LED Floaties: That float away!
4 Steps
My friend from blastwave labs gave me a call a couple days ago and he told me grand plans for the LEDs and batteries I had stagnating in my closet. His female counterpart was leaving her job at party city, so it was the perfect time to obtain a bunch of balloons (not steal) and rent a tank of helium.

There's another related instructable: LED Floaties by tetranitrate. The floaties didn't get to float up up and away, but made a cool temporary art installation at a park!

Video of the construction and launch:

Remove these ads by Signing Up

## Step 1: LED Throwie minus magnet

Follow the instructable for LED Throwies, but just leave the magnet out of the equation. We also decided to make an internet guestbook, print out the URL and tape that to the LED units that were going inside the balloons.

There is also some maths you can do to make sure your balloons are going to fly:

The volume of a sphere:
V = 4/3(pi)r3

And we used 12" latex balloons, so r = 6 inches, which gives ~904 cubic inches or ~15 liters of helium per balloon.

You can approximate for every liter of helium used, you can get about 1 gram of lift, the battery and LED were about 4 grams, the balloon itself was around 3 grams and we can give another gram for the tape and URL paper. The payload for the helium was a total of ~8 grams, which is a ready for launch Houston!
 1-40 of 92 Next »
robert0joe says: Aug 29, 2010. 6:33 PM
If some short-circuit happens, you know the LED's pins stick and cause a spark/arc would that ignite the helium on the balloon?
boonos says: Nov 3, 2010. 4:02 PM
you're probably thinking of hydrogen, helium is not flammable
nak (author) says: Aug 29, 2010. 10:34 PM
"Helium is the least reactive noble gas after neon and thus the second least reactive of all elements" Someone needs to learn for themselves! Have you ever tried to ignite helium?
ryoka says: Feb 9, 2008. 2:39 PM
i made 800 of these and let them loose in my house. NO CEILING SPACE LEFT BARE!!!
paperclip32 says: Feb 22, 2010. 9:28 AM
liar liar pants on fire.
A good name says: May 9, 2008. 4:51 PM
How'd you afford all the batteries?
diN0bot says: Mar 29, 2008. 7:22 PM
awesome! how dim/bright was that? how long did it take to make?
xguy says: Nov 23, 2008. 9:26 AM
why not use those cheap solar led sets then you'd want to keep them.
Jonny Katana says: Jan 23, 2008. 9:33 PM
Great Instructable, I don't know why I didn't think of this when all these LED shenanigans started. I think it would be entertaining to tether the balloons to the ground in a pattern to form some sort of figure, maybe even a 3-dimensional object like a tilted cube or something (use the ground as your xy plane, the string length as your z). A fair amount of calculations would be in order, to be sure, but it would be worth it. And afterwards, you can retrieve the whole works, keeping your wallet and the hippies happy :)
nak (author) says: Jan 27, 2008. 8:28 AM
Yeah, I like this idea, I've just been thinking about it, and the calculations shouldn't be too difficult. The string used to tether the balloons/LEDs down would have to be factored into the weight to make sure they will still float! And just some graph paper to determine the length of the strings. But wind could also be a problem, a slight breeze could take your beautiful art and tangle it up into some unrecognizable mess!
Froggy1294 says: Oct 30, 2008. 6:02 AM
use a very long length of wire, not string, to hold the balloons still could it work?
nak (author) says: Oct 30, 2008. 10:49 AM
Use your imagination! Here's what my imagination says, nope!
Jonny Katana says: Jan 27, 2008. 9:14 PM
I live in Arizona, so I think there will be a few days soon where wind is not too much of factor. Still, I agree it is vulnerable to any substantial wind, so maybe some sort of rigging should be used between the balloons as well. Now to go find massive amounts of button cell batteries on the cheap...
Jonny Katana says: Jan 23, 2008. 9:35 PM
Also, I think "LED Loonies" would be a good alternate name.
comodore says: Feb 3, 2008. 2:16 PM
IT'S A BIRD! NO! IT'S A PLANE! NO! IT'S AN LED FLOATIE!!! LOL!!! :D
Derin says: Sep 28, 2008. 8:33 AM
*a led floatie
comodore says: Sep 28, 2008. 1:04 PM
right (know-it-all) :)
Your Average Guy says: Sep 6, 2008. 3:57 PM
Tie fishing line on these and tie them to random things. Maybe vary the sizes of the line so u got stationary UFO's floating everywhere. I tie them to stuff at parks, stopsigns, and ..... SCHOOLS!!!! Oh the schools! So funny. I gotta try this!
RidoKilos says: Feb 6, 2008. 9:54 AM
How do you ensure that the floatie comes down when it's still dark out??? Is there some sort of 'bloon airtime calculator somewhere??
Xerillum says: Aug 31, 2008. 2:56 PM
One word: Shotgun
geeklord says: Aug 8, 2008. 10:33 AM
Did the one have 4 LED's on it??
Chris Tucker says: Jul 5, 2008. 10:25 AM
Logan Airport + Boston paranoia about LEDs + LED Floaties = MUCH Hijinx Ensuing.

