Unfortunately I never liked yellow or amber LED's so I didn't have any of those, they probably would have worked a little bit better. But I do have tons of ultra-bright white LED's in various sizes. So all I'd have to do is make some sort of yellow colored diffuser and I'd be set.
Plus I discovered a brand new composite material using tyvek and Gorilla Glue. It's probably the best idea that I've had yet, and it can be used for a HUGE variety of projects.
With all the glue drying involved it's a several day project. If you do make these please post pictures in the comments for this instructable!
I'm hoping to have pictures of the eyes at night with the whole costume after Halloween.
There they are!
Step 1: Materials List
1 bottle of Gorilla Glue (or Sumo Glue), I used both
1 small tube of Silicone sealant
some bamboo skewers
bar clamps and spring clamps
1 or 2 Tyvek mailing envelope(s)
8 feet of two conductor wire
2 5mm bright white LED's
3 inches of aluminum foil from the roll
solder with flux
heat shrink tubing
4 or more razor blades, I used the double sided kind
1 black marker or matte black paint
1 piece of corrugated cardboard about 6 inches square
1 needle and black heavy duty thread
some newspaper for a work surface
some elastic banding from the fabric store
Step 2: Making the tube
Honestly I think this is my best idea to date, it makes for a cheap but VERY solid composite. Basically it is similar to carbon fiber and epoxy resin.
After it had set I trimmed the extra tyvek from both ends of the tube (with a razor blade) so that it met the sides of the toilet paper roll. Then I divided it into 4 equal sections (again with a razor blade). First I cut the tube into half and used the two halves. I thought it would be easier to work with the two halves rather than cutting it into 4 pieces at this time. Later I'll cut each half in half again later.
Step 3: Making the sleeves for the tube
So first I wrapped the tubes with plastic wrap, enough for 3 or 4 layers. Then for a little width I wrapped some paper (printer paper) around this 3 or 4 times. Then I wrapped that again with more plastic wrap for 3 or 4 layers.
Now I cut a strip from the back of the tyvek envelop just smaller than the eventual height of the tube. Remeber in the pictures below I haven't cut these in half yet, so the tube itself is twice the height it will eventually be. I thought it would be easier to work with the sleeves if I did it this way. It gave me something to grab onto to get the sleeve off. So with the strip of tyvek that I cut, I used a razor blade to completely cover this strip with a paper thin layer of glue. I wrapped this strip tightly around the tube that we made in the last step and covered with plastic wrap in this step.
I ran out of gorilla glue but had some sumo glue (which is the same thing). The only real difference between the two is one dries yellowish (gorilla glue) and the other dries white (sumo glue). I love both and use both all the time. Sumo glue expands a bit less than gorilla glue, but I like that expansion aspect of gorilla glue in some circumstances. My Sumo glue had dried up a bit so I cut the top off so that I could get to the still liquid glue down inside the bottle.
Now you'll want to wait at least 24 hours before removing the sleeve from the tube. I recommend always letting these glues to cure for at least 24 hours. I let mine cure for 2 days. Then remove all the plastic wrap and paper (used for width) from both.
So now we have two tubes and two sleeves. The sleeves should slide back onto the tube with no problem.
Now lets make the diffuser for the LED's.
Step 4: Making the Yellow Diffuser.
Jawa Eyes are yellow, and all I have is white LED's. LED's have a very tight beam of highly directional light. So we need something that will diffuse the light and change it's color. To solve this problem I took a paper towel covered it with yellow mustard, squished it all together, then let it set for several hours in a cup, before washing it off. Then I let it dry completely. Now I've got a bright yellow paper towel to use for a diffuser. I cut circles out of this about a half inch bigger than the tube I made in step 2. Then place this piece over the tube, then take the sleeve I made in the last step and place this over the diffuser and slide it down onto the tube.
You can see this process in the picture. On the far right assembled piece you can see some black on the bottom. I was testing how well a marker worked on the tyvek can glue. Eventually I was planning on painting these matte black. But I was pressed for time and had a black marker instead, which worked fine except it was a bit glossy for my tastes.
So take the sleeve and diffuser back off the tube and cut the tube to it's final height. I also trimmed down the sleeves (with a razor blade) so that they were about a half inch shorter than the tube.
The pictures don't really do the yellow color of the diffuser justice. They are actually much more yellow. I need a new digital camera eventually.
