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LED Glow in the Dark USB Tiki

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Picture of LED Glow in the Dark USB Tiki
My brother is always asking me for quirky gifts for X-mas so this time when I he asked me for a LED USB Tiki (I added the glow in the dark feature) I ended having to make one.  So if you were ever in the market for a LED-Glow-in-the-Dark-USB-Tiki then your search is over.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Here's what you'll need:

Materials:
1. A USB plug - I used an old printer cable
2. An LED light taken from an existing desktop light toy (I took mine from a USB lava lamp)
3. ShapeLock Plastic.  ( I love this stuff.  You can buy it here or at other online sites: http://shapelock.com/)
4. Amazing Mold putty (you can get this at Michaels or other craft stores)
5. A mini tiki statue (the one I used was 3.75" tall, made from a heavy stone or plaster I am not sure which)
6. Glow in the dark spray paint.  This part is optional.


Tools:
wire strippers
needle nose pliers
Exacto knife
drill


Step 2: Mold tiki

Take your Amazing Mold Putty and mix enough of each color (follow mixing instructions in the box) so that 75% of the tiki is covered by the putty.  I had to put this is in a clear plastic box to add some sturdines.  If you don't have a clear plastic box to contain the putty then don't worry it should work without it.

Once the putty sets up - then remove your tiki from the mold. 

Step 3: Add ShapeLock to the mold

To estimate how much Shapelock you'll need I suggest pour the beads into the mold (adding a few more just to cover the empty space of the beads) to gauge an approximate amount.

once you've figured out how much Shapelock you'll need then heat some water to 150 to 160 (just before boiling) and melt the beads so they are all clear.

Take the melted Shapelock and mold it into a cylindrical shape so that is will all fit nicely into the mold.  This stuff is pretty forgiving so if it's not fitting right you can always throw it back into the hot water and re-shape it.

Press the clear/melted Shapelock into the tiki mold

Step 4: Add a base

Halfway through this project I realized I needed to add a base to the tiki to hold the lights.  I thought I could do this by adding a base within the mold but I soon figured out that a better way to do handle this was to make a separate base out of Shapelock and "weld" it on.

So to do this just melt down some more Shapelock (about a 3 tablespoons) in hot water like in the previous step and shape it into a strip about 3/4" high and about 4" long.  Shape into a ring shape so that it will fit onto the base of the tiki.  See photos for more detail

It's important that this base is deep enough so that the LED lights will fit inside.  If you have a tiki that you can hollow out then even better.  My tiki shape was sorta thin so I as not able to place the lights up into the body of the tiki. 

Once the base is dry just set the tiki and the base into a non-stick fry pan on low and wait until both edges are clear.  Once the edges turn clear you can press them together (i.e. "weld").  Use a chope stick or someother wood instrument to blend the weld seam until it's smooth. 

Step 5: Drill a hole for the cable

Picture of drill a hole for the cable
Drill a hole into the back of the tiki base to all for the cable to pass into the tiki

Step 6: Wire in the USB and LED

Wire strip the USB cable so that only the red and black wire are exposed (you can cut away the other wires).  Strip the coating and wire in the LED light. You'll have to experiment to figure out which connection powers the light set.

Step 7: Plug it in and test

Picture of Plug it in and test
Once you've wired in the lights to the USB plug you can plug it in to your computer then tuck the LED lights into the base of the tiki.  The ShapeLock plastic is translucent enough to allow plenty of LED light through.  It really looks cool in a dark room.  Once the lights are set inside the base you can close it off with the duct tape or some other material.  I chose to not seal the lights in with Shapelock because you might need to make repairs later on so you don't want to totally close it in.


Watch the tiki in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14lk3VBn5ko

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ekbruster2 years ago
Sweet! I may try to do this with x-mas light string to make a string of patio "tiki" lights for my pvc tiki bar!
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