Introduction: Build Your Own Compact 3D Printed 100w Flashlight!
So after watching diy perks video on his 100w flashlight i got inspired to build my own. In the effort to spend less i decided to salvage or print most of the parts for the build. My version is based around a circular fan/heatsink salvaged from an old computer, these should be fairly common so you can easily follow along! The stock intel cooler should work if you scale down the handles.
The light can be fully controlled (on/off,brightness) from a 2-hand configuration or easily be carried with one hand like an old school lantern. The total cost of the project should be <30$ unless you buy a high quality led. This guide assumes that you have some basic knowledge of electronics, but could also be good first eletronics project if you have access to a 3d printer (you can also get the parts printed at 3D hubs). Lets get started!
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Step 1: Components
Before we start building we need the parts and the tools for the job. I wont provide links as they tend to expire on sites like alliexpress and ebay. Most of the parts should be available from the usual low price Chinese sellers.
3D printed parts:
The parts can be printed with a Coarse layer high as they are low detail. I would recommend a layer height of 0.3mm if you use a 0.4mm nozzle. print at 100% infill. The parts should take about an hour each. Abs or petg should be used.
1x left hand handle
1x right hand handle
1x battery mount
I would recommend that you dont use my led driver bracket as its can only be mounted on my specific fan/heat sink combo. If you dont want to design your own bracket you can print an extra battery holder and place your controller board on top of the heatsink.
The knob i used wasn't designed by me but can be found here.
1x 100w led - Can be found for about 2usd. sort by most orders to find the best ones. I would recommend a cold white but warm white (and other colors) works just as well.
1x 100w led driver - A generic board thats widely available. Both the single blue potentiometer and double is ok. This part is required as it boosts the voltage from the battery to 32v.
1x battery - 8 AA batteries does work but i prefer lipo or li-ion batteries.
1x meter of <16awg wire - I prefer silicon insulated wire for high amperage applications but any wire will work.
1x battery connector - A connector of some sort should always be used. I prefer xt60s.
1x toggle switch - i prefer the red 2 position switches. They are rated for 5A and should be sufficent for this project.
1x meter of ~ 20awg wire - For the regulating circuit.
2x 11k resistors - For the regulating circuit.
1x 10k potentiometer - For the regulating circuit.
1x led lens - should come with a reflector, a glass lens and an metal plate
4x m3 10mm screws and nuts - to connect the metal plate to the heatsink
1x tube of thermal paste - any version will do
1x pack of zipties - atleast 20, to mount the handles and secure the wires
Other useful parts:
1x Velcro - to make sure that the battery doesn't slide out
1x battery strap - to secure your battery to the battery holder
1x super glue - to mount the regulating circuit
1x hotglue - to secure the led
- Soldering iron and solder - to solder the led and the regulating circuit
- 3D printer - to print the parts
- pliers - to secure the zip ties
Step 2: Wiring Up the Electronics
First thing we have to do is solder wires to the led. The polarity of the led can be found by hovering over the image above. Twist and tin the wires and then stick them trough the hole in the protruding tabs on either side of the led. I would recommend that you cover the tabs and the exposed wire with either hot glue, superglue or clear nail polish. I prefer nail polish as it dries fast and can easily be removed if something has to be resoldered.
Next thing is to Solder the battery connector. Depending on the battery you can use different connectors but i always recommend that you use a xt60 pair. Always have some way of fully disconnecting the battery when working with high output batteries like lipos and li-ons.
Cut two 30cm wires and solder them to your connector of choice. Cover the exposed connector with glue or heatshrink.
Cut the positive cable 2/3 from the connector and solder on the switch (as shown above). Make sure that you cover up the switch. Also make sure that your fan cables (+ and -) can reach your driver board.
For the regulator circuit i would recommend you to watch diy perks video as he does a great job of explaining it. You can find the video here!
2,5A - 3A @ 12v (trough the led driver)
light @ low power - 1600 lux
light @ high power - 22000 lux
Note: Lux and lumens is not the same thing, my readings are in lux taken by a lightmeter.
Step 3: Putting It All Together
Note: As i mentioned in step 2 the bracket i made is very specific to my setup and if you not 100% sure that it will fit, i would recommend that you instead print another battery holder and glue your led driver to it. The second battery holder can be placed on top of heat sink without modifications.
Attaching the led
- Super glue the reflector to the led.
- Screw on the 3D printed adapter to the heat sinks sockets screws.
- Put a dab of thermal paste on the led and press it on to the heatsink.
- Add the glass lens and the metal plate on top of the led and screw the metal plate to the adapters.
- Make sure that the led is secured under the lens. If the led moves around, put a dab of glue between the led and the heatsink.
Attaching the handles
So now we are going to attach the handles and the battery holder to your heatsink. We do this by threading a zip tie trough the channels of the handles. Start by threading a zip tie trough the battery holder and attach a second zip tie to the one you just threaded. Dont tighten it more than a couple of "clicks". Pull that zip tie trough one of the handles (make sure that the hole for the potentiometer/switch is pointing towards you) and add a third zip tie. The handle should now be locked by zip tie 2 and 3. add zip tie 4 and 5 and guide them trough handle 2. Zip tie 5 should now be able to lock with zip tie 1.Put your heat sink in the middle of your loop and start tightening the zip ties on by one.
Finish it up!
You are almost done!
Attach the switch and the potentiometer to the handles. potentiometer on the left, switch on the right. glue the resistors and the blue potentiometer to the handle.
Plug in the battery and try it out! Make sure to not point the light directly at anyone.
Step 4: You Are Done!
Hopefully by now you have your own Portable sun! This project is not only a great flashlight, its also works great as lighting for filming/working at night.
If you found something confusing, please tell me in the comments below and i will try to help out!
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