Introduction: One Man, One Dremel, and One DREAMel - How to Make Amazing POI LED Toys Using Recycled Plastic Drink Bottles / Containers

Hey There!,

This instructable is intended to show the average household American how to prepare, assemble, and use your own custom Poi LED toys - 75% of which all of the materials required are made from your average day-to-day household items!

Poi LEDS, in short, resemble and are similar to what most people have heard and seen as Fire Poi.  You know, the guys who twirl  balls of fire around their heads in Hawaii for public professional shows.  Normally, they are comprised of kerosene soaked balls made of Kevlar attached to metal linked chains so they do not get all burned up after only a one time use.  I am going to show you how to make robust, re-usable, and remarkably inexpensive LED Poi that are a safer alternative to the all-amazing Fire Poi.  These can be used indoors and as LED Orbitals, too :) .

An LED Orbital is defined as an LED toy/apparatus that one spun taught in a circular motion by ropes between both hands, which in turn creates tension in the ropes (strings), that allow the user to release/tighten the LED Orbital for continuous rapid spinning - and amazing geometrical, mesmerizing displays of LED light!

The product that I am about to introduce you to goes by the name of the "IllumiNITE" and is often referred to as an LED "lightshow", or light show product from which I currently am in the process of obtaining a design patent for.  This instructable is made so you can make or purchase your own "IllumiNITE's" yourself, but just not sell it for your own retail profit!

Additionally, in seeing how most of the items being used in this instructable are very common items, it is the holidays and all, and most of you will be able to construct your own IllumiNITE to liven up your Christmas and New Year's!

For this instructable, I will attempt to show you the easiest, simplest way to make some great LED toys. The next page shows you what parts you will need to make one of your very own, custom IllumiNITE's! (some products you will need to buy in advance, unfortunately)

Step 1: Items You Will Need:

Please reference pictures to identify all of the required elements.  In their description tags, you will find detailed descriptions, alternatives that are compatible with these items, and so on.

The list is as follows:

* 1) Any set of two identical large juice container bottles that have the same PETE stamp in the bottom
* 2) LEDS, at least six.  In this tutorial I use RGB LEDS from which I purchase on eBay (alternatively, you can also purchase the pre-wired LEDS for a slightly higher price)
* 3) A DREMEL rotary tool with a sanding disc cut-off head, and metal oval drill piece head.
* 4) A Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
* 5) A Soldering Gun & Solder
* 6) Safety Goggles & preferably a surgeon's mask or HEPA mask for protection
* 7) Industrial Strength 75 lbs rated Releasable Zip Ties ( regular zip ties work too, but will need to be cut and replaced upon battery changes )
* 8) Nylon String, at least 6 ft.
* 9) Wire
*10)At least four CR 2032 Lithium Button Cell Batteries
*11)Two Two-Liter Soda Coke Lids for the Battery Compartments
*12)(Optional) - Electrical Tape, Zip Tie Flanges, Spring Coils

Step 2: Take Your DREMEL, and Start Cutting!

Any two identical plastic juice bottle container bottom stamps will work.  Just make sure they match, wear long sleeves & eye gear, and start cutting away!

Step 3: Change Out DREMEL Head Piece to the Metal Rotary Attachment

Each and every bottom stamp of any plastic juice container bottom will have geometrical, predefined slots for your LEDS to snugly fit inside of.  Just drill out the holes, just big enough for the LEDS to fit in.  Now, if you have 3mm, 5mm, or 10mm LEDS, use your common sense when making these holes.

Step 4: Wire Up Your LEDS and Hot Glue Them IN!

Use the pictured red thick gauged wire which has plenty of extra bare copper leads to wire to each and every one of your LEDS.  Solder or wind tightly and hot glue.  Insulate bare wire with some tape.  Hot glue each LED to it's corresponding drilled out hole you made in the previous step.

Step 5: Make Battery Terminals From the Two-Liter Coke Lid Cut-outs

Now, depending on how many LEDS you have, as a rule of thumb, you will need AT LEAST two CR 2032 Lithium Button Cell Batteries per three RGB Color Changing LEDS.  So, having said that, let's assume you went all out and you have 16 RGB LEDS ready to go, hot glued, and attached to each hemisphere of your PETE Plastic encasings.  This would be the most extreme case that I can think of for any juice bottle contraption ( 8 and 8 ).  Therefor, we need to make room and the proper connection terminals for the batteries to supply the power to your LEDS.  This means you have to hook up around Ten CR-2032 Lithium Button Cell Batteries.  Well, we can do that.  They actually fit perfectly inside the bottle cap screw-in's to the lids of the Two-Liter Pepsi Bottles ( something almost every household has access to ).

