Introduction: LED Resin Cube V2

Picture of LED Resin Cube V2
Use clear resin to make an LED cube.


As the title indicates, this is my second version of making a LED resin cube.   The original version worked well, however there were so many good ideas posted on how to improve it that I decided to make another, (hopefully improved) version. 

The main issue that I had with the original was how the batteries were charged.  I used a female jack to charge up the batteries.  This took away some of the aesthetic of the finished product and definitely wasn’t the best way to charge the batteries.  The new one has a charging station and the resin cube is totally enclosed.

In the comment section for the original LED cube, Instructable user - Wesley666 suggested using a “wireless recharging system” which works on induction, the same way that some electric toothbrushes work.  I thought this was a great idea and purchased this one which another Instructable user – offtherails2010 suggested.

This version of the resin cube is a little bigger, but the finished product works a treat.

Hope you enjoy.

Here’s a video of it working:



If the above doesn't work try this:
Clip

Step 1: Gather the Bits

Picture of Gather the Bits

Material

1. Clear Resin.
I purchased mine from the local hardware store

2. Resin catalyst

3. Mould.  
I used a baking soda container that I found at my local supermarket.  You could use virtually any shape mould you like as long as it's plastic.

4. LED Lights and circuit board – Ebay
The circuit board is from a fiber optic toy which I pulled apart.

5. LED’s (Red, Blue and White) - Ebay Again you could use any colours you want.

6. 4 x AAA re-chargeable batteries. - Ebay

7. Copper wire.  Try a hobby shop.

8. Wireless re-charging coil – purchase here (this one is a 9V charger), or Ebay (this one is a 5V charger)

9. Mercury switch – Ebay

10. Charger.  I used a 7.5v, 1A charger.  - Ebay

11.  LED

12.  Resister (5K)

13.  Toggle switch



Tools

1. Soldering Iron and solder

2. Pliers

3. Wire cutters

4. Measuring cup

5. Multimeter

6. Wet/Dry Sandpaper 120 grit, 600 grit, 1200 grit

7. Brasso

8. Car polisher

Step 2: Batteries Part 1

Picture of Batteries Part 1

Initially I used copper wire and made  battery holders out of the wire (image below).  The problem was that you had to add heat to the end of the battery to add some solder and this kept on ruining the batteries.  I didn't want to add a lot of plastic to the design but in the end I compromised.

Steps:

Modding the battery holder
1. Cut out all of the excess plastic on a 4 x AAA battery holder.  I used a dremmel to get this done.

2.  Next use a stanley knife to remove some of the rough edges.

3.  Keep on trimming with the stanley knife until you only have a frame as below.


Step 3: Batteries Part 2

Picture of Batteries Part 2

Copper Frame
Next is to make a frame out of copper wire.  Without this the batteries will keep on falling out.

1. Bend a piece of copper so it goes all around the battery case as shown.  Make sure that it is a tight fit.  This will ensure that the batteries stay into place.  The plastic battery holder gets a little flimsy once you cut great big holes in it!

2. Solder the 2 ends together using a mini soldering torch and some flux.  If necessary, use a small file to remove any excess solder.

3. Test by pushing the copper frame over the battery holder and placing the batteries into the battery holder.

4. Next add a couple of support copper wires as shown.  This will help with keeping everything in place - plus they look cool.

5.  Next bend a peice of copper as shown and attach across the 2 copper supports.  This is where you will solder the circuit board onto.

6. Attach the positive wire to the frame.  It's pretty important to ensure that the positive end is attached; it will make attaching the circuit board a bunch more easy later on.




Step 4: Modding (slightly) the Batteries

Picture of Modding (slightly) the Batteries

This step isn't relly necessary but it will make the finished product look a tonne better.

Steps:
1. Remove the outside wrapping on your batteries.  Be aware that once you do this the outside of the battery becomes negatively charged.  It won’t cause any issues, as long as you don’t have the batteries touching inside the frame.

