Hello Again,
I've been wanting to use clear casting resin ever since I saw it used in this brilliant Instructable by Koogar.  Before I took on something as big as Koogar’s project, I wanted to start small so I came-up with “LED Resin Cubes”.

The idea behind the LED Resin Cube was inspired by a mercury switch that I found at my local electronic store.  I love the simplicity and look of this switch and wanted to incorporate it a project so you could see the switch in motion.  As the switch is made of glass and fragile, it’s pretty important to encase it in something strong – hence the clear resin.   

Check out the video below to see the LED Resin Cube in action.

This is a really easy project to do and the end result looks pretty cool.

Step 1: Things to Gather


1. LED lights.
I used these lights from eBay but it is up to you what type of LED light you want encased.  The LED's I used change colour everytime you push the swich, and for the last change the lights flash!

2. Batteries. 
I used these batteries from eBay.   They are small button batteries that can re-charge and throw out 3.7v which is plenty to power an LED/s

3. Charger.
I used this charger from eBay. 

4. Mercury Switch

5. Female 3.5mm power jack

6. Male 3.5mm plug

7. Copper wire.
(To make the frame)

8. Clear casting resin. 
This can be purchased from your local hardware store or eBay.  I used "Diggers Casting Resin" which I purchased from my local hardware store.

9. Solder

10. Casting mould. 
I used a small, square, plastic container which held chicken stock cubes - see below


1. Soldering iron

2. Pliers

3. Wire cutters
<p>I have a mercury switch connected to 12v bulb I am going to give circuit a try thanks to your instructable. </p>
<p>I have done a resin cube with a small solar cell. It was working fine, but after a week it's not working, I think that the battery has died :(</p>
<p>hi </p><p>what's the type of the mercury switch .??</p>
This is so cool. I have bought the components to build this with a solar cell; but I do have a question. How did you keep the battery and the copper frame from being exposed to the air? If they were sitting on the floor of the mould, I assume that the resin could not entirely cover them. Did you manage this?
<p>One way of preventing the bottom of the apparatus from touching the base of the resin is to mix up a tiny portion of the resin and fill the bottom of the mold. Then once the initial resin is dry, rest the apparatus on the resin base and fill it the rest of the way with resin mixture. The heat from the second application of resin should bond the resin base to the resin block, as it has done for me in the past.</p>
I'd really like to see your design with the solar cell, can you share some details?
I have not had the compenents delivered yet. I was planning to copy this one, but wire up the solar cell to the batteries. I don't know wherebouts you are, but I bought a torch powered by a solar cell from the UK store Maplins - the brand name is Rolson and it says the cell is rated at 4.5v. The cost was about three pounds or so.
Are you going to incorporate the solar cell into the resin? That's definitely the right way to go. I haven't found the right size solar panel yet, I'm looking for something small and square. <br><br>Also, you'll need a 5v to 5.5v to charge the 3.6v battery, the voltage needs to be higher so it is &quot;forced&quot; into the batteries.
Ah. I was hoping that a 4.5v cell would do it. Do you think that would work or shoudl I source a better cell? If it matters, I would prefer a low rate of charge to the battery since I think the cell will be exposed to light pretty much 24/7, but the LEDs will only be on occasionally. I am a bit worried about overheating.
It might be ok - I assume the batteries are 3.6V? Overheating could definitely be an issue but so far my one hasn't exploded! It has probably helped that the batteries were so close to the bottom of the resin!
Yes, the batteries are 3.6v. I was wondering whether it is possible that the power jack in your cube could be acting as a heat sink? I assume it would not be very effective but it is connected to wiring, so any heat would presumably go along the metal of the circuit to the air. <br> <br>I was thinking about resting the battery on a coin with the coin acting a a heat sink - what do you think?
Howdy<br>I haven't made it yet! I plan to do one in a couple of weeks though. It will be similar to the one I made bit will have the copper sticking out the top so you can charge when needed.
Good spotting!<br>There was a thin layer on the bottom and the battery was just inside the resin. Once I started sanding a tiny bit of battery was exposed. The way to fix this is to put a small layer of resin on the bottom of the mould and let this dry. You'll then be able to put the batteries on top without them being exposed at all.<br><br>Happy building!
Another option for charging would be to extend copper wire out of the resin, trim it off and make it flush with the outside and have a charging base with contacts that it sits on.
<p>Or a snap-on base containing the battery. The battery contacts sit on the very outside edge of the resin block, and insert into the snap-on base. This would remove the problem of the battery getting killed by the resin, and remove the need for the ugly DC port on the top by moving it to the bottom.</p>
I like the bare wire. I'm picturing a steam punk inspired creation with copper wiring and a charging base made out of wood, and/or brass.
<p>Hello i did my best, mi recine went really wrong XD</p><p>either way it gets to hot when getting hard, so i think thats why batterys fail</p><p>i am going to try a new one, hoping it gets better</p>
