Step 1: The Ingredients
- One 6 inch piece of 1/2inch copper pipe
- One 3/4 inch to 3/4 inch copper pipe coupler
- One 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch copper pipe reducer
- One 1/2 inch copper end cap
- One hot glue stick (the more transparent the better)
- One wine bottle cork
- One as-bright-as-you-can-find White LED (Note: Most white LED's like this one http://www.cree.com/products/pdf/LEDlamps/C513A-WSS&WSN.pdf Require 3.2V and 20mA to drive them. In this project we're gonna use 3AA batteries which should give us 4.5V and 40mA of current. So you have a couple options: find an LED that can handle this current and voltage, use one that can't handle the current and voltage but know that you'll be cutting the life of the LED significantly, solder a resistor in-line with the LED leads to limit the current, put two LED's in parallel to split the ~40mA giving each one ~20ma a piece.)
- Three AA batteries (Or two, depending on the LED you use)
- One empty wine bottle (not pictured)
Also needed... Crisco (or some other brand) vegetable shortening. You'll see why in a few steps,
Step 2: Tools Needed
- Two hands (yours or a friends)
- A hot glue gun (I used a hi-temp gun but I think a low temp one should work fine too)
- A pipe cutter (or hack saw if you have one of those)
- xActo Knife or box cutter
- Metal file
- Needle nose pliers
You'll also need a pencil but I'm assuming getting a hold of one of those is not a problem. If you don't have a pencil any suitable mark making instrument will suffice.
Step 3: Cutting the Pipe
On to the cutting... copper is a real soft metal so it's really easy to cut with your standard screw type pipe cutter (show in the picture).
To cut the pipe:
- Measure from one end of the pipe 6 inches in length and make a mark
- Place the pipe cutter blade at the mark and slowly turn the pipe with one hand as you tighten the screw handle with the other. This will slowly pinch down on the pipe and cut through it in a few turns.
- Use a metal file to clean the inner edge of the pipe. You want make sure that the AA batteries needed to power the light can pass through the pipe with out getting stuck. It may take a bit work to clean up the edge.
- Check to see if the pipe is the same size as 3 AA batteries. If it is then you're done. Nice work!
Note: You might also try using a hack saw instead of the pipe cutter if you have one. Just don't apply too much pressure as you cut because you might squish the copper pipe. I recommend the standard pipe cuter over the hack saw as it leaves a cleaner edge on the pipe and is slightly safer to use.
Step 4: Making the Cork LED Holder
To make the LED holder:
- Start by slicing off a 1/4 inch thick disk from the cork.
- Then poke two small holes in the middle of cork roughly the same distance apart as the two wires that stick out of the bottom of the LED. I used the end of my mechanical pencil to do this. You could also use a push pin or a paper clip if those are handy. These holes don't have to be big they're just starter holes to make it easier to feed the LED lead wires through the cork without forcing (and possibly bending) them too much.
- Once you've made the holes push the LED wires through the cork disk so it sits right on top of the cork.
Step 5: LED Holder and Break Time
Step 6: Bending LED Wires
Step 7: Seating the LED Cork Disk
Step 8: Greasing the Coupling
This is where the vegetable shortening comes in...
Apply a liberal amount of the vegetable shortening to the inside of the 3/4inch copper coupling piece (the same amount you would use if you were making brownies and had to grease the bottom of the pan... mmm... brownies). Once thoroughly greased, fit the coupling piece over the reducer (the part with the LED) as shown in the lower two quadrants of the picture below.
Now go clean that grease off your hands before you get it all over the furniture!
Note: I've tried both vegetable oil and Vaseline prior to vegetable shortening, neither one worked (meaning I couldn't get the mold off because the glue was able to do it's job). If you don't have vegetable shortening you might try some lip balm or chap stick (no promises though I have not tested this theory).
Step 9: Hot Glue Time! (we're Almost Done... I Promise)
With the 3/4 inch coupling fully greased and in place over the LED in the base we can start filling it up with hot glue. Do this on a level surface where you are not likely to bump it over. We're putting almost a full stick of hot glue in this tube of copper and let me tell you from experience it gets HOT. Fill the coupling up to the top with hot glue and let it stand (without touching it) for 20-30 minutes as it cools. You can tell when it's started the cooling process as the glue which was once rounded on top and clear turns translucent and concave. Once the glue has fully cooled you can move on to the next step.
Seriously: Don't touch the copper pieces until the glue inside has fully cooled. Copper conducts a lot of heat and after you put all that hot glue in there the heat is trying to escape. The heat escaping is what makes the surface of the copper very hot.
Step 10: Removing the Coupling
Step 11: Bend the Positive Lead
Step 12: Assemble!
Step 13: Put in the Batteries
Step 14: Done!
If not, well, you should probably double check the connections:
- make sure that positive end of the battery is touching the 1/2 inch copper end cap
- make sure that the pig-tailed LED lead (-) is touching the negative end of the battery (you may need to pull it out a little so that it can make contact)
- make sure that the positive LED lead (+) is touching the copper and NOT accidentally touching the positive one by accident.
I hope everything went well for you in this instructable. Feel free to leave comments and/or questions.