Introduction: Olive Egg With LED Pimento

About: I'm cheap and like to use what I have on hand and I really enjoy taking things apart to salvage parts. Rather than be a precise engineering type of person, I'm more of an enthusiastic tinkerer. Making things i…
This egg was inspired by a figurine I made which I call Olive Man. The idea for this egg occurred to me during the Faberge contest that Insturctables put on earlier this year, but due to time constraints I wasn't able to get it made until now.

The egg is a simple green with a red LED as its pimento. The egg stands on three sword toothpick legs. The base contains the switch and two C cell batteries for the LED.

Originally I had intended for the egg to run on two AAA batteries that would be contained internally. The plan was to rotate the egg to switch on the LED. However, I discovered a short way into the project that the interior volume of the egg couldn't accommodate the needed innards, so I switched to plan B.

Step 1: Tools

To construct this egg I used the following:

  • Drill with bits
  • Drill bit sizer
  • Awl
  • Marker (not pictured)
  • Soldering Iron
  • Pliers with wire cutters
  • Voltmeter
  • Steel wool (not pictured)

Step 2: Materials

The egg was constructed with following materials:

  • 1 plastic egg
  • 3 Plastic sword toothpicks
  • 1 3 volt red LED
  • 1 Battery powered X-mas light set
  • Primer
  • Olive green spray paint
  • Silver spray paint
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Epoxy

Step 3: Egg Penetrations

For this project we're going to make five holes in the egg. The first will be in the top of the narrow end of the egg and will be for the LED pimento. The other four holes will be in the bottom half of the egg. Three small holes will be for the legs. A larger hole will allow the wires from the battery pack/base to enter the egg.

I started with the hole for the LED pimento. First I needed to know how big a hole I needed to drill. I wanted a hole that would allow the LED to be seen, but not so large that it was protruding from the egg like a tumor. I pushed the LED into various holes in my drill bit sizer until I found the look I was seeking. Next I fitted the appropriate size bit into my drill and made a hole in the apex of the egg. I used a pair of pliers to break off some plastic shards and did a quick test fit.

With the hole for the pimento drilled it was time to move on to the bottom half of the egg. I sized the blades of the sword toothpicks and fitted an appropriately sized bit into my drill. I then marked the locations where I wanted to place the legs on the egg. In order to keep my drill bit from marring the egg surface I made a pilot hole with an awl. With that done I drilled the holes for the legs.

As I mentioned in the introduction I changed plans mid-stream. This necessitated making the fourth hole in the bottom of the egg. My plan had been to get the diameter of the wires so I could make an appropriate sized hole with my drill. However, in the the time between making the holes for the legs and making the hole for the wires the temperature dropped significantly which meant it was colder in my unheated work room. So when I tired to make a nice pilot hole with my awl...SNAP!! A big ragged hole appeared. I forgot that the cold would make the plastic brittle. The upside however, was that the wires passed through just fine and the ugly hole wouldn't be visible on the finished product.

Step 4: Egg and Leg Preparations

With the egg penetrations made it is now time to prepare the egg. I clipped the blades off the sword toothpicks about a quarter of an inch above the the hilt with the wire cutter in my pliers. I then test fit the blades in the leg holes.

Once that was done I pulled the legs back out and scrubbed the egg and legs with steel wool to prepare them for painting. With the scrubbing done I cleaned the parts with my shop-vac so debris wouldn't mess up the paint job.

Step 5: Prime and Paint

With the egg and leg surfaces prepared it is now time to add some color. The first step is to prime the pieces to ensure the paint will adhere to the plastic.

Following this the egg halves were painted olive green and the legs were painted silver.

As it is winter and the temperatures have dropped off it took a lot longer for the paint to dry. This means I was trying to paint in the cold by flashlight. This resulted in uneven paint layers and missed spots that had to be corrected the next day. If you look carefully you can see some of the unevenness in the paint. So my advice to you is to take temperature into account before you begin painting and don't try and paint at night unless you have a really good light source. This experience has made me decide to wait until spring for all future spray painting adventures.

Step 6: Wiring

WARNING: My electronics experience is limited and therefore my soldering technique is terrible. For those of you who are experienced with electronics/soldering you may want to skip this step in order to avoid emotional distress.

With the painting done it is time to start wiring up the egg. For this step I severed the wires leading to the X-mas lights leaving about four inches of wire. I then stripped the ends of the wires.

I now needed to determine which wire was positive and which was negative as both wires were the same color. To do this I inserted batteries into the battery pack and taped the wires to my work bench. Then I touched my voltmeter's probes to the wires. When the readout displayed a positive number I knew I was touching the correct leads to the correct wires (positive voltmeter probe {red} to positive wire & negative probe {black} to negative wire). Armed with this result I marked the positive wire with a marker so I could tell them apart.

Next I fed the wires through the hole in the bottom of the egg. With this done I wrapped the negative wire around the long leg of the LED and the positive wire around the shorter leg. I then applied flux and soldered the wires to the LED. A flick of the switch confirmed a successful (if ugly) connection.

Step 7: Egg Assembly

With the wiring complete I now just needed to assemble the egg. I first slid the legs into the holes in the lower portion of the egg. This was a little dicey as the paint made the blades a little wider and the holes a little narrower. So be careful or you'll end up with slight paint damage like I did. Or you could be smarter than I was and tape off the blade stumps and prevent them from being painted in the first place.

Once this assembley was completed I used epoxy to secure the egg to the battery pack/base. And as with the spray paint the epoxy's cure time was longer due to the lower temparture. So be sure you have a radio or something to distract you while you hold the egg bottom in place.

After the epoxy cured came the trickiest part of the project: getting the LED into place. There wasn't much slack in the wire so if I wasn't careful I could yank the wires out of the battery pack or knock the bottom of the egg off the base. Paint build up around the hole made it difficult, but I was able to push the LED place. The upside to this difficulty is that the LED will probably never work its way loose so an adheavsive wasn't needed.

With this done I snapped the two halves of the egg together. And my third egg was complete.
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