Instructables

How to Build a LEGO Flashlight Block

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Some time ago, I came across an Instructable for a LEGO LED Flashlight (find it here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Lego-LED-Flashlight/) and loved the idea.  Inspired by one of the suggestions made in the comments section as well as a couple of ideas of my own, I designed and built my own version for my kids and they've been a huge hit.

The main improvement I wanted to make was to move the power switch under one of the LEGO block's studs so that it was hidden and yet still accessible.  The LED lights up when the stud is held down or when another LEGO block is attached to the top of the flashlight block.

So, read on to find out how to make your own LEGO Flashlight block!
 
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
To complete this project, you will need the following supplies:

1) A sacrificial LEGO block.
This will be the body of the finished block.  It should be two studs wide and at least four studs long.  For this Instructable, I'm using a 2x4 block, but longer blocks work a bit better.  Be aware that you're going to be cutting and mangling this block, so make sure it's not one you're too attached to!

2) One or two flat plates.
These will attach to the bottom of your flashlight block, keeping all of the internal "guts" inside and out of harm's way.  If you use just one plate, it should match the size of the block used for the body.  In this Instructable, I will be using two plates.  One will be permanently glued in place and the other will provide access to the batteries in the block.  If you decide to use two plates, you will need a 2x2 plate (or larger) for the battery cover and another plate to fit over the remaining portion of the block.

3) Two LR1130 coin cell batteries.
These will provide power to light up your block.  LR1130's (or equivalent) fit perfectly in a LEGO block and provide enough power for one LED.  

You should be able to find these at Radio Shack (here's an equivalent battery: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12400059) or probably much cheaper online if you look around.

4) A 5mm LED of your choice.
Any LED with a forward voltage drop of 3.0 volts or less should work.  I've successfully used super bright white, red, and green LEDs, but your experience may vary.

LEDs are also easy to find at Radio Shack (here: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3060980) or online (I've purchased oodles from eBay).  Alternatively, you may be able to scrounge one from some old electronics.  Bonus points for reusing!

5) A 6mm PCB pushbutton.
This will be pushed to activate the light.

Again, these are available at Radio Shack (this one should work: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3060978), or online. However, they are fairly ubiquitous in electronics, so you may be able to rip some out of some of that junk you've been collecting.  I scrounged 10 or so out of an old alarm clock, and they work perfectly!

6) A small length of wire.
You'll want about 6 inches or more of solid-core copper wire that is flexible but stiff.  Telephone or CAT-5 wire work great.
georion1 month ago

how do you make the LED light up when you put a leggo piece on top--did i miss something ??

georion georion1 month ago

""The LED lights up when the stud is held down or when another LEGO block is attached to the top of the flashlight block.""

bradk3 (author)  georion1 month ago

Yes, I suppose that statement is confusing.

When you attach another LEGO piece to the top of this one, it ends up pushing the stud down and activating the switch. It's really as simple as that. Basically, it's the same mechanism as pushing the stud down with your finger.

HollyMann8 months ago
Very cool! It looks awesome!!! :) You could attach a keychain and use it like that too :)
bradk3 (author)  HollyMann8 months ago
Attaching it to a keychain is a great idea! Hmmm... it may be time to raid my kid's LEGO boxes again...
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