This is my first instructable. My goal with this project came down to a few simple points. Beer is good and good beer comes in cool bottles. And cool beer bottles are even cooler when they have lights in them. That being said, I wanted to take one of those cool beer bottles and turn it into a light with minimal change to how the beer bottle looks. When someone comes into my house and sees this empty beer bottle, I don't want them to have any clue initially that it is any thing other than an empty cool looking beer bottle.
Step 1: Step 1: Empty the Bottle
This, in my opinion is the most important step and my favorite part of this project. Especially when the bottle contains such a delicious beer. The bottle I used contains a beer that is also fairly strong. Not the strongest that Allagash Brewery makes, but still good enough to make you very relaxed. For that reason, I recommend waiting on the following steps until the next day. Probably not a good idea to use a hot soldering iron or hot glue gun while inebriated.
Step 2: Collect the Necessary Tools.
You will only need a few tools for this project, and I recommend you have some previous experience with them. This was my first project where I had to solder electronic components. It was a great learning experience, as well as a slightly frustrating one, but it was worth it, as the final product accomplished the goals I had in mind.
Here is a list of all the tools I used for this project.
1. Soldering gun (recommend 40 watt soldering iron)
2. Electrical tester
3. Wire Strippers
4. Cordless drill with drills bits ranging from 1/8" to 1/2" (dependent on the size of push button switch you use)
5. Hot Glue Gun
6. Utility knife
Step 3: Collect the Necessary Components
You will really only need 5 components for this project. These are the ones I used.
1. 12 volt T10 LED light
2. 12 volt T10 light socket
3. 12 volt A23 batteries
Available anywhere that sells batteries, I bought mine at Home Depot
4. Locking push button switch (even though I am providing link to the one I bought, if I do this project again I will buy a different one. It worked, but lacked any instructions, and I found that I could have used a bigger diameter switch. More details when I get to that step.)
5. A23 battery cases
Step 4: Make a Hole for the Push Button Switch.
The type of push button switch I chose as well as everything else for this project was completely dependent on the diameter of the hole they needed to fit in. I also wanted to make sure that I retained the look with the cork and the metal cover for the cork. The button I chose has a thread diameter of 12mm or just under 1/2". I also saw many 16mm push button switches which would have also worked. Prior to fitting it into the hole and I soldered leads onto the positive and negative points on the back of the switch. This switch also has a light ring on the button that lights up when it is on which requires very detailed soldering. Due to no instructions and my novice soldering abilities I chose to skip that step. I used the hot glue gun to lock in the solder joints.
In order to make the hole in the metal top and cork I started with an 1/8" drill bit and used a few different sizes prior to finishing with the 1/2" bit. Doing it this way gave me a very smooth, clean hole. Make sure you take it very slow going through the cork. It could easily tear part if you go to fast.
To lock the button into place, push it through the hole into the metal top and tighten the lock nut that comes with the push button switch. Once that is complete, you can push it through the cork. Be sure to solder on leads that are long enough to go completely through the cork and solder onto the leads from the battery covers and the light. It never hurts to make them too long and cut off what you don't need.
Step 5: Draw Diagram and Make Your Electrical Connections.
I had to test my connections a couple times to make sure it was lighting the way it should. I chose to wire my batteries in a parallel instead of series. You can wire them however you like. The reason I chose parallel is because it doubles the life of the batteries. Wiring in series would have made the light brighter, but as part of my goal was to make this more of a mood light, brightness wasn't as important as longevity. I wired this project with two batteries, but it could easily be done with more batteries if you want.
I am no electrician, so it took some trial and error to determine how it needed to be wired to work correctly. Once I found the correct wiring, I drew a very basic diagram.
Now on to the next step of completing the wiring and cramming it all together so it can fit in the bottle.
Step 6: Solder and Hot Glue
This is the messy step.
The goal if this step in the project is the line up all the components in a way that they will fit in the top of the bottle with the ability to remove them later when the batteries need to be changed. I needed to be careful about how much extra wire I left because that extra wire adds size to the diameter of the light, which of course makes it that much harder to fit smoothly into the bottle.
Step 1. Solder all your electrical connections together.
Step 2: Glue the battery cases together. Be careful not to use too much glue. Use just enough to attach them solidly, as too much glue could cause the batteries to not fit correctly.
Step 3. Glue the batteries cases to the cork. Hold the leads from the button to the side try to center the battery cases as best as possible.
Step 3. Glue down your solder connections to the back of the battery cases. The goal here again is make the complete diameter of the light as small as possible just to make sure it fits into the bottle smoothly.
Step 4. Glue the light fixture to the battery cases. This doesn't have to be a tight connection. You can even let the light hang down a little more if you like. I tried to let it hang down far enough the be behind the label of the beer bottle. I actually could have let it hand down a little farther.
Step 7: Final Step: Fit in the Bottle and Enjoy
When I first tried to fit this into the bottle it was a little tight. While you are sliding it into the bottle just see where it is tight and trim as necessary with a sharp utility knife. The areas for me that needed trimmed were just excess hot glue.
Now all that is left if to relax outside with this nice mood lighting and start emptying another bottle to make another light.
I hope you enjoy this instructable. I am going to try to project again. I may try to do it with a growler instead or maybe even a wine bottle for my wife. I will gladly listen to any tips on aspects of this project that could have been done better. Thanks for checking it out.