Picture of Adjustable Ski and Bike Helmet Mount for LED Flashlight
If you've seen my previous featured instructable, you know that I like to make bright LED lights that are helmet mountable. I thought my last one was pretty good, and at the time it was the best helmet mounted bike/ski light I could get for the money and effort. Well, it just so happens that a few months ago I was browsing the many different wares at my local Costco when I discovered much to my horror a bubble wrap package that contained, for the insanely low price of $29.99, three 200 lumen flashlights that are not only brighter than the one I made but also more weatherproof, shock resistent, and reliable than anything I can build. Realizing I was beaten, I bought the three flashlights and a big ol' stack of AAA batteries and went home to find a new hobby. I paused to look for a helmet mount for one of these things before gathering my tools and workbench into a giant garbage bag and heading to the knitting store for some yarn and crochet hooks. 

Boy was I pleased to find that there was still a use for my craftiness after all! I found a lot of DIY solutions utilizing velcro that didn't look particularly stable or adjustable. I saw some 'universal' mounts out there that looked flimsy and dubious just from the pictures. Nobody had anything that utilized the O-ring trick, which surprises me considering that so many biking accessories (from lights to speedometers, what have you) have gone the O-ring route, because it just makes so much sense. Overall, it didn't look like anyone was really trying all that hard to make this work. It seems there just isn't any incentive for bike light manufacturers to build and sell a cheap accessory that would essentially render their entire high end, higher margin product line of over priced bike lights obsolete. Go figure!!! 

"Well then," I thought, "Maybe I'll just postpone burning my workbench and tools in one giant pile next to the duck pond for another day or so and see if I can come up with a solution that will make me look at least as brilliant and innovative as I looked in the last instructable." 

So I got to working, and re-using the O-ring mounted base I created for my last light, I came up with an adjustable mount for one of these venerable, screaming good deal, bright lights. I think that, combined with a good 900 lumen bar mount light, this should brighten even the darkest trails when I want to do some after work biking or skiing in the dark depths of Winter.  

The big advantage this approach has over just about any other mount I've found for any sort of light is the big wing nuts that operate the tilt mechanism. Most light mounts have some claptrap with a screw and some sort of nylock nut or similar device that is always either too loose or too tight when you're covered in mud, it's snowing, and your flat blade screwdriver is on your Leatherman which is currently in the top of your pack which you would have to take off in order to retrieve. Why should you have to be getting out a tool to adjust your headlamp anyway? And shouldn't the tilt be something you can adjust quickly and the lock into place? Also, everyone knows that tiny screws and nuts are intrinsically predisposed to work themselves out of place and onto the ground only in the dark and only over rock slides and gravel piles. So why not go with a design that's a little less stupid? The mechanism I have devised can be easily adjusted even with the most be-gloved or be-mittened hands. 
ericCycles3 years ago
Maybe this has been asked before with other bike headlamp projects: what happens if you take a tumble and hit your head? On a flat surface, a helmet would normally offer you some protection by distributing the force and absorbing some of the energy over a relatively large area. However, with a firmly mounted flashlight between you and the ground, I would see the flashlight as being driven through the foam and into your head.

My dark sense of humour is imagining this in a horror movie; the case of the light fractured, the light stuck in flash mode, and leaking current causing corpse's eyes to blink in synchronicity with the light.

josefski (author)  ericCycles3 years ago
That's a vivid scene. Call up Bruce Campbell and see if you can get a movie made.

The long and the short answer is I don't know. Part of the reason I mounted this one with an O-ring was because it's elastic and so will offer some give on an impact. I also made sure that the mount was flat against the helmet with a large surface area, so that it's less likely to be able to sink in. Hopefully it'll just get torn off. My bigger concern would actually be that this causes further spinal damage if it catches on something, but again, I don't really know. It's a valid concern. I know that ski helmets (which I originally designed this for) are meant to absorb impacts from sharp things (like rocks) so it may not be as big a problem there. The same goes for mountain biking helmets as well. I haven't found a good answer on this, maybe that's why helmet mounts are hard to find.

Of course, mounting on the handlebars presents its own impalement issues does it not?