Introduction: Radioactive Trash Bin

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

The Radioactive Trash Bin is a trash can that looks a barrel of glowing radioactive waste. To do this we will begin by adding a multi-color analog LED strip, and then follow up with a glowing EL panel radiation decal. Even though this may seem complicated, it is actually a fairly simple project. It's a good way to get your feet wet with EL panels and LED strips.

Nevertheless, if you want to learn more about these technologies, check out the LEDs and Lighting Class.

For this project you will need:
(x1) Adhesive-backed RGB multi-color LED strip
(x1) RF wireless color remote
(x1) RF wireless monochromatic remote
(x1) 20cm x 15cm EL panel
(x1) EL wire Inverter
(x1) 12V / 2A power supply
(x1) Power adapter splitter
(x1) Power jack
(x1) Power plug
(x1) 12" x 12" adhesive vinyl sheet
(x1) Black trash bin
(x1) Roll of black tape

Step 1: Wire the Jack

To begin, we are going to make an extension cable that will easily mount through the side of the trash can. To do this we are going to use a jack's mounting nut.

Solder a black wire to the jack's middle terminal, and a red wire to the terminal connected to the round contact in the center of the jack.

Insulate these connections with shrink tube.

Step 2: Wire the Plug

Next, we want to attach a plug to the other end of the jack's wires.

Take the plug apart, and first slide it's cover onto the wires before you solder them.

Solder the red wire to the center terminal, and the black wire to the outer terminal.

When complete, twist the cover back onto the jack.

Step 3: Drill a Hole

Drill a 5/16" hole anywhere near the bottom edge of the trash bin.

Step 4: Mount the Jack

Mount the jack in this hole using its nut.

This will be the power jack for the trash can. Everything else will get plugged in using the plug on the inside.

Step 5: Insert the LED Strips

Peel off the adhesive backing from the LED strip and wrap it two or three times around the inside of the rim.

Trim it along one of the marked cut lines using diagonal cutters when done.

Step 6: Plug in the Remote

Attach in series the inner power plug, the RF color receiver, and the LED strip.

Your LED strip circuit is now complete!

Step 7: Tape It Down

While not the prettiest solution, using black tape is the easiest and most effective way to clean up the wires inside of the trash bin.

Simply tape them down to secure and hide them.

Step 8: Plug It In

Plug in the 12V power cable to the jack on the outside.

Step 9: Place the Lid

Put the lid back on.

Step 10: Test It Out

Finally, when it's all set up, you can turn is on easily using the power button.

Also, press the button to change the color of the LED strip to aqua. This will match the color of the EL panel and make it seem more aesthetically pleasing.

Step 11:

All goes well, your trash can should now have an inner glow.

Now that this is working, let's add a radioactive symbol to the outside of the trash can.

Step 12: Cut the Vinyl Mask

Download and print out this radiation symbol image file onto standard 8.5" x 11" printer paper.

Place it centered upon a sheet of black adhesive vinyl, and tape it in place.

Cut along the outlines with a craft knife to create the large vinyl stencil. When you are done, remove the tape and the template.

Step 13: Drill Another Hole

Place the EL panel on the side of the trash can opposite the power jack.

Mark the trash can next to the EL panel in a spot where the wire can easily be passed through.

Drill the marking with a 3/8" drill bit.

Step 14: Trim the Mask

Trim the vinyl mask such that it is smaller than the height of the trash can.

In my case, I trimmed about an inch off each end.

Step 15: Apply the Mask

Peel the backing off of the vinyl mask and stick the EL panel to it.

Make sure you put the glowing side down onto the mask!

Step 16: Attach the Decal

Pass the EL panel's wire through the hole in the trash can and stick the EL decal to the front of the trash can. Carefully smooth out the vinyl to try to remove air bubbles.

Step 17: Plug in the Wireless Receiver

Plug the single-color RF wireless receiver into one of the male plugs from the power splitters.

Plug the other end of the RF wireless receiver into the power jack for the EL power inverter.

Step 18: Plug in the Rest

Go inside the trash can and unplug the multi-color RF receiver from the power jack inside of the trash can. Once this is done, simply plug the remaining connections from the power splitter between the power connection and the multi-color RF receiver. Basically, the power connection should be split and go to the two RF receivers.

Next, plug the EL panel into the power inverter jack.

Step 19: Stick It Down

Attach the body of the inverter to the body of the trash can using strong double-sided tape.

Step 20: Clean It Up

Clean up the wires using black tape. It may not always be the neatest way to do it, but it gets the job done.

Step 21: Put the Lid on Again

Put the lid on the trash can to finish it up.

Step 22: Power It Up Again

To engage it, simply hit the power button on the multi-color remote.

Step 23: Enjoy

Impress all of your friends and family with your new radioactive trash can.

Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017