Winter is coming in Fairbanks. A headlamp is something of necessity here, when the hours of daylight dwindle to 6 per day. A lot of time is spent in the dark. Unfortunately, I'm awful about forgetting my headlamp when I'm headed out for the day. What I don't forget, however, is my hat. It's flexible, not too bulky, and can fit in my back pocket. Of course, this idea has been done quite a few times with baseball caps, but those are a bit of a non-starter in cold climates. And I don't wear baseball caps, really. So here is my winter beanie headlamp.
Step 1: Materials
This is fairly straightforward idea, and only requires a few basic things. You should be able to build this for under 10 dollars if you've already got a hat. Since I was unsure if having an LED sticking out of my forward would make me look like a dweeb, I used one of my cheaper black knit hats.
You will need:
5mm high brightness LED (white)
CR2032 button-cell battery holder
CR2032 3V battery
A switch of your choice (I used a slide switch. Momentary could work if you want to have to hold the button down for an on-demand sort of deal. There are also way better switches that could be used. Something like the soft switches you find in headlamps would be way nicer than my semi-ghetto solution.)
Thread and needle
About half an hour or free time.
Step 2: Cut Your Hat Open
Cut your hat open along the bottom edge, that way we can stuff all of the internals inside of the hat. I would say that at the most you need to make a 3" incision, just barely enough to do some positioning in there.
Be sure to decide whether you want to have your LED bulb face out when the hat is rolled up, or if you'll want to wear it without rolling (like in the photo). Cut a small (I mean absolutely tiny) hole for your led to fit through. Poke the two legs of the LED through the fabric of the hat, then bend them to feed them through to the inside of the hat, where you can access them from the cut that you have made in the edge of the hat. The legs of the LED also provide an anchor for the bulb, helping to keep it in place.
Step 3: Solder
Solder the LED to the battery through the switch. I used a small amount of electrical wire I had around to get from the battery holder's positive terminal to the switch, then soldered the positive leg of the LED directly to the switch. The negative leg of the LED was wired directly to the negative of the battery holder.
Step 4: Sew
Adjust the parts inside of the hat to your liking, and make sure to try the hat on so that you don't realize that you've left the battery holder or any other part in an awkward position that either looks weird or is uncomfortable.
After, sew any pieces in place that you need to keep solid (for me, the slide switch needed to be sewed into place) and then sew the brim of the hat shut again.
Step 5: Hang Out in the Dark
Go someplace dark and check it out. While the single bulb isn't bright enough to light up objects more than 10 or so feet away, it is bright enough to make a difference on a dark night when you need to find your keys, use the outhouse, etc.
From about three or four feet away, a person can tell that you've got something on your hat, but it's hardly as noticeable as a massive headlamp!