This is an instructable on how to make a flashlight out of a ChapStick tube. After reading up on multiple LED instructables I thought it would be neat to make an original design that had not been done before. Since button cell batteries can be expensive, I went with an A23 (12V) battery that cost less than $2.00 for two.
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Step 1: What You'll Need:
A23 Battery (12V)
10mm White LED (28,500mcd, 20mA, 3.5V)
Heat Shrink Tubing
"N" Battery Holder
Step 2: Soldering the LED & Resistor
Cut the negative lead of the LED to 1/4" and solder the resistor to it. Shrink some heat shrink tubing over it and put both leads through the top of the ChapStick platform.
Step 3: Completing the Top Section
Cut the spring from the "N" battery holder (leaving the plastic portion it's attached to intact), and cut a 1/4" section from the bottom portion of the ChapStick. Insert the 1/4" section into the bottom of the platform, (this will help to make the base of the spring more stable. Slide the positive lead of the LED through the center of the spring, solder it to the base of the spring and then clip any remaining portion of the lead off.
Step 4: The Switch
Cut a square in the bottom portion large enough to put the tactile switch through. Position the switch to where the button sticks out just slightly past the bottom. After it's in place, J-B Weld the back side (the portion that goes up into the tube). After the J-B Weld dries, you can trim it up with a razor blade.
Step 5: Wiring the Switch
Scrape any remaining J-B Weld from the terminals of the tactile switch and solder a piece of wire to one end. In the picture shown, I had soldered the wire prior to putting J-B Weld over the switch, but either way will work. Cut a piece of plastic from the "N" battery holder (or anything else you happen to have lying around) and a piece of metal (I used a speaker terminal connector) to solder the other end of the tactile switch to. (You can actually use the bottom of the "N" battery holder for this portion. I messed mine up in the first attempt so I came up with this.) Super-glue the piece of plastic in the center of the leads of the tactile switch, (this will keep the base that the battery sits on from touching the other side of the tactile switch.) Solder the metal piece in place. (The plastic will probably melt a bit, but just make sure it doesn't prevent the bottom of the battery from making contact with metal portion.)
Step 6: Assembly
Put the top portion with the LED (finished in step 3) into the top of the ChapStick tube and push it all the way down until the wire is exposed. Cut the wire attached to the tactile switch short enough to where the length from the spring to the bottom portion is slightly less than the length of the battery when soldered. (This will force the battery to be slightly compressed against the spring and the base when inserted into the tube so that it will make good contact.) Solder the wires together and cover with heat shrink tubing. Slowly push the battery into the tube (which will raise the platform to the top) and snap the bottom of the tube in place and you're done.
Step 7: Let There Be Light!
If everything has gone according to plan, you should have light when you press down on the tactile switch.
And there you have it, the world's first ChapStick flashlight
First Prize in the
The Instructables Book Contest