Followed by automatic weapons fire.

Hmmmmm....

Super Ultra Bright LEDs, + Optical fiber + sufficient lift = a swarm of Ignignokts shooting the bird to Boston from on high.

(I live in Boston and this is giving me many evil ideas. THNAK YOU!)
082535 says: May 25, 2008. 2:55 AM
release them in New Mexico then people will think that they are UFOs. cool Instructable tho
warrenmiller says: May 22, 2008. 8:03 AM
hi - would this work with 9 balloons with the weight of the led and battery?

thanks!
warren
nak (author) says: May 22, 2008. 9:35 AM
Step 1 tells you how to figure that out:
9 inch balloon has about a 4.5 inch diameter. Volume = ~382 cubic inches = ~6.26 liters of helium

1 liter of helium = about 1 gram of lift, the payload weight is about 8 grams, but that is still about 2 grams too heavy to be lifted by a 9 inch balloon.

But hey, give it a shot, science is experiment.
casey321b says: May 19, 2008. 8:49 AM
what happens when they pop in mid atmosphere. falling baterys and LEDs ow...
jeffgwapo says: May 19, 2008. 6:45 AM
hehe the pilot said look its u.f.o. then got crashed they tought it was a u.f.o. hehe just joking
HazardRush says: Jan 22, 2008. 12:35 PM
great project, but just one thing. I may just be making an ass of myself, because i dont know for sure, but isnt helium combustible? if so, a spark from a loose connection could set it off. amirite?
randofo says: Jan 22, 2008. 12:46 PM
No. Helium is inert. Hydrogen is combustible. They're on opposite sides of, our good friend, the periodic table.
idiotbasher says: May 16, 2008. 6:33 PM
that not my frend=p
munchman says: Jan 26, 2008. 1:58 PM
They both lift though.
zachninme says: Jan 26, 2008. 7:50 PM
...because they're both less dense than air ;-)
rancidbry says: Apr 1, 2008. 11:13 PM
this is awesome!! but why did you do it?
FreshPineSent says: Feb 15, 2008. 10:35 PM
Bravo man, brav - frikin - O
marc92 says: Feb 11, 2008. 2:25 PM
Have you heard anything good listening to your radio scanner after releasing a bunch of floaties? I can imagine airline pilots getting angry with this idea and I'm pretty sure that is a federal offense... ...If you live near an airport, or under a commonly used flight path, do be careful with this idea.
nak (author) says: Feb 13, 2008. 9:28 PM
I didn't have my scanner on me (mistake) so I turned it on about an hour+ after the release, there was no noise (aircraft/police)... I was hoping to get some comical recordings, oh well!
ll.13 says: Feb 11, 2008. 1:46 PM
didn't Tetranitrate do this? :-/
nak (author) says: Feb 13, 2008. 9:27 PM
Sorta, I linked to his instructable (intro step). The only difference is these float away. :-\
nickjohnson says: Jan 22, 2008. 3:03 PM
It looks really cool, but... Wow! it's like littering a balloon, AND littering a battery in a single act. I'm not trying to be a prick, but, you know how bad batteries are for the environment?
jackspara says: Feb 2, 2008. 1:13 PM
Most of those batteries go rot in a dump.
 1-40 of 92 Next »