Introduction: How to Make a "Mega Monster Energy" Decorative Light
This is a project that got stuck in my head until I completed it. Something about wanting to make the "M" glow from a Monster can. It also became a gift for my oldest son, which happened to be completed around his birthday (bonus). My son likes the Monster Energy drinks and I thought this would be something unique for him. I like to do little thoughtful gifts for my kids (reasoning to myself to do many small hobby projects). Note: this is my very first instructables (long time reader, first time poster - lol). So, any comments are more than welcome.
This project is to create a decorative light out of a "Mega Monster Energy" can, with a “glowing” “M” on the can. I planned on entering this into the “Make it Glow” contest. While I was building/ waiting for parts, I noticed someone else had entered a Monster Energy drink light. Common minds think alike, I guess. lol. I waited to post this instructables, until after my son had received this as a gift (no spoilers :). I only had time to work on this every other weekend, which is my only "kid-free" time. Some of the parts were ordered off ebay and shipped from china, which had several week lead time.
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1 Mega Monster Energy 24oz Can
10g Green Glow in the Dark pigment powder
7 oz Rustoleum Glow In Dark Paint
32 oz (2 Part) Clear Acrylic Epoxy kit
Clear Spray Paint
28x 5mm Green LEDs
28x 100ohm resistor ** or resistor networks (I used 7x 8-pin isolated)
1x USB cable
1x USB wall charger
Drill and Drill Bits
600+ grit sandpaper
Paint Brush/ Roller
Disposeable Rubber Gloves
Paper "Shop" Towels
Soldering Iron and solder
Disposable Mixing Cups
Glass mug (able to hold the Monster Energy Can inverted)
Step 1: Reinforce the Sides of the Can
You will have to consume a 24oz Mega Monster Energy drink, which might help you complete this instructable. lol. Not so much, this is a “hurry up and wait” step. Once you have an empty Mega Monster Energy Drink can; rinse it out, fill it with water and place it in the freezer without the lid. We don’t want the can to explode. lol.
This is a good time to make a template for your switch, led cluster, etc. Play your favorite waiting game, set several reminders in your calendar. You don’t want to see this in 6 months and have a palm to forehead moment. The main reason for this is to support the sides of the can as you drill and cut, without damaging the can. Some of the parts ordered were from sellers on Ebay located in china. So, I had to wait for parts to come in (2-3 weeks). Personally, I have more time than money. lol. If you have another method, please use it and list it in the comments.
Step 2: Modifying the Can
Tools: Vise, drawer liners, dremel, drill, 13/64 drill bit, belt sander, safety glasses
Once the water has frozen and you have a solid mass supporting the sides and bottom of the can, you can start modifying the can. I wrapped the metal teeth of a vise, to prevent damage to the can. Then, I placed the can in the vise to be held firmly (don't crush the can). Now you can use a dremel to cut out the trademark “M” on the side of the can. Cut the hole for the switch (mine was rectangular).
I drilled holes in the bottom of the can for all 28 of the 5mm LEDs. It ended up being cheaper to buy the resistor networks than individual resistors. So, the resistor network that I used is 8 pin (7 resistors and a common pin). I used 4 resistor networks (7 resistors x 4 = 28 LEDs). This LED cluster is contained within the dome on the bottom of the can. Drill a hole for the power cable. Using an online LED calculator, the green LEDs that I chose, 5VDC power source, and 100 ohm resistors on the LEDs; it ended up being about 560 mA total draw from the power source. The USB charger needs to be able to supply at least that amount.
Use the belt sander to sand of the bottom of the can. This is only to separate the bottom dome of the can from the sides evenly. I grinded mine off and it added more work to correct. I used the bottom of a second can as part of this correction. It should be even and not leave rough cut marks. Once the Ice has melted, you can hand sand, from the inside, any rough spots from drilling and cutting. With the sizes of the walls still a little wet, it’s wet-sanding right?
With the Ice out the can, watch out not the damage the sides of the can. It no longer has the support and a well placed thumb can add a very ugly dent. Once the can is modified to suit your needs, you will have to place the can somewhere and let the ice melt.
Step 3: Make It Glow-in-the-dark
Parts: glow in the dark paint
Tools: disposable gloves, rubbing alcohol, paint brush/ roller, painters tape.
This step is dual function. First, it allows for a “flat white” surface to reflect the light. Finally, it will glow green when the lights are turned off.
