This is a step by step on how I made the LED Flower Blossoms. I made 30 of these to create a chandelier.
This was a workshop held at The Edge in Brisbane which is part of the State Library of Queensland.
You can power your lights from a battery but mine has 30 lights on three circuits of ten lights being controlled by a specially made arduino board created for the workshop. Please note: This instructable will not be delving into the specifics of the chandelier or the Arduino sketch.
I have all the images on my flickr: Kassandraphotography
I also have other images on my blog: kassandradesigns
You Tube video of it working: LED Flower Blossom
YOU WILL NEED:
LEDS - I have used 10mm clear in pink, blue, green, yellow and white
"forming" wire - so your flower is never droopy
wire to run power through - at whatever length you feel best
green heat shrink 5mm - this heat shrink will be the "stalk"
heat shrink (colour not important) smallest you have - or other alternative to ensure you don't short your LED
Soldering Iron (and other accessories you see fit - I used a third hand)
Hot air gun
Step 1: Set Yourself Up
I made 30 lights so it was important to set myself up and work in batches.
1. I wanted a simple system to know which colour LED I had - simple but effective system.
2. Preshrink some heat shrink it will make more sense later.
3. Cut small bits of heat shrink to insulate your soldering.
4. Get all your fake flowers off your bunch.
5. Get your leaves off the bunch and be left with barely anything.
Bonus tip: label your third hand so you do not forget your little bit of heat shrink before you solder.
Step 2: Prepare Your LED/flower
1: Cut a little bit off the end of the flower - it is a waste of space really and it makes soldering much harder.
2: Push your LED through the hole so the LED is pretending to be pollen and gasp at how beautiful it is. But while you have it there, flip it over and use a marker pen to mark where the green bit of the flower ends. (You might only have to do this step once or twice and you will get the feel for it)
3: Cut some of that tiny heat shrink you pre shrinked. We preshrunk it because as you can see it fits really easily over the LED pin and heat shrinking on the pin does not make sense when you can keep your fingers out of the way and shrink 10 LEDs worth at once.
4: Once both pins are heat shrinked you have stopped any chance of your LED shorting, yay.
5: Push the LED back through the flower hole again.
Bonus tip: bend your negatives so when it comes to soldering you know which pin is which!
Step 3: Soldering
Bonus tip: use something to keep the flower petals out of the way of the soldering iron - they will burn.
Bonus bonus tip: read the sign you already put on your third hand!
For the experienced solderer: solder your positives and negatives and move on.
For the inexperienced solderers: I took all these extra photographs because this project was me learning to solder.
1: Set up your flower and wire in your third hand. As the bonus bonus tip says - put the little bit of heat shrink you pre-prepared for insulating on your wire. If you forget you can feed it on from the other end but I think it makes sense to get into the habit of making sure you have the heat shrink ready to cover the soldering in case you find yourself in a scenario where you can't thread from the other end.
2: Twist your power wire around the pin.
4: How it should look after being soldered.
5: Pull the heat shrink over the solder.
6: Heat shrink it.
7: Repeat for the other pin - or other 29 in my case.
Step 4: The Stalk
Bonus tip: The magic thing about the stalk is that it can be bent into whatever shape you want! This is done with what I have been calling forming wire. The wire I am talking about is picture 1.
2: Cut a piece of forming wire as long as you want your stalk to be - it does not need to be exact but it is better if it is shorter not longer than your heat shrink.
3: Meticulously thread your wire and forming wire into the heat shrink - push or pull whatever works for you. You want the wire to be inside the green part of the fake flower if possible other as close as you can get.
4: Extra meticulously thread it to the flower - now it gets a bit tight here because of the two sets of previous heat shrinks but the 5mm heat shrink did go over: 2 x LED pins, 2 x speaker wire, 1 x forming wire 2 x tiny heat shrink and 2 x over the solder heat shrink.
5: Sigh because that was not easy but it is ready to heat shrink.
6: Heat shrink - careful you don't burn the flower and your hands.
7: It should look a little strange because of the forming wire.
You can stop here if you wish - connect it up to power it is magical.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
1: You might have had these strange little plastic bits that made the flower look a little more real. Use them to make our LED flower look its best.
2: It will not fit over all that heat shrink so just convince it that the hole is bigger with scissors.
3: Thread it over the stalk - if you thought threading the heat shrink was hard you will not like this step!
4: Pull all the leaf bits including its little plastic to make it look more real.
5: Thread the leaves onto the stalk.
6: Thread the little plastic bits. I knew I was dangling my flowers from the roof so these bits of plastic really do make a difference to the overall aesthetic.
7: A finished flower.
8: LED blossom.
9: Bunch of flowers.
Step 6: Finished LED Blossom
Now you have made one or a bunch of LED blossoms feel free to make more and find cool uses for them. It would be cool if you show me what you do with them and if you used my instructable a link back would be nice.
Bonus step: If you make 30 lights with various colours and various lengths and you will be connecting them to a microprocessor so you might want to know which one is which with a glance: label the stalks where they will be discrete. Like I said - I dangled mine so they are actually wrapped around the chandelier "base" with the forming wire/stalk and then the power wire runs free to the arduino - so that is where I labelled mine. (green short) By knowing which colour was what I made sure that one side of my chandelier was not all green and the other all yellow.
Bonus bonus step: I learnt by doing this that I could not run the warm colours with the cool colours without making the whole lot dim. To fix this I soldered in a resistor 15ohm I think.