Introduction: 3D Printed Solar Bike Light for Less Than 2$

Hi everyone !

Because i met this solar bird in a dollar shop and I needed a front bike light I decided to build my own solar bike light for less than 10 box !

So here are the steps to do it. It took me about 2 hours to build it.

Ready ? Go !

Step 1: Materials

What you'll need is :

- a small piu piu or any solar system which harvest solar energy and store it in a small battery or supercapacitor

- a ruller or anything you can measure with

- a pen and paper to write dimensions

- access to 3D modeling or a friend who would help you in it.

Thanks to Fusion 360, it took me about one hour to draw this one

Step 2: Step One : Open Heart Chirurgy to Grab What You Need

Take the solar system you found on your way and get what you need inside.

I know it's a bit a waste but I couldn't let this object as original on my bike. Estethic issue.

Sensitive soul ... skip to step 3)

For the other ones : I just took a hammer and a screwdriver ,a nice hard floor called "a street" and hit strongly the glue which permitted the light to stick inside this clay bird.

Step 3: ​Step Two : Measures of Your System and Draw With a Pen

There it goes, time to measure the solar panel, the diameter of the hole for the light reflector, the screws , the hole for the wires and for the LED.

It's a special moment, and note that you will offset your measures !

I also advise you to follow the Sketch class on instructables which is very useful to get used to drawing. Mine is not perfect but definitely better than before the class.

Step 4: Step Three : ​3D Drawing Time

That's my favorite moment : 3D drawing on Fusion was pretty nice.

Thanks to Youtube, and Autodesk online course about Fusion 360 tutorial it really helped.

So here is the way I finally did it

1) Full body

a) square to fit the solar panel

b) the bell form

c) the part I'll need to screw on the front of my bike

2) Emptying the body

a) Making a rectangular hole for the solar system

b) Making a hole for the bell form to set the light inside the body

c) fillets to have a more comfortable design

It's really a technical to design way of drawing, any designer point of view would be appreciated.

Step 5: Step Four : ​3D Print !

Notice that to respect the bicycle theme, the spool holder is a bike rack.

I printed it first in PLA to try this out because in most of the cases it takes 3 attempts to reach the perfect 3D drawing.

( Enjoy learning of mistakes ;) Try, fail, learn, and again and again and "yeah ! it works !" )

And you know what is this moment perfect to do ? Writing an Instructables ! ;)

So there is goes H-2 before the print finishes, man vs machine. I took some pictures while 3D printing trying to make it lose a bit of focus but nothing to do, it keeps 3D printing focusing on its task, what a machine.

Well, machine won...

BUT I'm ready to try my 3D part !

(small break time)

Step 6: Step Five : Assembly

Putting parts together and checking if everything works.

Nothing Special it's a moment to live more than describe ;)

To be honest for a first model I'm more than satisfied with it and very impatient to install it.

Step 7: Step Six : on the Bike !

Yeah ! I've got a front light on my bike ! don't have to care about battery anymore !

I'd say for an urban use it's pretty handy. I use to commute and it's more to be seen, but also to see.

Depending of the interest of this post and after testing it more deeply, I'll try to hack a stronger light !

Hope You enjoyed reading this instructables,

Feel free ask any question, remark, comments.

Cheers !


Step 8: Calculations : Will I Store Enough Energy to Cycle 1h/day All Year Long ?

Will I store enough energy with this panel in my battery to be able to cycle 1h/day all year long (even in winter in fact) ?

Here is the radiation in Canada :

So, I get 1.5 kWh/day/m2 in winter

effiency of solar panel 10%

Result : 0.15 kWhelectric/m2/day so 150 Wh electric/m2/day

My solar surface is 20 mm x 30 mm = 600 mm2 = 0.0006 m2 right ?

( congrats to the ones who follow )

So I'll get : 150 (Wh/m2) x 0.0006 (m2) = 0.09 Wh electric in my day

my LED is 2V x 25 mA = 50 mW = 0.05 W

So 0.09 (Wh) / 0.05 (W) = 1.8 hour !

Youpi ! I can theoretically ride more than 1 hour even in winter !

Solar Contest 2017

Second Prize in the
Solar Contest 2017