2. Remove the little piece of plastic on the positive end.  This should just slip off.

3. You might have to clean the glue off your batteries.  I used a little acetone which did the job nicely.

4. Now you should have some stella looking batteries.

Step 5: Adding the Charging Coil

Picture of Adding the Charging Coil

The next thing to do is to attach your charging coil to each end of the battery terminals.  There are a couple of different charging coils available.  I decided to go with the 9v one as it gives me more options in regards to voltage.  The 5v would  work ok if you were only using 3 AAA batteries.   When you are charging batteries you want the voltage higher than the actual voltage of the batteries.

Steps:

1. The first thing to do is to move the circuit board on the charging coil to the inside of the coil. De-solder the ends from the circuit board, trim to size and then re-solder as shown below.

2. The circuit board should be somewhere close to the middle on the bottom of the batteries.  You can hot glue this into place if you want.  I didn't bother.

3. Trim and attach the wires from the circuit board to the battery terminals, making sure that polarities are right.

• At this stage I tested the coli by running the batteries down and then hooking the other coil up to my phone charger to see if everything worked ok.

Step 6: LED Circuit Borad

Picture of LED Circuit Borad

In my last version, I didn’t move the LED’s on the circuit board, but this time I wanted to move the LED’s away from the battery, charger and circuit board so they would look like they were suspended in the resin.

Steps:

Romove the Circuit borad from the plastic


1.  Jimmy open the plastic case with a screwdriver

2.  Carefully remove the circuit board and switch.  the battery wires can be cut

Adding the LED’s

1. De-solder the LED’s on the circuit board

2. Solder on the new LED’s.  Obviously make sure that the polarities are correct and that the LED’ sit straight on the board.  This is super important.  Take notice which way the LED's have been attached to the circuit board.  My first couple of tries adding the new LED's were incorrect and I only had 1 light working.

3. Test.


Step 7: Adding the Mercury Switch

Picture of Adding the Mercury Switch

Adding the Mercury Switch

1.Remove both wires for the switch by de-soldering them.

2. Bend the legs to the mercury switch as shown below.  They should be bent at right angles so when you solder the switch in place it is sitting straight up.

3. Solder onto the circuit board.


Attaching the Circuit Board to the Batteries

Remember how you attached the copper battery holder to the positive end of the batteries?  Well the reason why is so the circuit board can be attached to the positive end of the batteries.  I have found that if you solder to the negative end of the circuit board, then for some odd reason the board seems to short somewhere and it won’t work anymore!  This could be just me though.

1. Solder the board onto the positive end of the copper battery holder.  Make sure you add some solder to the copper end and only heat-up the copper when attaching the circuit board. 

2. Solder the negative wire from the board to the other battery end.

Step 8: Resin

Picture of Resin

Hopefully now you have a working, LED’s which only come on when you tip everything on it’s side.  Each time you tip it over it should change colours.  If it doesn’t then you will need to go and check all of your connections to make sure that everything is soldered correctly. 
The worst thing that can happen (believe me I know!) is for the circuit board to short and not work.  If this happens, then I’m afraid it’s time to remove it and replace with another one.

The next step is to add the LED’s into the resin.

Steps:

1. Choose a mould.  I went with the baking soda one below which I found at my local supermarket.

2. Mix a small amount of resin and pure into the bottom of the mould.  This will be your base.  It’s important that you don’t add too much resin because the coil will be too far away from the charger and won’t work.  If you do happen to pour too much don’t worry, you can always sand it back once dry.  Leave for 24 hours.

3. Once dry, place the LED’s into the mould and position where you want them to go.

4. Pour in some more resin until the LED’s are completely covered.

5. Leave to dry for 24 hours then remove from the mould.

6. Leave it to dry again for another 24 hours.

Step 9: Smoothing and Finishing

Picture of Smoothing and Finishing

Once the resin is completely dry it’s time to polish it.  In my first LED Resin Instructable I went through in detail on how to polish the resin and what materials to use.  I’m going to be really lazy here and ask you to look at step 6 “Smoothing and Finishing” on the other Instructable for how to polish the resin.  The only other info I would like to add is below:


Finishing:

Once you get the resin out of the mould (might need a little coxing!) you can determine how much sanding it will need.  The mould I used was very smooth so I only had to sand back the top a little and used some Brasso to finish it off.