Step 5: Making the bridge and assembling the eyes
Once the bridge has dried I then put a generous amount of Sumo Glue in the half circle parts of the bridge and glued the tubes onto the bridge. I had to clamp the bridge down to the table with two bamboo skewers and two clamps. Then I kept the tubes down on the table with a plastic food container filled with heavy items. Of course once this cures part of the newspaper will be glued to your eyes, but no worries, at least it isn't permanently glued to the table! You may want to use a rubber band or string to keep the tubes tightly attached to the bridge.
In the last picture you can see the end result.
Once the glue had dried for 24 hours the assembled eye tubes and bridge were rock solid and didn't need any further reinforcing.
Step 6: Making the LED Eyes
I've found that the best way to solder two pieces together is to get a bit of solder on each piece then melt them together. So I got some solder on the the ends of the wire then melted them to the ends of the LED.
Next cut a circle of cardboard that will fit inside our eye tubes. Punch a hole just big enough for the wires into the center of this circle. Pull the wires through the circle until the LED is almost flush. Put a little bit of glue on the bottom of the LED before pulling it flush with the circle. You want these LED to point straight up so it's best to make sure they dry this way.
Then I covered the face of the cardboard circle with a *thin* layer of glue. I used Sumo Glue again, but make sure you don't get any near the LED's. Then I cut a piece of aluminum foil just bigger than this circle, punched a hole for the LED in the center and placed this on top of the glued surface. Once it dried (24 hours), then I cut the extra Aluminum foil from around the circle. This will act as a reflector to get more of the light in the eyes to shine out the front of the eyes and help a bit with diffusing the light to get more even spread of light across the diffuser.
You can see the final pieces with the aluminum foil in the second picture.
Step 7: Inserting the LED portion into the eye tubes
In the picture below the eye tube assembly is upside down and we are looking at the bottom of the eyes.
Step 8: Wiring the battery pack
Ok so technically you *should* have a resistor wired in series with each LED. Normally I would do an internet search for an "LED array wizard". I used this one. This brings up a website that will have you put in some information about the LED's you are using, then it will tell you what size of resistor you want to put on the circuit. It will even make a diagram of your circuit. Most of the time if you are only using 3v, (which in my case I was using two AA batteries, so two at 1.5v gives 3 volts), you'll be fine. The batteries won't last more than an hour, if you put resistors on the circuit you'll get a battery life of something like 10 hours. So adding the resistor definitely adds battery life.
Unfortunately when I bought these particular LED's they didn't come with all the pertinent information that you need to run the LED wizard. Plus I was pressed for time, I had to get these eyes out in the mail to my nephew so that he'd have them in time for his Halloween party at school. So I just wired it all up with no resistors. The batteries won't last very long but I'll fix that after Halloween.
But typically you need to know the following to run the LED wizard;
Usually 3v or 4.5v depending on if you are using two or 3 AA or AAA batteries) Most of the time you'll be just fine with 2 AA or AAA batteries. Occasionally you'll run into a situation where the LED's you have require a higher voltage or you are running a large array of them, then you'd want to use more batteries.
Diode Forward Voltage:
This *should* be on the packaging of your LED's. If it isn't make sure to write it down when you buy them. I get most of mine off eBay and when they come in the mail it's not on the package. Usually they will have that information on the items page, so just be sure to write it down or print it out when you buy them.
Diode Forward Current:
Again this should be on the package, but write it down or print it out if you buy them online.
Number of LED's in your array:
Which in this case is just two.
So I tested the LED's with two 1.5v AA batteries, and they lit up just fine. But after doing a little research by looking up similar LED packs on eBay I found what I should have done should have been something just a little different. From the eBay item page I found the following specs;
- Source Material:InGaN
- Emitting Colour:White
- LENS Type:Water clear
- Color Temperature: 8000K
- Luminous Intensity-MCD: Min: 30000mcd Max: 40000 mcd
- Reverse Voltage:5.0 V
- DC Forward Voltage: Typical:3.4 V Max: 3.8V
- DC Forward Current:20mA
- Viewing Angle:20 degree
- Lead Soldering Temp:260°C for 5 seconds
- Intensely Bright
I really should have had 3 batteries and two 56 ohm resistors. I'll have to fix that once I get the eyes back after Halloween.
Step 9: Paint the outside of the pieces black.
Step 10: Attach the elastic strip.
I didn't have time to figure out how to hide the wires so I figured my nephew could just have the wires go over his head and down into the battery pack in his back pocket.
I'm hoping to get pictures of the eyes lit up in darkness after Halloween.
Lastly put the yellow diffuser back on the top of the eye tubes and secure them with the sleeves. And you are all set!