Instructables

Very Bright Lumos Wand for ~$10

This is a tutorial on how to make a wand capable of the Lumos charm from the Harry Potter universe for about $10.  It is so bright you can use it as a flashlight!

The key to this design is a high power LED.  I'm not talking about those little through-hole guys that you can use for underlighting your car... I'm talking about the 3 Watt LED's that they put in high powered flashlights!  So this Halloween, I chose to put one of these buggers to good use.  This project requires that you know how to solder.

Here's what you'll need:
  - 1 3W LED - $4 at Digikey (Anything with the same voltage rating will work)
  - 1 stick or piece of doweling cut 10 to 14 inches long
  - 1 Energizer Lithium Photo 123 Battery (3 volts, available at most drug stores)
  - 1 small switch
  - 2 yards of thin, insulated wire (I used thin speaker wire for this tutorial, but unobtrusive two-stranded wire works great too.)
  - Soldering iron and solder

 
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Step 1: Cut and wrap the stick

Picture of Cut and wrap the stick
I found that using a stick from an apple tree in my backyard.  The twisted branch worked great to add a slightly more organic feel to the wand.

Trim any extra twigs off the branch and cut the business end (the end which will have the light) perfectly flat.  This will be the spot where the LED will go, so you want it to sit well.

Once the stick is prepared, wrap two wires around its entire length.  (In one version, I cross-hatched them.  Using an amber colored wire, they added a nice pattern to the overall product.)  Once you have the wires in place, strip them to expose the conductor.

Idea: For a really authentic look without visible wires, you can split your wand down its length, cut out a channel on each side, run the wire inside and glue the pieces back together.  You could even steam and bend the wood when you're done to get that knobbly look.

You should now have two wires ending with an inch or so of slack at each end of the wand.

changorey2 years ago
cool,you should cover the wires in duct tape!
YngJoe3 years ago
I just found this and thought it was amazing. I don't have much experience with soldering, but would using small amounts of electrical tape work as well, before gluing it to the rod?



Also, I had a thought of maybe using a stick where the base is just as thick as the battery, and incorporating the battery into the handle using something non conductive but strong to hold it in place, again using a small piece of electrical tape and glue for those of us who have never used solder, covering it up with tape all around. Then maybe you could sink the power switch into the wand a bit to hide it.



Finally, paint the whole wand, minus the switch and LED to something wood grain like, and you have a working wand. Again, thanks for this instrucable, I think I might just make one, as all the ones I've found online seem to be really dim, and kinda defeat the purpose of having one. I'd give you ten out of five stars if I could.
Nice ideas, especially hiding the battery inside the wand's handle. It would be wise to use a momentary on switch so you don't accidentally burn out the LED or run the battery down.

It will be hard to get electrical tape to work reliably. The connections are very small and nearly impossible for wire wrapping and holding with tape.

Instead you could avoid soldering and LED overheating by purchasing Chemtronics' CW2460 60 minute electrically conductive epoxy. Be warned that the silver epoxy costs about the price of a good electronics soldering station.

I'd recommend learning to solder, since it will be a skill you can use over and over. Soldered connections are usually better and more reliable.  Start out just soldering wires together trying to not melt the insulation.
johnwt (author)  magicdust2 years ago
Thanks for the comments! I agree, that preventing the LED from overheating is a key detail that wasn't covered too well here. The key is getting an LED that works at right around the nominal cell voltage, so the current draw doesn't overheat it. For instance: A lipoly cell will burn out this LED while a 123 won't, due to the minor voltage difference. If you want to use the full capabilities of the LED, it will need to be heat-sunk and use a constant current source of some kind.

At some point, I'll try to post some pictures of a more effectively constructed wand.

Cheers!
(YOUR N3 years ago
LOVE THIS WOND
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