Tilt Shotgun Shell Night Light!





Introduction: Tilt Shotgun Shell Night Light!

Build a really simple shotgun shell night light that turns on with a flip!


Do not try to do this with live ammunition! The shotgun shells used in this project were empty casings!

Step 1: Materials

  • 1 paper shotgun shell
  • 1 transparent plastic shotgun shell
  • 1 tilt ball sensor/switch
  • 2 bright white LEDs
  • 1 3v button cell battery ( I used a CR2032)

Step 2: Tools

  • Soldering iron
  • Exacto knife, scalpel.

Step 3: Basic Construction

I was messing around with some old shotgun shells when I found that the metal casings would hold a 3v button cell battery perfectly if I removed the paper tube. Since the positive side of the button cell battery wraps around the edge of the battery I could place the battery inside the metal casing without it shorting out. I used bright white LEDs since normal ones could not emit enough light through the green plastic. I also tried green LEDs which worked quite well, but not as well as the bright white.

Step 4: Preparations

To remove the tube I had to drill out the compressed paper, soaking it in water, drilling again, cutting... When I was done I was left with this metal casing. This is where the battery will sit. Cut off the folds on the end of the plastic casing.

Step 5: Circuit

This is the circuit. It's a bit messy but it works. The LEDs are connected in parallel to the cylinder of the tilt switch which is then connected to the negative side of the battery.

Step 6: Building

I soldered the positive side of the LEDs to the shell casing and positioned the tilt switch node where the battery's negative side will be. The pictures show how it works; the tilt switch closes the circuit when it's turned right side up. When it's turned upside down, the tilt switch is open = the lights turn off. The primer acts as a part holding the battery connection in place.

Step 7: Aesthetics

This is what it looks like when I place the plastic casing oven the circuit! The plastic casing fits snuggly in the metal casing! It sort of looks like a huge fuse.

Step 8: Finished

This is what it looks like! When I flip it, it turns on and gives off a soft green light. Perfect for a night light!

Step 9: PS. Thoughts...

It's been a few days since a built this now and I've come across a tiny problem. The tilt switch doesn't have a very good connection to the battery so it will flicker a bit. I soldered a small spring to the tilt switch to make a better connection and now it works fine. :)

Step 10: If You Like This Instructable, Please Comment!

2 People Made This Project!


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I am going to make some for my daughter and also hunting!

Nice Instructable! Like the idea of reusing the casings. I have tons of these and will be making some! Question: Why do you solder the negative side of the LED leads to the tilt switch casing and not to the other post? Thanks!

My switch is a bit weird. It's an spdt switch, I just needed an spst switch.

Thanks for the reply. That makes sense.

How long will the battery last?

A CR2032 battery is rated at 3.0 volts and 225 mAh. 2 LEDs at 20 mA = 40 mA. This equals 3937.5 hours not counting battery discharge curve. Wow that seems like a long time. Not sure I calculated that correctly.

The intensity is only limited by the internal battery resistor, about 10 ohm, i=u/r, i=3/10=300mA ! the battery will last about one hour !

224 divided by 40, which is 5.5 hours. Thats assuming they pull all 40mA we're thinking of.

That being said I accidentialy left two white LEDs connected to a CR2032 battery for something like a week in my car, and fund them still lit up. (Name tag from an event.) A friend of mine did as well and found his lighting up way longer than expected.

Kudos for a really darn fun design.

See I knew I was doing something wrong ;) thanks!