Introduction: FLED Rudolph

Last year, my mom noticed some large FLEDs (Flashing LEDs) at an electronics store. She thought that they would be perfect for some "Rudolph noses," which is what gave me the idea for this project. Originally, I was going to enter this in the laser cutter contest last year, but I never got around to it.

- 1/8" plywood (from hobby stores)
- 10mm FLED (Linrose B4381H1FL-Red)
- 22 AWG stranded wire
- 2 AA battery box (preferably with a cover)
- Small slide switch
- Brown paint
- Googly eyes (from a craft store)
- "Snowflakes" (Made by Soft Snow)
- ~22 AWG bare copper wire

- Scroll saw/jigsaw (I made the first generation with an old Craftsman jigsaw)
- Hot glue gun
- Soldering iron and solder
- Dremel tool (sandpaper will work, but it will take a VERY long time)
- Something to paint with

Step 1: Cut Out the Body Halves

Trace an approximate reindeer shape onto the plywood. I used an image I found as a stencil, but unfortunately, it no longer exists. Just find a side view of a reindeer that is proportionate to your FLED. You will need to trace two body halves onto the plywood.

Cut out the halves using a scroll saw/jigsaw. Sand down the edges so that all splinters are removed and the body is smooth. A Dremel tool with a drum sanding bit is helpful.

Step 2: The Electronics

Test your FLEDs on a breadboard (burned out LEDs are a nuisance, once everything is glued together). Trim and strip the positive lead, so that it is just long enough to be soldered to the slide switch. Then, solder a slide switch to the positive lead on the battery box and tuck the excess wire under the switch. Strip and tin both ends of the wire, and solder one end to either of the outer terminals of the switch. Solder the other end to the longer lead on the FLED (polarity matters, since reversing it can permanently damage the FLEDs). Now, solder the negative wire to the other lead on the FLED. Put in two AA batteries and check to see that it works. (Note: resistor is NOT necessary)

Step 3: Mounting the Nose

Dremel out a channel on the inside face of each body half, that are deep enough to run your wires through (the drum sander bit works best). You want these channels mirror each other, as closely as possible.

Tack down the wires with a few spots of hot glue, and securely glue in the FLED. Now is a good time to check that everything still works, before you glue on the other body half. If the nose doesn't start blinking immediately, turn off the power and start troubleshooting (trust me, it's better than having to rip it apart after you already glued everything together.)

Now that everything works, apply plenty of hot glue to the side you just mounted the wires to, and attach the two halves of the body together, aligning them as best as possible. After the glue cools, glue the "umbilical cord" (the two power wires that stick out from the belly) to the backside of the front leg. Paint the entire reindeer brown, making sure to paint over the "umbilical cord," so it's not as noticeable.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

Glue the reindeer to the battery box by applying a dot of hot glue to the bottom of each leg. Run the excess wire across the battery box, and tack it down with some more hot glue (it will get covered with snow later).

Form some "antlers" out of the bare copper wire, and hot glue them to the head (one on each side). At the same time, glue an eye below each antler.

Apply a generous amount hot glue to the battery box, and sprinkle some "snow" on it. Repeat until very little black plastic is visible, and there is ~1/8" of snow on the base.

Homemade Holidays: Holiday Gifts

Participated in the
Homemade Holidays: Holiday Gifts

Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest

Participated in the
Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest