Glowing laser cut pendant with magnetic battery holder


After trying out various designs over the last couple of months (check out my other Instructables), I finally came up with this one. Inspired by the Led Earring instructable, I ended up using magnets to hold a coin cell battery and act as contacts for the LED. The cool part is that the battery actually serves as a switch - slide it up to turn on the light, push it down to turn it off. And as a bonus - you do not need a screwdriver to pull out the battery (as opposed to SMD battery holders).

I made about 15 such pendants and gifted them in the last Burning Man (2013). It was a blast :)

Short warning - I did not have direct access to a laser cutter at the time, so this design is not perfect. You'll need to make small adjustments to the parts you cut, so make some extra parts. Just in case.

Also, note that the pendant is asymmetrical.So make sure you align all the parts properly before cutting and gluing. I guess next time I should add "up" and "down" engravings on the pieces themselves.


And again:

Changing colors:

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Step 1: Materials

You'll need the following:
  • 5mm slow flashing LED. Or a fast flashing LED, it's up to you
  • 3mm Plywood sheet
  • 1mm clear or "frosty" acrylic. 1.5 and 2mm should be OK too - as you'll see later on, we make several layers anyway
  • CR2032 battery
  • Two M2 (or is it 2M ) screws, 16mm long
  • One 1/4" x 1/8" x 1/8" Block Neodymium Magnet N45 (or stronger)
  • Two 3mm x 5mm Cylinder Neodymium Rare Earth Magnets N45 (or stronger)
  • 400 grit sandpaper (to make clear acrylic look "frosty")
  • Epoxy glue
  • Superglue with a small tip 
  • Optional - conductive glue (you'll see why)
If you decide to go for different magnets (for example, the slightly smaller 6x6x3mm block magnet), don't forget to change to the design accordingly.

Below you can find the design as DXF and as PDF files. Make sure you used the right material for each file.
Files are now also available in SVG format.
SteveEisner10 days ago

Really beautiful work. I'd like to try to make something similar and will "borrow" your templates to start the project ;) Thanks! May I ask where you found your magnets BTW?

BTW in 2002 I made something similar, only with EL wire, and handed out 20 of them at the Burn. I'm sure you'd agree that the best part of making these kinds of projects is giving them away :)

It feels really wonderful to see the happy looks on people's face and knowing you and your projects is making them happy when they got the stuff.

OrenLederman (author)  SteveEisner10 days ago

EL wire pendants? nice! I was thinking of that at some point. Do you have a photo?

For the second batch of pendants that i'm making for this year, I ended up ordering the following magnets:



Make sure you enlarge the holes, as these magnets are slightly larger than the ones on my original files. I strongly recommend that you get the round hole right before you cut the whole batch (it's more difficult to work with acrylic..).

Another tip - glue the LEDs to the acrylic part using epoxy glue. Then place a drop of conductive glue on the connection of each LED terminal and magnet. Let it dry. Then place some epoxy glue on top. It take a lot of work, but it's worth it. It will make the whole thing much stronger.

Are you coming to the Playa this year?

Nice job and I am trying to make one using the sketch you provided. But the dxf file of plywood is wrong, actually it's acrylic again. We would be really glad if you could upload the right dxf file of plywood.Thanks~^_^

OrenLederman (author)  LockonStratos1 month ago

I just double-checked... the files are OK. Try to download again

Thank you. It seems there some problems continually popping up on my CAD. I made some modifies and now trying to make some prototype. Your brilliant work is perfect for being modified to be a part of something else which I long to make and your ideas really helps.Thank you so much~~

OrenLederman (author)  LockonStratos20 days ago

Thanks :) send me a link when it's ready

No problem, the plywood parts are still on the way. I designed some of my own patterns hoping to make some difference. And I end up with the idea that your design is perfect for this pendant. However some problem that I haven't expected occurred and I got some other issues to deal with, seems it's gonna be a long wait. Thank you~

mmmmqc8 months ago
I've been struggling to figure out how to use your DXF files to laser cut. I only know about using SVG or EPS in 2D vector drawing programs to send to the laser cutter. When I open the DXF file in those programs they want to rescale and the 1:1 looks way too big, unless that is really how big the pendant is. There are no dimensions mentioned in your Instructable. Also, how large of a piece of acrylic or wood is needed to cut the pattern? I really want to make this!!
OrenLederman (author)  mmmmqc8 months ago
Actually, I never used the laser cut myself :) I sent them to a friend who had an access to a laser cutter and he requested DXF files. The files were originally created with Adobe Illustrator.

If anyone has recommendations on what's the best way of exporting the files - please share, and I will update the Instructable.
I think you can export as SVG file from Adobe Illustrator.
OrenLederman (author)  mmmmqc8 months ago
Done. Let me know if it's ok
That should work. Excellent! Thanks!
htariq29 months ago
really well done, good job.
Would it be possible to place the drawings in a more 'universal' format than the dxf file format?
I, and I suppose most of us, do not have a CAD program installed and I have no need to install such a program either. Looked up some viewers, but they are either 'big' or don't work properly without having to install other software. I don't want to mess up my PC.
But I would very much like to see your drawings, so I can have a better look into the structure of things. I tried Irfanview with a plugin, but all I got was the filename... :/
Maybe you could use PostScript or even just png of jpg.
Thanks in advance.
OrenLederman (author)  MerlinTheGreat9 months ago
As far as I know, dxf is the universal format for vector graphics. Converting it to an image prevents you from changing the scale. I was going to suggest that you use , which is a lightweight, free software to open/view it, but for some reason it doesn't work well with these files. Weird.

Anyway, just in case, i'm adding a PDF version.
Thank you very much. At least now I have something as a guide for determining the measurements.
Normally Irfanview should show the files by using the plugin, but it didn't work this time. No idea why.
This is awesome. I really like it.
It's way cool and yet so simple. Massive thumbs up for this!
I'm going to make this myself. Maybe I'll try some other shapes.
bricobart9 months ago
Ingenious, liked!
solemnraven9 months ago
Brilliant use of technology, and beautiful design.
OrenLederman (author)  solemnraven9 months ago
thank you :)
I hope your embrace project is going well. :) ciao!
Lindie9 months ago
Nice job!
This would be cool with an ingress logo. Awesome idea! Good work!!
clinton959 months ago
Could I buy one off you :D
OrenLederman (author)  clinton959 months ago
Sorry, only got one left and I'm keeping it :)
andrea biffi9 months ago
doctorkred9 months ago
Very nice and simple / Muy bonito y sencillo
lux4x49 months ago
thank for your sharing!
lux4x49 months ago
Very nice! I ll makeit! Ilike it!
giladaya9 months ago
I really liked the magnetic holder|switch design.
Thanks for sharing
Artuglad9 months ago
Oh i love it like Wola, dode make more!
JCA1009 months ago
Great Idea - We have made a very similar key fob light, but adding the magnetic switch and making it into a pendant takes it to a whole new level. Many thanks for your ideas.
jessyratfink9 months ago
That's beautiful!