I have been cycling to work for almost a year now. Reason for doing this was to get some exercise and do my bit for the environment.
Everyday on my bike I used to think of ways of making myself visible [especially during the night]. Normally, bike riders [including me] use one of the readily available options, which is buying a pair of bike lights. But I wanted to do something different.
So, I came up with this idea of creating a sign that can be stuck on my backpack, making me visible and also help me in advertising/reminding people one of the better ways to commute - cycling.
This is a very simple yet effective project which can be done without the need of any complex electronics.
Step 1: Things Needed
- White translucent plastic CD case for holding single CD with top plastic film
- Green flexible LED strip with sticky tape on the back side [approx. 2 feet]]
- 9 V battery
- Battery Snapper
- Insulated wire
- Solder gun
- Solder wire
- Picture on black sticker/vinyl paper
- A4 OHP [overhead projector] sheet
- Nylon String
- 4 Badge clips
Why I picked up CD case for this project?
I wanted something which can diffuse light evenly and I found that white translucent plastic CD case is very good for this. More over the sleekness of the CD case makes it right candidate for this project. Also, diffusion of light is better in case of single CD case verses double, since the latter has got additional circular mount to prevent this diffusion
Step 2: Making the Picture template
- Remove existing CD cover template if any
- Measure the height and width of the front side of the CD case starting from where the top plastic film starts. This way you would get the right size for the overall picture since we are going to slip the picture template between this film and the hard case. Having this film is optional but comes handy if you want change picture template, just remove the existing one and slip a different one
- Design the picture in any of your favorite graphics editor [I have used Corel Draw]
- Get this picture printed on a black sticker/Vinyl paper
- Transfer/Stick this picture on to the OHP sheet and peel off the cycle and lettering porting of the sticker.
Note : what portion to peel off will depend entirely on your design. I wanted to highlight the picture of a cycle and the lettering. So, only that portion of the sticker was peeled off allowing the underneath light to escape from this area
- Using a scissors/blade cut along the picture outline
- Your picture template is ready
- Cut out another piece from the black sticker/vinyl paper for using it on rare side of the CD case just to block the light from escaping
Note: For people who are not very familiar with these tools, I have included the picture template of Corel Draw
Step 3: Putting picture in place
- Rotate the CD case such that the open sides are facing down and the smooth side is facing you
- Slip the picture template between the top film and the CD case so as to cover the entire front side
- Flip the CD case over and now slip the blank template between the top film and the CD case so as to cover the entire rare side
Step 4: Preparing and sticking LED strip
- Solder pair of insulated wire to the LED strip
- Solder the insulated wires from the LED strip to the switch and battery snapper
- Stick this LED strip inside along all the 4 edges of the CD case starting from one end of the center edge
- After you have stuck this strip on all 4 edges take the pair of insulated wire out from gap of center edge
Step 5: Attaching the clips
- Take 2 nylon threads and tie the badge clips to both its ends. The length of this thread will purely depend on your need. For me, a short thread was good enough
- With the CD case lid open, attach these clip-thread units to the 2 corners of the center edge of the CD case
- Now attach the other ends of these clips to the backpack
- Now attach the 9v battery to the snapper and you are all set!
Note: After you switch on the lights you may place the wire and the battery into any of the front pockets of your backpack