It's dead easy if you have even the most basic making skills and great to try if you've never done any electronics before. Plus there's a little bit of fun hacking apart a Series A USB plug and using the guts!
- A couple of old packaging bottle caps (shower bottle and single serving drinks bottle, or something similar)
- Some thick tin foil (take out tray, or aluminum roofing / flashing tape) although thin foil will work
- A cheap USB Laptop light (or the appropriate LED, wire, correct resistor and USB Plug
- A small piece of clear plastic sheet (OHP sheet or bit of old packaging)
- Some cardboard and or foamcore (not necessary but nice)
- Some low value loose change
- Soldering iron
- Hot Melt Glue gun
- Black and silver paint (spray or markers)
- About 1.5 to 2 hours to spare doing this project
Step 1: Find a couple of suitable bottle caps
Given the shampoo only cost about 50p for 750ml, it would be worth buying a bottle just to use the cap and then keeping the shampoo as hand wash or shampoo refill.
Note the fact that the cap is translucent, this is quite important, because in the real spotlight there is quite a bit of light leakage through the cooling vents at the side of the lamp, and the translucent cap lets us mimic this effect rather nicely.
The single serving drinks sports cap is nice because the push pull closure also rotates, which means that the finished spotlight will be able to rotate, although this is not really necessary, of course unlike the real one, your USB spotlight won't need a crane to turn it round.
Step 2: Wrap top in foil strips
Put some double sided strips on the back of your thick foil, then cut into strips that are thin enough to fit about 5 strips with small gaps over the height of the cap. My cap had the product delivery hole slightly off center. I decided that I would make this the bottom of the lamp so I made certain that my strips all met at the bottom. We are going to cover the join up anyway.
Step 3: Add reinforcing
Step 4: Build power supply from a cork
Glue the foil on with hot melt, double sided, or fast setting two part resin epoxy.
Step 5: Attach power supply to base of spotlight
Step 6: Colour the end of the lamp barrel
Step 7: Cut USB plug off USB Light
Cut the lamp assembly near to the plug using strong pliers.
Step 8: Take out the LED and its wire
Step 9: Fit LED to spotlight
When you've done it should look a bit like this... see second picture
Step 10: Hack the USB plug apart
Once you have slit it you can peel the rubber cover off the metal parts. It might put up a little bit of resistance because it was moulded into place, but it should come off all in one piece and relatively easily. What you see immediately is a metal case.
The metal case is made up of two parts . to separate them, you first need to unwrap the top part cable grip. Once you have done this the top case part opens up on two little semi hinges and then can be lifted off.
Inside you'll find more messy rubber, you have to pick this off. It does come off quite easily, but you will quite probably break the thin wires in doing so. This doesn't matter at all because you are going to be soldering new ones on anyway.
When you have taken it all apart you can solder the wires that go tot the LED back on to the relevant pins, see diagram. The middle two pins are NOT used.
Step 11: Hack USb plug back together
Put some hot melt on to the soldered pin ends and quickly press home the top little hard plastic cover. Trim off any hot melt that gunges out the sides.
Slip the white plastic rectangle back into the metal case and put the metal case top back on and close the cable grips back up. Squeeze a little hot melt glue into the metal case to pot up all the wires and provide strain relief.
Offer the metal case up to the rubber outer housing to see where it should go and then as you put it back on put a tiny bit of glue gun glue at the wire end of the plug and wrap the rubber cover back round the metal case.
Stick the slit edge of the rubber cover with Super Glue (Cyanoacrylate). Most soft plug mouldings are made out of the same plastic (PVC, vinyl or rubber) as the wires and Super Glue sticks them very well. (remember it also sticks skin better than almost anything else, so NEVER let children do this bit of the project).
Step 12: Make the spotlight lens
Measure the inner circumference of the lamp and make a foil strip that will fit neatly inside the lamp without sticking up proud from the top.
On a similar piece of foil mark up and then cut out the Batman logo. The logo must fit the area of the lens. Put a strip of double sided sticky tape on the back of the foil before you cut it out.
Get images to copy from off the web, or go to thedadcando batman project where there is a downloadable template of the bat logo (and the mounting yoke, you will need in a minute).
Cut out the bat logo and using double sided tape stick it to the lens in the center. Fold the tags down.
Insert the foil strip into the lamp and then insert the lens tags and push the lens down so it is level with the top. The best way to down this is to peel off only one of the tags double sided, poke this tag in and stick it firmly and then push the other tags in and pull off the double sided backing with tweezers or the corner of your craft knife once the tags are in place.
Make sure that the tags go down in between the foil and the lamp wall, so they are hidden when it is assembled.
Step 13: Glue on the yoke mounting
Step 14: Make the base
I filled the underside of the cap with 2 pence coins and hot melt and then when I reached the top of the cap I turned it over and stick it to a sheet of stiff card. When it was set after a few minutes I cut round the edge with my kitchen scissors.
While that was setting I made the support yoke.
Step 15: Make the support yoke
Measure the width of your lamp with its extra side pieces and just make sure that it is a sung fit in the yoke. I used foam core for the yoke, but you could use much nice materials. Two bits of card glued together, thin plastic or thin wood for example.
Cut the bottom prong so that it fits into the hole in the top of the drinks bottle.
spray or paint both the yoke and the base, black and then stick them together using hot melt or any other quick setting glue
Step 16: Assemble lamp into yoke
I've loved doing this project, I feel many more USB light type projects coming on, it was so easy and the effects are really cool.