Introduction: Solar Light Wind Chime

Picture of Solar Light Wind Chime
I had this idea floating around my head for some time now, at least a year if not longer.  But I was always too busy with other projects to make it. One evening few weeks ago as I was out on then balcony enjoying the warm summer breeze and thought how nice it would be to finally make myself a wind chime with lights.  It is a really simple idea,  just combine a solar light with a wind chime and watch the lights dance in the breeze in time with the chimes.

I've included a video, but unfortunately my camera doesn't pick up the light well :(

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need
Materials:
  • Small solar garden light ( I picked one up at a dollar store.)
  • Wind chimes or parts of a wind chime, namely the metal rods (you can get these cheat at a dollar store)
  • Extra LEDs I used two, a blue and a green one
  • Glass beads, a piece of beach glass and wire
  • String and a hanger
  • Plastic lid
Tools:
  • Dremel
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Large sewing needle
  • Wire and soldering iron (or if you are like me and hate soldering -conductive thread)

Step 2: Prepare Metal Rods

Picture of Prepare Metal Rods

I was able to fit three metal rods under the base of the solar lights.  I had to cut them so that their length decreased proportionally. I drilled two holes across from one another in the end of each rod (1 cm from the end) to hang them.  I drilled some additional larger holes along and around the length of the rods for the light to come out. 

Step 3: Prepare Lights

Picture of Prepare Lights

The solar light that I bought had only one LED but I needed an LED for each rod. So I opened the light housing and added the two addition LEDs in parallel.  (As you can see I used conductive thread to connect the LEDs, this is not ideal but I just really don't like/am not very good at soldering). 

Step 4: Prepare Lights

Picture of Prepare Lights

Since I used conductive thread instead of wire to connect the lights I had to wrap it in tape to prevent short circuiting.  Once that was done, I put the light cover back on and arranged the LEDs around the base so that they were equally spaced and all pointed down.  I used tape to hold them in place.

Step 5: Cover

Picture of Cover

Since all this tape that I have been using looks really messy I made a cover to put over it.  This is also to protect it from the weather.  I cut a circle from a plastic lid.  Cut three holes for the LEDS and poked smaller holes one on each side of these for the string to attach the metal rods. I coloured the plastic black so that it would match the rest of the light housing. I also needed a hole in the centre for the string holding the beads and wind catcher.

Step 6: Hanger

Picture of Hanger

I attached string to the top of the solar light for a hanger.   I tied the string to the two knobs where the screws fit in and added a key ring to the string for hanging.

Step 7: String the Rods

Picture of String the Rods

I attached the metal rods to the plastic cover with string on each side of the LED hole.  The rod sits about a half a centimeter below to allow it to swing freely.  I also threaded a thicker string through the centre of the solar light housing (through the original hole for the LED) and through the plastic cover.  I secured it with tape on the inside of the solar light housing as this string will hold the glass beads and wind catcher.

Step 8: Finish Up

Picture of Finish Up
To finish up tape the plastic cover to the light housing, make sure the rods fit directly under an LED.  Add one or two glass beads to the centre string (depending on the length of the rods).  For a wind catcher I used a flat piece of beach glass and wrapped it with wire to make a loop to hang it from.  The wind catcher should sit below the rods.

A few thoughts:
  • I probably could have added a few more holes in the rods to more light to shine out, but I wasn't sure if it would effect the sound too much.
  • Bamboo could be used instead of metal if you don't like the 'clangy' sound, but one advantage of using metal is that the light inside the rod is reflected nicely along it's length which you wouldn't get with the bamboo.
  • Another option to change the tone of the chimes is to use a wood clapper instead of the glass beads.
  • You can hang some smaller glass beads around the outside edge to reflect more light.
  • I'm not totally happy with the way the light housing looks the tape job looks a bit too sloppy to me, perhaps fitting something over top to cover it (but not the solar panel) would be better.



Comments

rimar2000 (author)2012-08-12

Good idea, I add a suggest:

If you "tune" the lengths of the tubes, in order to obtain a [major, preferable] chord, the improvement is AWESOME.

A major chord is in example C-E-G. A minor works, too, (C,Eb,G) but I prefer major. It sounds more cheerful.

r6geo (author)rimar20002014-05-06

Tune the chimes After the holes are made, as the holes do affect the sound.

rimar2000 (author)r6geo2014-05-07

Good point, r6geo.

ChrysN (author)rimar20002012-08-12

Thank you, that is good advice. I guess that is why some wind chimes sound melodious and others just sound like noise.

rimar2000 (author)ChrysN2012-08-13

Yes, I repeat: the effect is awesome.

grimguy1 (author)2013-06-09

Rad

gantsa (author)2013-03-03

very nice :)

ChrysN (author)gantsa2013-03-03

Thanks!

JasonE (author)2013-01-06

Fine work! I'll be making one of these!

azharz (author)2012-09-02

Nice instructable.

ChrysN (author)azharz2012-09-03

Thanks!

bruce5000 (author)2012-08-16

were do you fin led, lights & what is condutivr thread ive never heardof it thanks, good work

ChrysN (author)bruce50002012-08-16

You can use wire instead of conductive thread if you don't mind soldering. Conductive is a sew-able conductive material. Here is a link for the thread:http://soft-circuit.com/.

You can get LED lights on ebay:http://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_nkw=led+5mm&_frs=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m359

or someplace like this: http://www.ledshoppe.com/led5mm.htm


bruce5000 (author)ChrysN2012-08-18

thanks ill have to try that

sunshiine (author)2012-08-13

I love wind chimes! Especially this one! Thanks for sharing!
Sunshiine

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-08-13

That is awesome! More wind chimes should light up!

CrLz (author)2012-08-13

Stunning idea, transcendental!

LauraLauraLynn (author)2012-08-12

That is amazing! And beautiful!

ChrysN (author)LauraLauraLynn2012-08-12

Thanks!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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