Prepare the can for paint. Be careful with the sharp edges that you added in the previous step. lol. Put on rubber gloves. This will keep the oils from your fingers off the painting area and keep the paint, etc. off your hands. Clean the painting area with rubbing alcohol. Wipe off any excess with a paper towel and let the remaining alcohol dissipate. Using the painter’s tape, wrap a ring of the tape around the “M” that you cut out of the can, switch hole, and any other open holes. Make sure that the tape is attached to all parts of the “M”, to prevent from getting paint on the outside of the can. Also cover all the other holes that you added with painters tape.
Allow the paint to fully dry. Then remove the painter’s tape.
Personally, if I were do to this again then I would just use a flat white paint, to reflect the green light. The Latex paint required the "M" to be re-cut out and the glow in the dark paint did not work as well as expected. It takes a long time to charge, is not as bright as I expected in a small space, and does not last long. The glow in the dark powder worked "leaps and bounds" better than the paint, in my opinion.
If you want to do the latex glow in the dark paint... add another step: cut the bottom off, paint, let dry, re-freeze, then dremel out the "M" (cutting the can and the latex paint).
Step 4: Let There Be Light (Solder It Up)
Parts: LEDs, resistors, USB cable, switch, USB wall charger
Tools: soldering iron, solder, super glue
Fill all the 28 holes in the bottom of the can that you drilled for the LEDs with the LEDs. Use a little dab of super glue to keep the LEDs in place. I tried to keep the Anodes and the Cathodes on the same side to make wiring/ soldering easier (long wire on side, short wire on the other). Once all the LEDs are in place, you can start bending the leads into place. Bend all of the Long LED Leads into rows on top of each of each other. This will create positive power rail. The short leads will each be soldered to a 100 ohm resistor. All of the 100 ohm resistors are soldered together into a ground rail. Basically, this makes a "resistor network". It was cheaper to buy a bulk of resistor networks than individual resistors. So, I used resistor networks. Hind sight; the lot of resistor networks was isolated resistor networks (8pin - 4 resistors). It worked, but I had to use 7 instead of 4 and it really didn't simplify the soldering like I wanted. Make sure that the anode and cathode do not cross and do not touch the aluminum casing. This can cause a short.
Using the cables from the USB cable, solder the black (ground) wire to the ground rail. If needed, use a multi-meter to find the pins needed on your switch (not need, if you only have to pins). I used a meter to make sure, since I wanted up/ on and down / off. Solder the red (+5v) wire from the USB cable to the switch and another wire from the other pin on the switch to the positive rail.
Take a deep breath, cross your fingers, and plug the USB cable into a wall charger (cell phone charger). Test the switch and the LEDs should turn on and off. Make sure that the electrical system is working before proceeding. Electronics work with magic smoke, if the smoke escapes then it will no longer work. lol.
From the picture, you can tell that the color of the "M" is not the same color of greenish-yellow used on the rest of the can. Hind sight, I would have used UV LEDs with the Glow in the dark power.
Step 5: Make It Solid (let It Break a Toe)
Parts: Clear Acrylic Epoxy Kit (2 part), glow in the dark powder
Tools: Wax paper, painter tape, large glass mug
Cut out a square of wax paper to cover the “M”. Use the painters tape to tightly cover the “M” on the side of the can. Place the Can upside-down in the mug. Try to line up the can so that it is straight and level. Fill in any space, if necessary, to keep the can from moving (paper towel, etc.).
When measuring out the 2 parts, mix the glow in the dark powder into one of the 2 parts. I only used about 10g. So, there was only a little powered mixed in. Follow the directions to mix the clear acrylic epoxy kit. Use a well-ventilated area (should be listed in directions, lol). Once the 2 parts are mixed, pour the mixture into the can that you already have prepped. Make sure not to over fill and fill it all the way to the bottom cap (with the LEDs). Continue to follow the directions and allow the mix to setup.
Once it has set for the required time, or longer, you are just about done.
Step 6: Wrap-Up and Enjoy
Parts: clear spray paint
Tools: rubbing alcohol, paper towel, rubber gloves
Remove the painters tape and wax paper. Put on your rubber gloves. Clean the surface of the can with rubbing alcohol. Touch up paint, etc on the exterior of the can. Once everything is done to your liking, you can spray a clear coat (or 2) over the entire can to help protect the final product.
Turn it on and enjoy.
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