<p>Bad luck! Looks like though you got the insides to work which is great.</p><p>It looks like you have added too much catalyst to the resin. I have done this also before and the resin gets very hot and cracks. try using less catalyst next time.</p><p>Also, I would suggest trying my latest resin cube which can be found <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Resin-Cube-V3/" rel="nofollow">here.</a> The batteries on my original don't hold a charge much any longer due to the batteries being enclosed.</p><p>Let me know how you go with the next one</p>
<p>Forgot the proces jejeje my recine its really not that good </p>
Comment about casting resin around rigid objects: the resin is very hard when it sets. As it sets, it shrinks, squeezing what is inside. (In other instructable for cube LED, you mention battery failing. This is probably due to its being crushed by the resin.) If you were to embed coins in the resin, the resin would crack after awhile due to the stress, at the edges of the coins. 2 ways to deal with this. One is to have some material with give (dip the battery in silicone rubber). The other is to anneal the resin, but the heat would ruin the battery. You may see cracks in time around the heatsink in the embedded lightbulb instructable. <br> <br>If you polish your cube (or wet it to temporarily to &quot;cover&quot; the scratches), you can look for the stress by putting the cube between 2 layers of crossed polarizer film (get it from a pair of cheap polarized sunglasses.) You will see dazzling color if there is stress. For non-battery cubes, you can anneal them at 250 degrees F for 24 hours, then slowly cool. Don't run cube until totally cooled. Avoid large rigid objects in cube, and objects that are long and thin.
I didn't read all of the instructable but what type of resin did you use or what type do you recommend?
Hi there!! It is very good instruction. Well done. <br>Ive got a question. I am thinkin to use this resin coating for my project. Is this copper skeleton essential? Thanks in advance
Most excellent! I am really fond of led lights and have a good many saves along with tiny ciruits to drive them. I think i might give this one a try. Perhaps a flikering candle and a color changing one with removable battery compartments on each to skip the need to charge. Going to the Dollar Tree, I can get many cheap batteries and leds. I got 4 finger lights for one dollar, each having 3 batteries. I got tiny solar garden rock led that has a small rechargable battery and a switch. I might skip the mercury switch also, even though it is a really cool idea. A really great job, thanks for posting this instructable.
They look excellent! Have to try this. Thanks!
cool project. i see alot of people asking about solar power and stuff. please do your research before just thinking adding a solar is an end all. in beam robot we have whats call a solar engine. solar engine are design to be as efficiency and reliability as you need them but each one as pros and cons. i would say try a D1 solar engine. it charges during the day and run during night,
what did you use for the circuit board? <br>
where did you get the male 3.5mm plug? <br>and how long did it take you to build? <br>
Does this automatically stop recharging?
It takes a few hours to charge but doesn't stop automatically. It won't matter though if you leave the charger in, the battery will just get a bit warm but won't overcharge. <br>
Where do I get the circuit board?
Check out the list of parts - its the first one. Actually you could use any type of LED light, as long as it has a momentary switch to turn it on.
Neat! May be my project for Christmas 20113.
When you said &quot;You can see a faint line where the 2 different set resins meet-up&quot;, is it only on the surface, or does it go all the way in? (would it be possible to wet sand it?)
Hey there.<br>It is both - on the surface and inside. You can sand the outside one away so the 2 blend nicely. The inside can be just made out but you have to be looking for it to see it.
How cool would this be wi an induction charger
looks great, you could try and make it charge through induction. like a toothbrush
^ +1 i was thinking the same thing!
This is a great idea and a good instructable. It has a lot of potential for variation. <br> <br>You could also experiment with reflectors or diffusers in the resin above the LEDs. LEDs are very directional, so the light goes straight up. How would it look if you slowly added glitter or sequins while pouring the upper half of the resin? What about small squares of aluminum foil? What if you made bubbles in the top half (can of compressed air, or blowing through a straw)? What if you put a ping-pong ball (as a diffuser) directly on top of the LEDs and then covered the whole thing with resin? etc. <br> <br>I would also vote for a different charging design (as you yourself noted). The female port on the top loses a lot of design points and can be accidentally filled with dirt, debris, water, etc. Inductive charging (like Wyle_E mentioned) would be the most elegant way of charging, but also the most complex. You could always just go with some copper terminals (pennies?) on the bottom that poke through the resin. <br> <br>
The resin kind of acts like a diffuser so the light gets reflected somewhat. The light from the LED's made some really intersting pattens through the pre-polished resin so definitey think there is opportunity to get some great effects. I saw a guy on Instructables use tiny silver stars in his resin and the effect looks great. bubbles too would add some great effects. <br> <br>Agree with the improvement on the port out the top. You could use copper out of the bottom but you would need to build everything upside-down so the copper sticks out the top. <br>I would really like to enclose everything on my next design so I'm thinking solar panels. (trying to keep it simple)
