Introduction: Super Awesome Altoids MINI Flashlight
Don't you just hate it when the power goes out, and you have to lug that huge flashlight around your house. No worries my friends, you can make a flashlight that fits right in your pocket!
Lets get started!
Step 1: Materials
- Altoids "Smalls" Mints tin (I got mine at a drug store) Amazon, $23.39 in bulk for 12 packs
- 5MM LED Best Hong Kong, $0.40 each
- Push-button Switch Goldmine Elec, $1.50 for 3
- Hookup Wire Radioshack, $14.99 for 35ft
- 3V Coin Battery 1topstore, $1.55 for 10
- Soldering iron Radioshack, $8.99
- Solder Radioshack, $4.49 for 1oz.
- Electrical Tape Radioshack, $3.99 for 60ft
- Masking tape Choose, any type works
- Dremel tool with the drill bit or device to poke holes in metal
Step 2: Insulate the Tin
This step is extremely important. If any parts of your project comes in contact with the metal tin, the electrical aspect of the project will short out.
Use some electrical tape to insulate your tin. Just tape some on the bottom, sides, and wherever you feel that the components may be vulnerable to the metal tin.
Step 3: Drill Your Top Hole
This hole is for your switch. On your tin, you can choose either side you want your switch to be on. I drilled my hole in the little circular groove that has a picture of the mint in it. I felt that it conformed to the finger well.
Or you can choose the other side.
Take your Dremel or hole cutting tool, and carefully make a hole. With this preliminary hole, take your switch and keep checking to see if it fits. You do not want to make it too big. So take your time, there is no rush.
If you do not own a Dremel, you can use a pocket knife, or a tool to poke a hole. THe spin it around to grind out the hole. But make sure you test to make sure you do not make the hole too big.
Step 4: The Wiring
Start out by attaching two small pieces of hookup wire to the leads on the switch. One piece of wire, for each lead on the switch. Don't make them too long because it will just cause more trouble when you try to fit make everything fit. (Refer to the second picture to estimate the length of the wire to use)
Next, get your masking tape, a piece of hookup wire, and your 3V coin battery. Take the piece of hookup wire, and tape it to the (-) side of the coin battery. Now, with one of the pieces of hookup wire attached to the switch, take that hookup wire and attach it to the (+) side of the coin battery.
So, right now you should have you switch in place, one of the leads of the switch attached to the positive side of the coin battery, while the other is currently not connected to anything, yet. Your coin battery should have one lead attached to the (+) side, and one to the (-) side. All set? Ok, now lets get the LED.
With your LED, you want the longer lead to attach to the (+) hookup wire coming from the coin battery. The shorter lead of the LED is the (-) lead, so you want this to be soldered or attached to the currently unattached hookup wire of the switch.
You certainly can use a resistor, but because it is not much voltage, it does not do too much harm. plus, it would make it harder to fit in the tin in the long run.
Ok, this may be a little confusing, so I will sum it up.
- Your switch has two leads
- Have two pieces of hookup wire from those leads
- One of the wires goes to the negative side of the coin battery
- The other, goes to the negative lead on the LED
- The longer lead of the LED has a piece of hookup wire attached to it and the (+) side of the coin battery.
Step 5: Cut Hole for LED
Take your Dremel tool again and begin drilling a hole for your LED. Take your time, because if you cut it too big, the LED rattles around. I cut a hole too big on my first tin and I had to do it completely over.
Gradually increase the hole in size, and take breaks in between an stick the LED in the hole to see if it fits or not. Continue doing it until the LED fits firmly in the hole.
I wrapped a piece of electrical tape around my two LED leads, to keep them from coming in contact with the metal tin.
Step 6: Packing It In
As you pack everything in, continue hitting your switch to make sure that the LED still works. Keep in mind that you can take the cover off, and then snap it back on, instead of sliding it.
This makes it easier to pack everything in. You can start by sliding the LED in the hole, and then snapping the top cover on to the bottom section.
You may have a better way, but this is the way that I have used.
Step 7: Where Can I Use This?
Well, it fits right in your pocket, so...anywhere!
If your power goes out and you need to fiddle with your circuit breaker, grab this and light it up!
Going out on Halloween, but don't feel like lugging a huge flashlight around? Take this mini flashlight!
It is so easy to fit in any pocket, drawer, backpack, etc...
Below are just a few pictures of how it lights up what you are shining it at.
Runner Up in the