Introduction: 10W RGB LED Light Painting Multi-Tool

Painting with Light or 'Light Painting' uses light where a traditional painter would use paint, so in light painting instead of a traditional brush the artist uses a light source. just about any light source can be used as a light painting tool, from a BIC lighter to a glow stick, to fireworks, to stage lights, the options are limitless...however through my explorations of the art i have found a few key traits that a good light painting tool should have...

  • portability (it is nice to be able to easily move it around and not need to have it plugged in)
  • RGB light source(everyone loves colors!)
  • black body (so only the things you want to see show up)
  • no light leaks (let the light shine only where you want it)
  • easy on/off

This versatile light painting tool can be made from inexpensive easily obtainable parts in a short period of time.

the completed light features a 10W RGB led with driver and IR remote, including color select options, fade, stobe, smooth, and flash transistions, and easy ON/OFF. the body of the light is made from black ABS pipe and fittings and can be easily adapted to different diameters to allow for endless attachment options, attachments created include:

  • short sabre (using a piece of vellum extracted from a broken LCD computer monitor)
  • diffused rounded rectangle (made from happy planet bottle, the smaller bottles give the best result)
  • Wax Diffuser (candle wax in the ABS pipe)
  • Salt Crystal (rock salt deodorant stick)
  • plexi-glass sheet
  • dimpled plastic golf ball (gives a neat texture)
  • spray paint tip(1/4" pipe adapter)

(more attachment pictures to come, some attachments in another location at time of writing)

this powerful RGB LED Light painting tool is best enjoyed with a high-end digital camera or for even more control, and options, check out Light Paint HiR

Step 1: Materials

    all the parts required should be easy to obtain, obviously make any substitutions you see fit...

    • ABS Pipe
    • ABS pipe fittings
    • 10W RGB LED
    • ~12V Battery (preferably rechargeable)

    the pipe and fittings can be found at just about any hardware store, the 10W RGB can be purchased from many vendors on ebay, with many options available. the 'light bulb' style could be substituted with a raw led, driver and heat-sink. a drill battery was used for this light but any approximately 12V-DC source should work

    to turn the light into a true multi-tool attachments can be created here are some of the materials used to create a few simple addons:

    • vellum paper (fancy tracing paper, found in old LCD screen or purchased at art store)
    • candle wax (extracted from cheap white 'tea lights')
    • translucent pipe end
    • plexiglass sheet
    • translucent juice bottle (happy planet shown here)

    Step 2: Tools

    just a few simple tools are needed;

    • Saw (jig optional but handy)
    • pliers
    • soldering iron
    • screw driver

    Step 3: Prepare the LED

    remove the plastic defuser from the light bulb using a pair of pliers

    de-solder the + and - leads connecting the LED driver to the base of the light, and unscrew the two screws holding the LED to the heatsink.

    carefully remove the LED from the heatsink.

    remove the base socket connector from the heatsink (CAUTION! - the heatsink fins can be sharp)

    with these components removed we are ready to secure the heatsink in the ABS pipe collar, to do this, heat up the heatsink (on top of a wood stove works good) and press the the heatsink fins into the collar, when it cools it should just hold in place (pressure fit)

    once the heatsink is secured in the collar solder some short wire leads to the led and feed them through the hole in the heatsink, apply new thermal paste and secure the LED back into position

    (DESIGN NOTE: you may be able to fit the original light bulb fixture aswell as the 12V leads)

    Step 4: Prepare the Battery

    secure the battery into the ABS Pipe, i found Styrofoam worked good for a decent 'pressure fit'

    Step 5: Put It All Together

    connect the power leads from the LED to your battery (make sure to check the polarity) fit the pipe with the battery into the collar, and press the 'on' button on the remote, and you should see the bright light come on!