You can also use car polisher before the Brasso as it is slightly more abrasive and should help to get any scratches out.

Step 10: Docking Station

Picture of Docking Station

Now that you have finished your LED Resin Cube you will need a docking station to enable to charge it up. 

Steps:

1. First find a suitable project box to store the electronics in.  I found the one I used at my local electronics store.

2. Determine where the middle is on the inside of the box.  This is where you will have to stick the charging coil.

3. Drill a hole for the power cord to go through and tie a knot as shown below.  This will ensure that the cord doesn't pull out.

4. Wire everything up as the below diagram shows.
.
5. Drill a hole in the top of the docking station for the on/off switch and attach.

6. Hot glue into place the charging coil.  Don’t put too much glue on first as you want to make sure that you have the coil in the right spot before sticking it down permanently.

7. Hot glue the LED into place. 


Step 11: Finished!

Picture of Finished!


Ok – so now you should have a pretty substantial LED Resin Cube with its very own docking station.  One thing to remember is not to charge for really long periods.  The batteries will need about 2-3 hours to charge, you wouldn’t want to leave them there overnight as they could get pretty hot.

I was in 2 minds about making the resin cube translucid by lightly sandpapering it.  The LED light is better diffused.  In the end I decided to keep it clear as it shows the insides really well.

If I ever do make another one of these I think I’ll use a super cap and attach a charging coil to it.  This way I could keep the size the cube down while keeping the insides of the cube to a minimum.

This cube is better constructed than the first one and I think look better too.  Adding solder to batteries isn’t too clever as I discovered when one of the batteries started to smoke!  I pulled it out of the copper frame and threw it away as quickly as possible but the smoke was very toxic and I couldn’t work in my shed for an hour or so.
Using the plastic battery holder really worked well and I liked how it turned out once I had trimmed all of the excess plastic away.

Cheers.

Comments

fhedew (author)2016-03-09

Excelent!!!

ccronkhite (author)2013-10-29

can dyes be added to the resin to add color?

Yep - check this website out for some good idesa

Arrogance (author)2013-09-01

Hello there,
Thanks for your instructible.
I am just wondering if the resin if poisonous ?
Any tip handling it when making this?

lonesoulsurfer (author)Arrogance2013-09-02

Howdy,
It can let off some fumes when the catalyst is mixed with the resin so a well ventilated area is a good idea or even a filtered mask. Also it's really sticky stuff so I always make sure that there is something covering my workbench before I start to pore.

Arrogance (author)lonesoulsurfer2013-09-03

Thank you for the reply friend :)
Nice day

wrecks135 (author)2013-08-11

I saw you first one and this is a nice improvement - great job!

codongolev (author)2013-08-09

the photos sort of answer my question, but how much does the resin diffuse the light? I'm planning on making a similar thing as a light fixture for my dorm room, and it has my housing group's letters written in LEDs. I got it wired up, and it looks really cool and works just fine, but it BLINDS you when you look directly into it. I was wondering if the resin will help with that, or if I should buy some parts and make a PWM dimmer.

Howdy,
The resin diffuses the LEDs slightly but I don't think enough for what you want. There still really bright if you look directly at them. You could lightly sand the LEDs which would diffuse them or you could sand the resin and make it frosty!

Bobmonkey07 (author)2013-08-02

Maybe a pressure switch for the charger?

Set the cube down and it charges, take it off and it cuts power.

KKHausman (author)Bobmonkey072013-08-04

An optical switch (interrupt or proximity) would work, using a simple timer to limit the total charge possible each time to avoid bursting the sealed batteries. No heat dump due to their presence in the resin cast, so overpressure/overcharging could be an issue.

jack8559 (author)KKHausman2013-08-10

I agree, a simple 555 timer would work best to avoid the heat issue and put it into the docking station, not the cube. Another possible option might be to mount a heat sink to the outside edge of the cube, only half cast into it so that some of the heat could be dissipated from the batteries. I know relatively nothing about casting in resin or other media, but I do know just a little about thermal damages and a good copper or aluminum wire will carry heat away fairly efficiently.

