I have always been fascinated my the beauty of real wood incorporated into products and in particular everyday carry tools. I noticed a lot of wood incorporated into EDC products, especially knives on the market, but have not yet seen many flashlights with this. This inspired me to make my own and the following project is an all wood exterior flashlight with an aluminium internal heat sink powered by a high power CREE LED and a fully USB rechargeable lithium battery. It has a rear wooden plug that gives access to a USB rechargable socket.
This flashlight is obviously not a strong as other flashlights, it was more of a fun experiment to make something that looks nice. After making this light, it has inspired me to continue my designs and make a more practical and stronger flashlight that incorporates the real wood feature.
I hope you enjoy my first instructable, I had a lot of fun. Thanks
Step 1: Selecting the Type of Wood
First things first I needed to choose a type of wood for the body of the flashlight. I decided to use Canadian maple for it's nice grain pattern and it also has strong density. This will allow for turning the wood with thinner walls and keep a nice grain for the overall look
Step 2: Fine Turning the Wood
The work for this wooden cylinder was done using a lathe. It was then hand finished on the inside to allow for a thinner wall to be created and specific dimensions to be met for the insertion of different hardware. It was important not to make the wall to thin so the wood didn't split and crack. Luckily the maple allowed for quite fine tuning in this area.
Step 3: Circuit Design
I decided to use a CREE high power LED XM-L2 and drive it at 1A. This would give a decent amount of output and also allow for decent battery life. The battery choice was a 18650 rechargeable lithium ion. I was thinking of getting into some electrical engineering and creating my own circuit, but I decided to order a bunch of different LED driver circuits that are specifically designed for the battery selection and CREE LED of choice. The cost of these vary, but I decided on a LuxDrive 1000mA BuckPuck as they are fully sealed and proved to be a good quality product.
An important feature I wanted to integrate into the flashlight was a USB rechargeable point, so I sourced an integrated circuit online. It has a recharge of 1A and micro USB input.
I decided to go with an old-school toggle switch to give the light a vintage look, I think this complimented the wood.
When tested on the breadboard in the picture shown, all these parts integrated and worked beautifully with a good lumen output of the LED and a very respectable battery life.
Step 4: Other Hardware
The LED was attached to a cylinder aluminium heat sink using a high quality thermal paste. I ensured that the size of this heat sink was quite large for better thermal conductivity as it would be enclosed completely inside the wooden cylinder and would not have any exposure to ambient air.
For the optics, I went for a Total Internal Reflector (TIR) lens. This is a lens that reflects all the light internally through it's plastic material. This was just an experiment as I have always been interested in this newer product. It seemed to project the beam quite well. It was also a good choice for the wood as I didn't need to implement a protective glass screen. I have shown a picture of the TIR lenses paired with some other common optics :) and also the CREE LED's