ChapStick LED Flashlight

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Picture of ChapStick LED Flashlight
This is an instructable on how to make a flashlight out of a ChapStick tube. After reading up on multiple LED instructables I thought it would be neat to make an original design that had not been done before. Since button cell batteries can be expensive, I went with an A23 (12V) battery that cost less than $2.00 for two.
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Step 1: What you'll need:

Picture of What you'll need:
ChapStick Tube
Tactile Switch
A23 Battery (12V)
470-Ohm Resistor
10mm White LED (28,500mcd, 20mA, 3.5V)
Heat Shrink Tubing
"N" Battery Holder
J-B Weld

Step 2: Soldering the LED & resistor

Picture of Soldering the LED & resistor
Cut the negative lead of the LED to 1/4" and solder the resistor to it. Shrink some heat shrink tubing over it and put both leads through the top of the ChapStick platform.

Step 3: Completing the top section

Picture of Completing the top section
Cut the spring from the "N" battery holder (leaving the plastic portion it's attached to intact), and cut a 1/4" section from the bottom portion of the ChapStick. Insert the 1/4" section into the bottom of the platform, (this will help to make the base of the spring more stable. Slide the positive lead of the LED through the center of the spring, solder it to the base of the spring and then clip any remaining portion of the lead off.

Step 4: The switch

Picture of The switch
Cut a square in the bottom portion large enough to put the tactile switch through. Position the switch to where the button sticks out just slightly past the bottom. After it's in place, J-B Weld the back side (the portion that goes up into the tube). After the J-B Weld dries, you can trim it up with a razor blade.
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nice project. I "invented" something similar in medical school in 1995. The equivalent of a doctor's pen light, used two chapstick tubes, small incandescent bulb and battery.
dikshas132 months ago

could we use other glues??

BCat (author)  dikshas132 months ago
Absolutely. I would think any epoxy-type glue would work.
shinybluestuds made it!4 months ago

Woohoo! Thank you for this instructable - this was a great intro to Soldering 101. I love my tiny flashlight.

zackboston7 months ago
Our Eek! Electronics Explorers Klub in Boston chose this as their intro to electronics project and all of them successfully completed their flashlight! Thanks so much from the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn Program. . .
jrivas5271 year ago
i can't find a 10 mm led light at radio shack. is it possible to use a 5mm led light with the 470 ohm resistor? can it take 12v?
BCat (author)  jrivas5271 year ago
This is a good instructable to help you with your question:
So, in step 5.... I didn't understand the instructions. Could you explain them a little better? I really want to build this.
BCat (author)  Adambowker982 years ago
What portion of the step are you needing further explanation on?
I don't understand what you are putting on the bottom and what you are doing.
BCat (author)  Adambowker982 years ago
I just put a little piece of plastic down, between the two terminals of the tactile switch and soldered a metal tab (on top of the plastic) to one of the terminal connections on the tactile switch. Be careful because the plastic piece can melt. (This is the portion that the negative side of the battery will rest on.) The other terminal of the tactile switch has a piece of wire soldered to it (which you should actually do first.)

Clear as mud?
But what good is the plastic between the two terminals?
BCat (author)  Adambowker982 years ago
It raises the metal tab up to make contact with the bottom of the battery and keeps it from making contact with the other terminal.
stormy03143 years ago
Could you use a voltage regulator instead of a resistor. I am just getting started in electronics and am not sure of all the substitutions.
Maybe, but I think the resistor would work better for this project anyways considering its size.
BasicCarl12 years ago
can u use LED christmas lights? (the small ones)
yes it worked for me
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Venemot3 years ago
Just letting you guys know a23 batteries have 8 1.5 volt button cells
kieperm3 years ago
This is a great project. I started to tear apart the 12v battery and putting only 3 cells together. This way I don't need a resistor and save some $$ on the battery. Now if I could find a tool the would cut the 5mm square hole for the switch I could make these a little faster for some friends and Family.
kieperm3 years ago
me and my daughter thought this would be a fer cool project to try out. I we are using the ( as our switch and since it has 4 posts on it I am not 100% sure how to wire it up so it will work. Any help would be great thanks
I believe the posts opposite each other are connected. as long as you connect posts that aren't directly opposite, it should work.
This might have been said already (or something similar) but what if you picked up a cheap scanning radio from the dollar store and attach the volume wheel to the spinning end of the chaptick? then you have light brightness controll; perfect for looking during the night without waking up ur wife. (lulz i dont have wife though, me only 18)
arukaen5 years ago
Im new to the whole electronics hobby scene. Im trying todo this as my first project. So far I've failed horribly lol. I bought 2 LEDs one that I soldered and I think in my soldering screwed it up because it wont turn on when I connect it to my electronics lab kit. Then second one turned on but blew out. -_-
You need to use resistors to reduce the current flow.
Munchys4 years ago
Could i shrink heat shrink with a blow dryer?
taleya Munchys3 years ago
You can, but you need a fairly beefy one. I've done it - if you have a salon-style hairdryer you can do it, but a cheapie one won't generate the heat.
BCat (author)  Munchys4 years ago
I don't think a blow dryer gets hot enough. No access to a lighter or matches huh?
Munchys BCat4 years ago
I didnt know i could use a lighter
Robot Lover4 years ago
this is really cool. I was thing of this idea a few days ago, but the switch was a pot that makes the led dim. 5*
Osiris194 years ago
 Could you use a SPST switch instead so you don't have to hold it down?
BCat (author)  Osiris194 years ago
Osiris19 BCat4 years ago
 What type would you recommend?
BCat (author)  Osiris194 years ago
The free type.  Honestly, I don't know.  I got my switch from a broken DVD player.  I'd probably get something like this:
Osiris19 BCat4 years ago
 But, how would that work? It's rated at 250VAC and 3A. This switch would probably be better considering it's in the size range but the leads are little small.
acgr465 years ago
hey its very cool new ati this things so its kind of difficult to follow some of the steps but i will try it. Where can i find the material?
Osiris19 acgr464 years ago
j574sbi5 years ago
sell me one?
chinchymork5 years ago
wow what a great Instructable! I love it. I have seen this before and I just got around to making it! I did a crude job but it still works thats the main part! instead of your switch I found a momentary switch that I used it works great!
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