That's a really good idea. It would make the charger look a lot more slicker.

tutdude98 (author)Bobmonkey072013-08-03

momentary switch :D

andre rezende (author)2013-08-04

Marvelous! Me too love resin embbedings and keep trying something like this. The option of using supercapacitors look more interesting for me too. Congratulations. It is a superb creation of yours. Having time please visit my blog www.resinamagica.blogspot.com.

Hi Andre,
Just checked out your blog, very cool. I especially like the little house inside the resin with the windows lit-up with LED's. I was thinking of doing something similar but with Star wars micro machines to create a scene from Tatooine . Just have to figure out how to makes Luke's house!

Great! IO don't know exactelly how but I am following you!

And thanks for the answer!

I used smd 0605 leds. Very tinny. Suitable for that.

rafal2893 (author)2013-08-06

Electronics could mirror cover that looked nicer

nerd7473 (author)2013-08-06

wow epic I haven't done any epoxy projects yet

dozer789 (author)2013-08-05

That is really cool!! Congrats on being featured!! I voted too!!

lonesoulsurfer (author)dozer7892013-08-05

Cheers - really appreciate it!

dozer789 (author)lonesoulsurfer2013-08-06

No problem!

Michael_oz (author)2013-08-04

Your copper wire holder looks better, you could use conductive paint/glue for the connections.

Agreed. I didn't even realize that conductive glue was about! Just found some on eBay though which i'm going to purchase.

Thanks.

kscmac (author)2013-08-05

Try using a super cap instead of batteries! And have a solar cell on the bottom to charge outside. Just an idea!

lonesoulsurfer (author)kscmac2013-08-05

I've been looking into super caps and trying to work out what the best method would be. Good idea though about the solar panels - I had the same one with my first version of the resin cube

friede (author)2013-08-04

i build a very similar one but mine has a led driver which can dim the led stepless.

lonesoulsurfer (author)2013-08-04

Thanks dude

Dream Dragon (author)2013-08-04

Lovely looking project.

Cheers

Makedo (author)2013-08-04

How about using capacitors instead of batteries? that way you don't have to toss it out when the batteries die. even rechargeable ones die sooner or later. with capacitors you can have a lot longer use for it.

lonesoulsurfer (author)Makedo2013-08-04

Agree. I have to do a little more research first on what would be the best option but I definitely want to go down that path on my next build.

Mackramer (author)2013-08-03

The music was enough for me to favorite. LED resin cube is pure bonus.

lonesoulsurfer (author)Mackramer2013-08-04

Thanks. There's a cool site called: www.dilandau.eu which has some really great music you can download for free.

thematthatter (author)2013-08-03

if you decide to make it smaller, make some ice cube size :-) for drinks

Yep I was thinking of doing that using some blinking LED's and a capacitor. You could have 2 small pieces of copper just showing through the resin which could be used to charge the capacitor.
They'd look great in a drink.

Zedsquared (author)2013-08-04

This project seriously needs some safety features if it's not going to be a fire or explosion hazard IMHO. Anyone building it should consider the consequences of overcharging batteries that can't cool or vent properly with a circuit that's not designed to charge batteries and won't limit its current to less than 600mA. A supercapacitor would be much more likely to be safe as long as it is charged within its rated voltage. Alternatively put a proper battery charging circuit that is matched to the battery chemistry in the cube after the power receiver. A thermal fuse in contact with the batteries and in series with the charging supply is a good idea but if you strip the insulation off the batteries then bear in mind the possibilites for shorting things out with the metal case of the fuse.
Perhaps a timer in the charging station would be a help too... I would never leave the circuit as presented charging unattended.

gcanders (author)2013-08-02

Very cool.

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Bio: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with.
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