This is one of the projects for our Instructables: Made In Your Mind (IMIYM) exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Houston . Produced in partnership with Instructables, IMIYM is an exhibit where families work together to build different fun, toy-like projects that help construct knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while instilling a “do-it-yourself” attitude in kids so they feel empowered to explore, tinker, and try to make things themselves. To learn more, check out the article here.
For this project, we were inspired by the Pocket Flashlight (LED) Instructable created by MattCP, but there are others on Instructables that are also similar. Often, the materials and process for building our projects are designed for use with a large number of visitors (we see over 800,000 annually) and the need to ensure safety in a mostly non-facilitated environment. So, yes, many of these projects have room for improvement in both materials and methodology, which is PRECISELY what we want to encourage the kids to do. So please do share your ideas for improvement and modifications!
Step 1: What You Need
1 - LED, 5mm white, slow burning, 12,000-15,000 mcd - we get ours in bulk from Leading LEDs
1 - 6” x 4½” Self-adhesive foam sheet - available at most craft stores, but we get ours in bulk from Oriental Trading
We are selective in our materials for cost, ease of use, and safety due to our high traffic (800,000 visitors annually). So, for our purposes, this design worked best. But you may have other ideas - please share!
Step 2: The Video
Step 3: Cutting the Foam Squares
Step 4: Placing the Battery
Step 5: Adding the LED
Step 6: Building a Pressure Switch
Step 7: To Use
Your Pocket Flashlight is a “squeeze switch.” In order for any electrical circuit to work it needs three parts: a power source (battery), a path for electricity to flow (LED leads), and an output (LED). Circuits can either be open (“off”) or closed (“on”). The circuit inside the flashlight is open because the LED lead is not touching the battery. When you squeeze the foam and press the LED lead to the battery, it closes the circuit and switches the LED on.