If you've ever wanted to have one of those clip-on bike mirrors, but didn't want to buy one that specifically mounted either the helmet, the visor, or your glasses, then this Instructable is for you. It's even better if you have the parts lying around like I do.
The result is the Pocket-Sized, Clip-On, Rear-View Mirror -- and it's even triple-hyphenated! Using a stiff copper wire, it's adjustable to any position and it's quite lightweight: under 12 grams.
Step 1: What You'll Need
The mirror itself consists of:
- an alligator clip
- a piece of 14 gauge or 12 gauge solid copper wire
- a 1"x1" hobby mirror
- epoxy like JB Weld
Tool wise, you'll need:
- needle-nosed pliers
- wire strippers
- a soldering iron and solder (optional)
- a knife (if you're extracting the wire from a scrap of Romex cable)
Step 2: Extract a Piece of Copper Wire From Scrap Romex
If you're starting from a scrap of Romex cable (the kind they use to wire outlets and lights in buildings), you'll need to extract a piece of the copper wire from inside it.
Starting with a piece no longer than about 12", cut a small part of the insulation at one end. Straighten the cable then use the needle-nosed pliers to grab the wire you want and pull it out.
Step 3: Bend One End of the Wire Into a Spiral.
Use the needle-nosed pliers to bend one end of the wire in a spiral. Try to keep it as flat as possible: because this part gets glued to the mirror, it should lay nice and flat on the back of the mirror.
Step 4: Mix Your Epoxy.
On a surface you don't care about (junk mail is great for this), mix up a small amount of epoxy. Stir it until it's a uniform color. You can cut off a piece of the wire to use as a stir-stick.
Step 5: Apply the Epoxy to the Mirror and Attach the Wire.
Apply the mixed epoxy to the back of the mirror then set the wire in place. The pad of what's left over of the mixed epoxy is a great indicator to tell when it's done setting up. I usually let the stirrer stay in the mix and stick on.
Step 6: Weight and Wait.
Weight down the spiral (especially if it's not perfectly flat) and wait for the epoxy to set up. I left it over night.
Step 7: Bend the Wire and Install the Clip.
Carefully bend the wire toward the working-side of the mirror. If it doesn't look promising, you might want to add more epoxy.
Cut the wire to about 1.5 to 2 inches long. It really doesn't need to be very long at all.
Strip the end of the wire to fit into the alligator clip.
Step 8: Attach the Clip to the Wire.
If you don't want to solder, you can just epoxy the clip onto the wire.
I like soldering, though, because it can be undone and I've got the tools to do it.
Basically, you need to heat the copper wire and add some solder to make it silver-colored. Slip the wire into the alligator clip, then heat the joint and add solder ot make a bond.
Step 9: Done!
That's it, actually. You can decorate it a little, or add something to cover the sharp edges of the mirror. You can put a little heat-shrink tubing on each of the alligator clip jaws so it can be clipped to things without leaving scratches.
In all, it's super handy, functional, optically-good, and generally cool. Thumbs up to me!