Ahh another very cool idea with solar panels !<br> <br> Ask and ye shall receive lol ! :<br> <br> Solar Panels (DIY Style!):<br> <br> <a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Multi-Solar-Cell-78x19mm-B-Grade-0-25w-each-cell-for-DIY-Solar-panel-/221098166865?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item337a7a4a51" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Multi-Solar-Cell-78x19mm-B-Grade-0-25w-each-cell-for-DIY-Solar-panel-/221098166865?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&amp;var=&amp;hash=item337a7a4a51</a><br> <br> Also you will need the tabbing wire:<br> <br> <a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12m-of-tabbing-wire-for-DIY-Solar-Panels-using-solar-cells-/290728820558?pt=UK_Computing_Other_Computing_Networking&hash=item43b0c9bf4e" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12m-of-tabbing-wire-for-DIY-Solar-Panels-using-solar-cells-/290728820558?pt=UK_Computing_Other_Computing_Networking&amp;hash=item43b0c9bf4e</a><br> <br> could make up your own panels depending on how much voltage you need !<br> <br> been keeping me eye on these solar panels lol !<br> <br> there are also smaller solar panels already made that you can buy but my thinking was if you were going to encase everything in resin anyways, then these panels would be much smaller that an actual panel pre-made, but then there are very small panels pre-made out there ;-)<br> <br> Enjoy ;-)
incorparate some wierless charging, a shake charger or solar? your in for a winner. they'd be waterproof and would look nice around the garden. keep up the good work i am of to order me some resin : D
Thats cool, like how it shows everything perfect. I have casting resin also, just have not used it yet. Don't know what to make. Only down fall is if the LED burns out for some reason. <br> <br>The resin I have is I think &quot;Clear-Lite&quot; what brand do you have?
Hey there, <br>I used a casting resin called &quot;Diggers casting and embedding resin&quot; It uses a catalyst to activate the resin. I found it really easy to use. i think as long as you get the mixures right then you shouldn't have an issue. <br> <br>LED's (if under the right conditions) should last 50,000 hours plus! What will fail at some stage is the battery as they lose capacity to store charge over time. but I reckon I've got a few charges yet before that happens : )
The LEDs are of no concern, they will shine on and on for a good long time. The battery life will become short after awhile, which is why, SUPERCAPS! As I recall, caps can be recharged indefinitely over and over again, eliminating the recharging/battery life problem. Based on the size, the cube may need to be made bigger to accommodate a few of these bad boys; <br> <br>http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G18346 <br> <br>But then add in a &quot;wireless&quot; recharging system. Maybe scavenge one from an old electric toothbrush? They charge through induction. Or get 2 identical semicircular ferrite cores. Wind a coil around one, a coil around the other, one goes in the resin and just the edge of the ferrite core is there, flush with the surface. Put a magnet in the resin, a magnet on the other ferrite core so they stick together and run AC through the outside cores coil. If you looked from the top down there would be a ferrite core/toroid, a circle, half inside the resin, half outside. Essentially make a transformer where you can separate the primary and secondary and the secondary in the resin.
Man - heaps of ideas! love it. looks like I'm going to have to get an electric toothbrush and start pulling it apart ; ) <br>
Just a quick btw !<br> <br> check this out for the wireless charging components, really cool idea Wesley666, ive been thinking about using this wireless coil for a few projects !!!<br> <br> <a href="http://imall.iteadstudio.com/im130115001.html" rel="nofollow">http://imall.iteadstudio.com/im130115001.html<br> <br> Enjoy !</a>
Just purchased one! really cheap air freight (I'll probaly have to wait 3 weeks though!) <br> <br>Cheers.
I was going to suggest looking at the Qi system (~$70 2-position charging station + ~$10+ for hackable receiver modules) but the iMall product is waaay cheaper. Can anyone vouch for them working well, and for iMall in general?
Yaa i Love those professionally made wireless chargers but along with them comes a hefty price tag lol !<br><br>Anyhoo i will be buying from iMall in the near future, they also make PCB's for us home-brew tinker'ers but i dont think i'll quite have the money to buy from them in the near future, plus it looks like they are based in china and urge you to use DHL/Fedex shipping as opposed to regular air mail, which bumps the price up alot, still way cheaper than QI tho, lol ;-)<br><br>Will post my results when i do get hold of one of these tho ! Planning on charging my cell phone and arduino !
The only thing about the toothbrush, they have that little knobby that sticks up, I don't know if that is needed or that helps hold the toothbrush on the base. Would be nice to have just a pad you set it on. If you do take an electric toothbrush apart, lots of photographs and documentation! I would (and I am sure many other would too) love to see whats all in there.

About This Instructable


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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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