroRustlerDriver (author)2012-12-06

FYI, the LED can be had for cheaper here:

They also sell drivers, lenses, lithium batteries and misc flashlight parts. I've built a few flashlights from parts there. Since it is shipping from Hong Kong though, expect deliver to take 1-2 months.

Fantastic - thanks!! Now if I could just drive down the cost of the Li-Ion battery packs!

pompom728 (author)mtbgrinder2012-12-07

Be careful with DealExtreme they have a history of taking forever to ship things out. Or at least that's how they were a year or so ago, not sure now. Do a little research before you buy if you don't like to wait on parts!

Like I said, expect delivery to take 1-2 months. It's not that they take a long time to ship from their warehouse, it's that it has to travel half way around the world.

i have had items shipped from different parts of china including shanghai and shipping has only taken around a week to UK so there is no reason to have to wait for 1-2 months unless they use the lowest cost shipper they can get hold of, dead mule etc.

t.rohner (author)Poppy_Ann2012-12-07

I ordered a couple of things there. It takes a very long time some times.
I don't think it's the shipping time, that takes that long. But rather their limited warehouse, so they need to backorder most of the items.

mhdesign (author)2012-12-06

Wow, this is great. What's the battery set up like?

steve000 (author)2012-12-06

Fantastic Guide!

On a side note, for the batteries I use flightmax batteries for everything, You can get a 5amp hard case for around $22 and up to 8amp soft case for $50

Doonular (author)2012-12-06

Nice job mtbgrinder, it looks like a really nice light. As for it heating up when you're not moving fast enough... to help avoid damaging the LED's, have you considered adding a small fan to your design, like one from a laptop, that would be triggered by a temperature sensor and help cool it if there wasn't enough airflow? It would use a small amount of battery power, but would probably be a very worthy precaution for such a nice light.

mtbgrinder (author)Doonular2012-12-06

Fan is an idea I had not considered but would work and may be a good addition. For the time being I had not seen any decrease in light with lower airflow... Just more of a precaution as OEM lights will say the same thing if you stop for a while. Maybe just to conserve power but I'm sure it helps keep them cool too. I had considered "air-scoops" to draw in more cool air but when these were tested they stayed consistiantly cool so I never changed the design. Ascetics were really important for this project... I had made other designs for alot less in the past but the clean design won. Thanks for the idea!

JamesRPatrick (author)2012-12-06

Good job. Love the BOM.

NealH (author)2012-12-05

a bill of material and schematic would be nice

mtbgrinder (author)NealH2012-12-05

I have now added an overall parts source to the last step - Thanks.

sdgenxr (author)mtbgrinder2012-12-05

Love the ible! Could you provide a more detailed parts list to include part numbers or links to the specific items? I can't seem to figure out which LED, drivers and size of battery packs you used and they would really be helpful in recreating your light for the rest of us.

Thanks for the great inspiration.  Since the days are getting shorter and night rides are becoming more often, a light like this would be very useful!

mtbgrinder (author)sdgenxr2012-12-06

I updated the last page of the post! Thanks for the comments! Just make sure to look at the data sheet for teh LED link - it will be listed as a 430lum or 350mA LED but you can drive them much higher according to the specs.

gtoal (author)2012-12-06

My solution is a bit less high tech than yours and not perhaps as much fun to make, but I suspect a lot cheaper :-) At the moment I'm having a lot of fun with my bike and some Christmas lights made from controllable LED strips. I may follow up with an 'ible after I've checked to see if anyone has done it already.

frapedia (author)2012-12-05

Nice, love it!
well done!

mtbgrinder (author)frapedia2012-12-06


keng (author)2012-12-06
mtbgrinder (author)keng2012-12-06

Right!!! Keeps em' cool!

ak08820 (author)2012-12-06

This will be more complete if total cost, part numbers and prices of the parts are provided.

mtbgrinder (author)ak088202012-12-06

Yep, all better now. I should have done this initially. -Thanks for looking!

mtbgrinder (author)2012-12-06

;-) Updated... first post - finally figured out how to format and get it listed. -Thanks

scottder (author)2012-12-06

Dunno if I would want to point 1000 lumens into oncoming traffic.

mtbgrinder (author)scottder2012-12-06

Plus, I have another 1000 on the helmet! No shadows in teh trails for sure which makes going over logs etc much faster - Love this time of year riding at night on the trails... but, yes, oncoming traffic is a challenge. However, the driver i use can also be dimmed with a simple variable pot. -Thanks

hausi (author)2012-12-06

Could you tell us which batterypack your using (mAh?) and how long it lasts?

mtbgrinder (author)hausi2012-12-06

Updated post - 4.4AHr Pack from Battery Space - lasts over 3 hours... I use identical setups on my bar and helmet.
-Thanks for asking

mhb (author)2012-12-06

Battery life?

mtbgrinder (author)mhb2012-12-06

Well over 3 hours without noticing any light output loss.

mspence (author)2012-12-06

This is a great project and idea. Could you please add a specific detailed parts list to include part numbers or links to the specific items, along with total estimated cost.

Thank you

audreyobscura (author)2012-12-04

Could you include a schematic of how you wired the LEDs?

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