The tricky part is wiring the batteries in parallel together so you can have enough mA's of current supplying to the batteries.  The cool part is that we can use two CR 2032 Lithium Button Cell Batteries in series to supply 6v and ~440mA of direct current TIMES FOUR.  You see, when dealing with RGB LEDS that are constantly changing color, the rules of 3v per led do not apply anymore.  Different LEDS are going to be drawing different amounts of current at their respective color changing states, and thus, can handle the 6v without any damage to the LEDs.  Believe me, it's tried and true, tested and re-tested by myself over, and over, and over again.  Make sure you have the RGB kind of LEDS though, the ones with two prongs, that automatically switch states of color when hooked up to the batteries.

Now, this may seem a little technical, so let's try and dumb it down a little bit.  1) Make sure you are using RGB - two prong - auto color changing LEDS.  2) Do not supply more than 6 volts ( which means do not put more than two cr2032's in series together ).  3) In other words, just put FOUR sets of -(TWO CR2032 Lithium Button Batteries)- in your circuit (being the extreme case of 16 LEDS) such that they are parallel with each other's respective sets of TWO.  Your (+)'s wire together with the (+)'s and your (-)'s wire together with your sets of TWO (-)'s.  That way, all LEDS get 6 volts and enough mA to last a long time, without burning out your LEDS.

To accomplish step 3) in the paragraph above, please note that there is more than enough room in each one of these separate coke lid's containers to accommodate the number of cr2032's you will be needing.  So, if THIS ----> |____() was the symbol for one of your coke lid battery compartments, then THIS ----> --|++|++|()-- is how your batteries would face in.  Get it?  One wire goes through the middle of the coke lid to gather the (+)'s charge from the batteries.  Each opened end of the coke bottle will have your negative sides of the batteries facing you, thus, needing a wired connection to these terminals.

So (+)'s face in both openings of each coke lid, a set of two on one side, a set of two facing the middle on the other side.  The (+)'s will touch in the middle of your coke lid battery compartment setup.

Seems difficult to explain, but as soon as you set it all up, it will make sense and last you a long time until your next battery change is required.

Gather your (+)'s and wire them together with a twist and then your (-)'s together with a twist, and you will have your power sources easily available for each hemisphere of your IllumiNITE.

Step 6: Drill Out Holes for Your Battery Compartments

This part is easy.  Take your DREMEL with it's oval shaped metal drill bit head on, that should already be attached, and carefully drill out the center of each one of the plastic encasing hemispheres.  Do it to the point where you can just barely screw in the coke lid and only have a small portion of the coke lid battery compartment poking out.

If you got the 3Qt. PETE Plastic Stamps for either hemisphere of your IllumiNITE, then the coke lids should fit perfectly inside and touch together on the inside of your IllumiNITE.  Else, take the DREMEL and shave away as needed.

Step 7: Zip Tie Together!

At this point, everything should be setup nice and snug.  So all that is left to do is make the necessary slit cuts for the Zip Tie (s) to go through, connect your Battery Compartment leads to the LEDS, and don't forget to include the Nylon String Loops inside before you zip-it together!

Step 8: SpecialtyLEDS and "Special" Facts

Depending on how fresh the containers are, the less vigorous, most efficient method is used to sterilize the plastic containers.  I am prone to cleaning them immediately after I use my own containers with just a little bit of hot water to swish around and Q-Tips in the lower crevices.  

Take for instance, an old container that has been closed with a lid for some time, when and if you get one of these older containers, needs more vigorous sterilization using a combination of disinfectant Lysol, diluted bleach in water, rubbing alcohol ( Isopropyl Alcohol 91% bought at your average grocery store ), Benzyl Peroxide, or steam cleaning with a hand held travel steamer designed for ironing out shirts on the go.

Proper precautions should be made to make sure one does not inhale the nasty contaminants, so soaking as soon as possible, while wearing a HEPA filtration mask ( or better ), is highly recommended for safe practice. All in all, with a little bit of spit and shine ( metaphorically speaking ), one can produce a finished product as if it were coming right out of the box, bubble wrap and all.

Seeing as how I have spent the better part of a year and a half planning out, testing, and re-designing this product, it is one of several products that are available for purchase on my website located at I have spent a long, long time trying to come up with an economically sound and practical product, not just for one specific group of people, gender, or age group, but something that can be easily made and used by kids and adults alike.

