Introduction: Glowing Sugru Pendant (for Burning Man 2013)

In this Instructable I'll explain how create a glowing pendant made out of simple materials. No engineering/programming skills are requires, though you will need to know how to do some basic soldering.

I've spent a lot of time trying out different variations for this pendant, and this one is my favorite so far. I already made several of those and I am planning to gift them on the next burn :)

Oh, and if you liked this Instructable, don't forget to vote for me in the contests :)

Step 1: Materials

You will need the following:
  • 1 x 5g Sugru pack (or get two, just in case). Any color will do, but if you use white the entire pendant should glow
  • 1 x 5mm slow flash LED. Alternatively, you can get fast flashing LEDs, or just a fixed color LED. Get them on EBay, they are pretty cheap
  • 1 x CR2032 SMD Battery Holder. I used this one
  • 1 x CR2032 battery
  • Plastic diffuser. The size should be about the same as the size of the battery holder. Mine are 2.5 x 1.8cm. I cut my diffusers from an Ikea 701.362.03 plastic box cover, which is ~2mm thick
  • Sand paper (optional)
  • Tin Foil (to use as a surface when working with Sugru)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Solder iron
  • A cutter (to shorten the "legs" of the LED)
  • Various tools to cut and shape the Sugru. I don't know the names, but you can look at the photo and see what I used. I also use a scalpel (not shown in this photo)

Step 2: Preperations

Cut the diffuser so it more or less covers the battery compartment. Then, cut/shave/use sandpaper to make the corners round. Actually, you should try and make sure that the diffuser does not have any sharp edges because it is harder to cover them with Sugru.

Use sand paper to round all sharp edges of the battery compartment. This is an optional step, but if you don't want the pendant to scratch your skin, you should do this. 

The battery holder has two small metallic parts that stick out (see photo). You can cut or break them as you don't really need them. Watch the photo carefully so see how I later solder the LED to the battery compartment to make sure you don't cut the wrong parts.

Now, use sand paper (or just a cutter) to remove the "skirt" of the LED. It will save you 1-2 mm and make the pendant thinner.

Step 3: LED and Battery Holder

Place the battery holder so that the battery compartment points down. The, place the LED on the back of the battery holder and bend its legs until they touch the connectors of the battery holder. 

Now, MAKE SURE that you got the + and - right. The longer leg is usually + . I recommend that you use battery and see whether the LED works. After everything is in place, shorten the LED legs so they don't stick out.

Once everything is ready, solder the LED legs to the battery connectors.

Then, use hot glue to surround the LED. Put several layers, so that the glue is at the same height as the LED. Later, when you  place the diffuser, the hot glue will help keeping it in place. You can also use Sugru for this, but:
1. Sugru is expansive. Hot glue is cheap. If you use Sugru you will need to use a second pack for the pendant
2. Hot glue is transparent, so it will act as a diffuser (instead of blocking the light as Sugru does)

Step 4: Preparing the "Man" Figure

Note - you can create the figure after you place the diffuser on the battery compartment and cover everything with Sugru. I personally prefer to create the man figure first so if I get it wrong it's easier to fix.

Open the Sugru package and prepare the Sugru. I use tin foil as a surface to prevent Sugru from sticking to my table.

Place the Sugru on the diffuser and flatten it. I use an acrylic roller, but you can probably use a round glass instead. Be careful not to make it too thin.

Prepare a sketch of the figure you want. Don't waste too much time of this - it will get distorted when you later peel the Sugru from the tin foil. Preparing the sketch helps you verify the thickness of the Sugru.

During my experiments, I prepared a plywood template using a laser cutter. I then place it on the sugru and gently press it to create the outlines of the figure, and then use a scalpel to create the actual figure.

Important! make sure that  your design is centered on the diffuser. It is a bit tricky, but I found out that after I use the roller to flatten the Sugru, I can easily tell the outlines of the diffuser.

Now, carefully peel the Sugru from the tin foil. Yes, it's going to distort your design, but there's nothing much you can do about it (but if you do have a better idea, please share!)

Step 5: Attaching the Diffuser to the Battery Holder

Place the diffuser and sugru on the battery holder (the side with the LED) and carefully cover the sides of the diffuser and battery holder with sugru. Make sure you do not block the battery compartment - the battery is actually wider than the battery holder. If you accidentally blocked it, you can always use a scalpel to fix it.

Use a piece of sugru and create a small "loop", or a hole on the top of the pendant, so you can later place it on a chain or string.

Fix the "max" figure (or whatever design you chose). 

Make sure that the chain hole wasn't damaged during the last step (it probably has).

Note - this step is very time consuming and can be a bit frustrating as you might need to redo some of the steps. Sugru is very sticky, and very soft. 

Step 6: All Done!

Give the Sugru a couple of hours to cure. Then, simply place the battery and you are done!  If you choose to create a pendant, I strongly recommend that you make two and give the second one as a gift :)

If you happen to go to Burning Man 2013, please come and visit my group's CORE project - The Hand Of Inspiration

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