If you are wondering what else we can do with a simple light-emitting diode (LED), check my instructable below and see a different way to work with LED.
This time I used glue stick to cast fancy shapes on LED lights. Make sure your LED to be used is not busted 'coz there is no turning back once glue stick hardens after casting.
So lets get started.
Step 1: Gather the Materials and Tools
Step 2: Make the Mold Parts
- Choose any fancy shapes that you like. For my work I have chosen a heart (red LED), a star (yellow LED) and a cross (green LED).
- Using a word editor, print selected shape side-by-side in a clear white bond paper. Any printer will do. Images should be about 2 cm width (maintain aspect ratio).
- Then cut-out strips from the carton folder with width about 9 mm. This will be the sides of the mold that I will be making.
Step 3: Make the Mold
The printed shapes will serve as guide for our mold.
- Apply white glue over the outline of the shapes.
- Then with the carton strips make the 3D shape figure (sides) forming as the thickness of a small shape box. Cut the excess strip (if any).
- Let the white glue dry for a while.
- Use the tweezers in applying the glue and forming the side on the mold.
Step 4: Add Oil (Important)
While the molds are done already, put some sort of oil (I used this one). The oil applied will keep the melted glue from sticking to the paper mold so as taking the shape of its mold only and removing it will be easy.
Step 5: Position LEDs Inside the Mold
- Put the LEDs on its respective mold by making two holes for the LEDs' leads at the side of the molds.
- The side of the mode is already soft because of applied oil so placing a hole will be easy however a dremel drill will make the task faster and convenient.
- When placing the LEDs, bend the leads at about 45 degrees to fit inside the mold.
- Then insert the leads into the holes from inside the mold.
Step 6: Start Molding (Pour in the Melted Glue Stick)
Now start putting some melted glue stick into the mold using the glue gun. See to it that no space is left unfilled.
Let the glue cool and harden again.
Step 7: Removing the Mold
The molded LED can be easily removed from its mold now once the glue hardens (thanks to the oil that was used). Just peel the paper and the side carton strips of the mold off the hardened glue. Try to use tweezers to hasten the job.
We now have our LEDs with fancy shapes on it!
Clean the edges and sides to be free from paper particles and dirt.
Step 8: Try the LED
Light up the LEDs using a basic power supply (5V output). Just add a limiting resistor (~220Ohms) in series with the LEDs. Another way to test the LEDs is to use an Arduino. This link is a class that provides thorough knowledge about Arduino.
The effect of the translucent nature of the glue is evident on the LEDs specially when its dark.
Step 9: Future Plans
For future improvements the following are what I will consider:
- I will try this technique on LED strips or neopixels.
- A more stable mold will be used instead of a paper material.
- Experiment on different material other than glue stick.
Hope you liked it.
If you feel interested in this instructable just leave your comments below.