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LED PizzaLightBox

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In this instructable I'll show you one way of using up spare strands of LEDS to make a useful light.

Reasoning: I love leds. They're reasonably efficient, last a LONG time, and if I can get away with not having to throw away/recycle but rather reuse, I'm all over it!

Arguably you could build this from scratch - with a power supply, LEDS, resistors, soldering, etc - but I had these strings of LEDS left over from my wedding. I don't plan to decorate with them - so I might as well make them functional.
 
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Step 1: Materials!

Total cost for this was about 20 bucks - the cost of the LED string.

Ikea 'Glansa" led light strings. 144 Soft White LED's per string, Rated at 6 Watts, 5 meters long, CAD$20.00 marked down from $30.00. Works out to about 14 cents per led, comes with power supply, and saves me hours of soldering. Sounds like a deal to me.

Lightly used pizza box - Preferably white - as it reflects more useful light to you - and brown is blah.
Straightedge - somewhat optional, helps to find the center.

Ruler - Always handy. "This project rules!"

Writing instrument - take your pick! I wouldn't recommend blood.

Pokey instrument - I used a philips screwdriver.

<not shown> Small piece of duct tape" - Strain relief for the wire protruding from the box.

Step 2: How to measure a grid without a protractor.

This string says on the package its supposed to be 144 diodes. To be certain (it would suck to come up one short), I counted and sure enough - the kind (literally) minimum wage workers in some far off land managed to hit it dead on.

144 is convenient because its 122. 12x12 verticies would surround 11x11 boxes in a grid - All we need to do is center a grid of 11x11 1 inch squares to make a 12x12 grid of points to use. Really this part isn't 100% necessary but I like to be accurate...ish

I decided to poke the holes in the box TOP - no grease there. I took the pictures after drawing the grid, so I hope this makes any sense - really you should be able to figure it out! Any problems feel free to ask!

(pic 1) Start by drawing an X across the box - this will find the center.
(pic 2) Make a straight line following the lines in the corrugation. Measure from the center line to the edge of the box. In my case 7 1/8".
(pic 3) Measure from the center x to the edge of the box, perpendicular to the first center line. (7 1/8" in my case)
(pic 4) Measure perpendicular to the first center line at each of its ends 7 1/8" to find the other center line.
(pic 5) Measure from each center line at both ends 5.5 inches outward in each direction(to make an 11" centeredbox). Divide that box into 11 1" sections and you'll have a neat little grid!

....OR just make 144 dots wherever you want. Whatever works for you!

Step 3: PUNCH IT BABY!

I did this step in 2 phases to make the holes a little cleaner, again, me being anal, not necessary if you don't care about tidiness!

1. Rest the cardboard on another piece of cardboard. I worked on the floor. If this is your mother or wife's laminate flooring...do it outside. :D
2. Gently poke holes through at each point of the squares - just enough to break the surface on the other side. The philips head was really good for this - its a natural borne boring tool!
3. Punch them again, from the GOOD side to make pretty round holes.

I say again - do NOT wreck the floor doing this!

Step 4: Poke it...baby?

This is a bit tedious, but not hard at all.

1. Firmly grasp the first led as close to the diode head as possible. You don't want to damage the fragile legs on these babies. Force it through a hole from the inside facing out.
2. Repeat step 1 143 more times, using a different led each time :D
3 Tape down the cord so it cant pull loose.
4. Close up the box!
5. Admire! (continued)

Step 5: Revel! (Test Results)

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Bask in the glory of having a low power awesomelight that you can use for several things!

Uses so far - kitchen light - not quite bright enough as a stand-alone, but a few of these will really kick!
Reading light - really really soft and no shadows (well, 144 overlapping shadows, so its nothing!)
Work bench light - Great for the task, as it is a DC adapter, not AC - so you dont get any bad flicker related problems with power tools!
Photography light - with or without a diffuser it looks AWESOME! (see pics) Don't forget to set your white balance to "Really freaking warm" or "custom evaluate" if you have it.

Please don't forget to RATE AND COMMENT!!! Constructive criticism fully appreciated!

-Thanks for reading!
Frollard
tarzioo3 years ago
Very cool =D
rugsr3 years ago
Pretty cool idea!
junits154 years ago
Where can I get LED light strings besides Ikea? I don't have an Ikea local and would really like to try this, LED light strings are pretty hard to find because they are very seasonal, especially the blue ones. So far I've checked walmart and BJ's with no luck. All help is welcome. :)
I had about 5 sets bought at Walgreen Drug leftover from Christmas. I had 1 multi-color set I used to make a "Festivus" Pole, and 4 white sets.
I wanted my living room to look a little like "10 Forward" from ST:TNG, so I stapled one set around and under my Couch and love seat and stick on led puck lights under the coffee table.
I'm going to make one of these as a wall decoration. I'm going to try hot glue to hold the leds in the holes so they look neater
You could also go to http://www.save-on-crafts.com/stringtostring.html
If you want battery operated try http://www.imaginarycolours.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=BattOp
frollard (author)  junits154 years ago
I really don't know! I hope they become more mainstream soon - as they're ...awesome.
They are awsome, I get all my LEDs off of them however, I recently ran out of strings to use, I guess I i feally wanted I could just buy a bulk pack of LEDs.
frollard (author)  junits154 years ago
Theres tonnes of led shops on the internet - direct from china they go for .5 to 50 cents each, depending on quantity.
yeah, the intertubes of the web are allways a good place to look as there is almost everything on here ;)
bFusion4 years ago
On #2 (in step 4), I repeated #1 143 more times with different LEDs, but the same hole... needless to say, mine looks far different from yours now :( I kid, this is a really great idea and a fun way to re-use otherwise unusable objects!
frollard (author)  bFusion4 years ago
LOL - touche! Originally it was 'repeat step 1 143 more times' - arguably someone could put 'the first led' in, then rip it out, and keep going... fixed!
i mean yeah lol, how terrible would that be though, ahahah.. 'after hours of blood, sweat, and tears i am finaly done... i have 1 led in place!!!"
great idea :) i may do this with some old coloured christmas lights that dont get used any more, theyre 'tacky' now aparently haha
frollard (author)  jamesjamesjames4 years ago
I did this with a set of those animated christmas lights - coloured and dancing. All the reds, yellows, greens and blues were in matching rows - in the shape of an arrow so it made for a really cool dancing effect. I used some sort of fiberglass roof tile to prevent heat damage - remember incandescents get hot!
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