I am directly affiliated with Google Secure Merchant Checkout Stores and through the PayPal Merchant Stores, which are both on my site - (just in case you do not have the time or tools to make this on your own!) Visit .

Recycling statistics on plastic

*Almost every hour, nearly 250,000 plastic bottles are dumped. It is not surprising that plastic bottles constitute close to 50% of recyclable waste in the dumps.
*The average time taken by plastic bottles to decompose in a landfill is close to 700 years.
*Plastic not only adds to landfill space and takes forever to decompose. Used plastic dumped into the sea kills and destroys sea life at an estimated 1,000,000 sea creatures per year!
*Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
*Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
*Five 2-liter plastic PET bottles (#1) can make 1 sq. ft. of polyester carpet and an XLG T-shirt
*Over 25 MILLION tons of plastic is put into the landfill every year!

#1 Plastics: PET, or Polytehylene terephthalate
*The most common use for recycled PET is for textiles. PET can also be spun to make fiber filling for pillows, quilts and jackets.
*Five PET bottles yield enough fiber for one extra large T-shirt, one square foot of carpet, or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket.
*It takes 25 two-liter PET bottles to make a sweater.
*It takes 35 two-liter PET bottles to make enough fiberfill for a sleeping bag.
*Half of all polyester carpet made in the U.S. is made from recycled PET.
*The first PET bottle was recycled in 1977.
*Approximately 25% of all PET bottles were recycled in 1996.
*The average household generates 17 pounds of PET bottles annually.


Recycling one ton of plastic:
Saves 5,774 kWh energy
Saves 16.3 barrels (685 gallons) of oil
Saves 98 million Btu's of energy
Saves 30 cubic yards of landfill space

Plastic Recycling Tips

* Prepare plastic containers for recycling by ensuring first that they are either:
#1 (PETE): soda-pop bottles, cooking-oil bottles and peanut-butter jars
#2 (HDPF): milk, water and juice bottles, bleach and detergent bottles, margarine tubs and some grocery sacks
#3 (PVC): window cleaner bottles, cooking-oil containers and detergent powder containers
#4 (LDPE): food packaging, shrink-wrap, carryout bags and heavy-duty bags
#5 (PP): butter and margarine tubs, yogurt containers, screw-on caps and drinking straws
#6 (PS): often incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam, a Dow Chemical brand trademark, the
category includes cutlery and plates, foam coffee cups, egg cartons, meat trays and yogurt
#7 (Other): squeezable syrup and condiment bottles and some microwave food trays
These identification codes are often on the bottom of the plastic container encircled by three chasing arrows.

Did You Know?

* Enough plastic bottles are thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
* Approximately 88% of the energy is saved by producing plastic from plastic as opposed to manufacturing plastic from the raw materials of oil and gas.
* For every seven trucks needed to deliver paper grocery bags to the store - only one truck is needed to carry the same number of plastic grocery bags.
* The number of plastics recycling businesses has nearly tripled over the past several years, with more than 1,700 businesses handling and reclaiming post-consumer plastics.
* By using plastic in packaging, American product manufacturers save enough energy each year to power a city of 1 million homes for three and a half years.
* Since 1977, the 2-liter plastic soft drink bottle has gone from weighing 68 grams to just 51 grams today, representing a 25% reduction per bottle. That saves more than 206 million pounds of packaging each year. The 1-gallon plastic milk jug has undergone an even greater reduction, weighing 30% less than what it did 20 years ago.
* The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that using plastic foam insulation in homes and buildings will save close to 60 million barrels of oil each year vs. other kinds of insulation.
* Approximately 80% of the U.S. population has access to some kind of plastics recycling
program. The number of companies handling and reclaiming post-consumer plastics is nearly six times greater than in 1986, growing from 310 companies to 1,792 in 1998.
* The lives of more than 1,900 police officers have been saved through the use of protective vests made from plastic fibers.
* Improvements in energy efficiency made through the use of plastics in the last decade save more than 53 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This saves American consumers a total of more than $4 billion each year.
*In 1977, the first PET bottle was recycled.
*Only 18 percent of all the plastic produced in the U.S. every year is recycled. Even though this is the easiest plastic to recycle, 36% of this is from soft drink bottles.
*Two-Liter PET bottles make a great funnel by cutting the bottle in half.
*Two-Liter PET bottles also make fantastic planting pots! (not coke anymore because they changed their design, but pepsi still does along with other numerous soda companies)
Joby Transform It! Challenge

Participated in the
Joby Transform It! Challenge

What Can You Do with a Dremel Tool?

Participated in the
What Can You Do with a Dremel Tool?