In Case of Apocalypse Break Glass

Introduction: In Case of Apocalypse Break Glass

About: Maker and Photographer currently located in Austin TX. I tend to make things that involve adding a computer or microcontroller to traditional things: woodworking, 3d printing, art, fabric, etc. and I like to d…

We've all seen the fire extinguisher cases in buildings and the exit signs that light up with emergency lighting, if the apocalypse does hit, we're going to need booze, it'll probably be like a currency. With that in mind I made my "In Case of Apocalypse Break Glass" emergency booze reserve. It's a small plexiglass case that contains three minature (50ml) bottles, a 9V and some LEDs, that with the help of a photoresistor, will light up when it gets dark and turn off when the light returns, it also has a small hammer attached by braided paracord, for added apocalypse usefulness.

Step 1: Materials

  • Plywood or MDF for the sides, back, and front edges.
  • Plexiglass or Glass front (plexiglass is a little easier to work with and cheaper).
  • Paracord (I used Green & Black that I had around)
  • 4 Red Leds
  • Photoresistor
  • Transistor - 2N3904
  • 9V Battery and holder
  • Resistors: 330Ω and 220kΩ
  • Wire (preferable white).
  • Red Paint
  • White Primer
  • Finishing Nails

Step 2: Building the Box

Since this project would be primed and painted, it was a good chance to practice my Box Joint. The goal was to make 1/2" fingers and using a Dremel (with router bit) and a chisel and file to clean/square it up. I did a pretty poor job, even using the dremel in a fixed position (like a router table) it did jump/pull the wood a bunch and some of my joint "fingers" ended up pretty rounded or had random grooves in them. By not going too deep and using files to clean/square it up I was able to get an OK result. And as you can see in the photos I used wood joint filer to hide my terribleness.

Step 3: Testing the Electronics

Electronics are simple: Use a photoresistor so that in low light the LED's turn on, and in bright light turn off the LEDs. I followed this Instructable to get things going:

Instead of a single LED, I placed 4 in series to get the effect I wanted.

I used white wire inside the box (so it blends in), just use a Multimeter to find which end is which (least resistance), or mark it before twisting the wire. Outside, I used regular red and black to make identification easy, and it's on the back/underneath so it's mostly out of sight.

Step 4: The Front: Glass Lettering

Make the Glass/Plexiglass a little smaller then the size of the box, then using a dremel you can grove out the wood so that the plexiglass sits flush with the board which will make it easier to glue the finishing boards on top to hold it in place.

For the lettering, I used a piece of white paper to center and then marked at appropriate intervals to get my spacing and alignment down.

The lettering was tricky, "Apocalypse" didn't really fit with out trimming down some letters, but it worked and it did fit with the rest.

Step 5: Making the Cord

I followed this Instructable to make a 4 cord braid to attach the hammer. I had some boring colors of just green and black and used about 2 feet in length:

Step 6: Priming & Painting

I sprayed on sandable primer, and did a few sanding touch ups in between coats to remove any unevenness.

Then I applied the Red to the sides, front and back edges, with special care to not get any inside. For the back plane I did just the edges while placing the back on a raised area (just a Bench Cookie).

After a couple of coats and letting it dry in between coats I sealed it all in and protected it with a clear acrylic spray.

Step 7: Wiring It Up

I wanted an LED on each side and hidden mostly behind the front edges. Using a glue gun I glued each LED to the center of each side, then glued the cords to the corners and traced it all back to the bottom to attach the transistor and resistors. The photoresistor went inside the case on the side in the back.

Put the bottles in, might want to use a bit of glue gun on the bottom to keep them from sliding around as you seal it up and mount it.

Use the small finishing nails to put the back piece on.

Step 8: Final Product and Thoughts

And here it is mounted on the wall in my garage/workshop., it's sitting on two long nails, though I could put a hanger on the back or put some screws through the back plate.

It came out pretty well, the photoresistor worked well so that even when it's not 100% dark then LEDs come on.

In retrospect I should have sized the case to the letters I had, rather than trying to get the lettering to all fit. It was a struggle to align and fit it and I simply could have just made the case an inch or two bigger at the start.

I also didn't give too much thought into where the wiring goes, so right now it's just taped on to the back and bottom. It's out of view, but when you do turn it around or look at the bottom, it looks pretty messy.

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    7 years ago on Step 8

    Is that booze in the bottles? Great idea!