DIY Miniature Batsignal




Introduction: DIY Miniature Batsignal

Hello guys and welcome to my DIY miniature bat-signal instructable, for when to call the batman when you need help! Or you can just use it for decoration :p

And sorry for my English if you don't understand some parts, English is not my primary language.

This build will work by putting a plug into a socket, so you don't have to worry about switching batteries all the time. If I would use a battery as a source of power, that battery would be quickly drained and then I would have to buy new batteries again and again. This way it saves me a lot of money.

I decided that I would use a LED, because I wanted the lightsource to be a strong one and it had to be energysaving.

I made the frame (base, fitting and appendages) out of wood because I wanted something strong that would hold together the batsignal, without it breaking apart. Another reason I chose wood is because it is a very cheap material to use/buy. Using metals (iron, copper, aluminium) would make a stronger frame, but it would would make the build a lot more expensive. And making a build that doesn't cost a lot of money is must have (like described in the MoSCoW list in the next step).

The barrel itself is made out of a PVC tube. I used bolts, so it could act like a hinge. This way you can change the direction of the lightbeam. I first wanted to 3D print the barrel but that would take me about 7
hours and it would cost me much more money. Making the barrel out of a PVC tube saves me money and a lot of time.

I decided I would line the inside of the barrel with aluminium foil. This way the light rays would reflect from the foil, resulting in having a better (brighter and sharper) image of my batsymbol projected on my wall.

For the lens I decided to use plexiglass (acryl) because I wanted the lens to be light and durable (and of course it had to be transparant). I didn't want to use glass because that can break easily and then I would have to replace it everytime it breaks. Besides acryll is cheaper than real glass.

For this instuctable you will need specific machines: a 3D Printer and a laser cutter, so sorry for the people who don't have those. I used Adobe Illustrator (you can also use Inkscape) to create my components for the laser cutter and Tinkercad for my 3D printed components. I also used a soledering iron to connect the electric wiring to the LED.

Step 1: MoSCoW List

M: The whole build has to be fairly cheap, strong light scource, the barrel has to be moveble.

S: Needs to project a sharp/bright image. Of not, then the build is still usable.

C: Does not apply in this case, the build is fairly complete.

W: Rotateble base, so it can rotate 360 degrees.

Step 2: Gathering Your Materials

For this build you'll need:
- 3D Printer
- Laser Cutter (I only used a laser cutter because i was able to use one, it saved a little bit of time. If you can't use a laser cutter, just use a saw to cut a wooden board).
- Soldering Iron
- Wooden boards (Triplex)
- Black Spray Paint
- Acrylic Glass (Plexiglass)
- Bolts and Nuts (Any bolt will do, just make sure it's not a long bolt as it may create problems inside the barrel with how much space it has. I used bolts with a diameter around 7.5 - 8 mm)
- Wood Glue
- Glue (Super glue if possible)
- LED Lamp (Preferably a lamp with a small light angle, just make sure it fits into the barrel. The LED I used is: LED E GU10 2W 2700K 36D BL 220V-240V. It's a lamp specifically made for bikes, but i chose to use this one because of its small light angle it has: 36 degrees).
- Electric Wiring
- Electric Duct Tape
- Aluminum Foil
- PVC Tube
- A File (for polishing)

Step 3: 3D Printing Your Components

In this step you'll will be going to 3D print your components. Just follow the instuctions of your 3D printer and you'll be set. I'll put the links to the components down below.

The first component (the ring) is really for esthetic purposes and the second component is the actual batsymbol.

First component:
Second component:

Step 4: Laser Cutting Your Components

Just like the previous step, you'll have to follow the instructions on your laser cutter to cut the components. I'll put the download files down below. You'll be cutting the triplex into 3 different components: the base, the two appendages and the fitting for the LED.

The wooden base I had laser cut had a thickness of 3 mm, while the appendages and the fitting had a thickness of 6 mm.

The thickness of the wood you're using doesn't really matter for the base ,but the appendages on which the actual spotlight will be bolted on to does. Keep in mind what the length is of the bolts your using, you don't want your bolts creating any problems with how much room you have inside the barrel for the LED. This is why I chose to use Triplex with a thickness of 6 mm for the appendages. The fitting is also 6 mm because I wanted it to be strong, so it wouldn't easily break if you apply some force on it. The latter also applies for the appendages

When the appendages are done being laser cut, check if your bolts fit in the hole. If not just make the hole bigger with a file until it does.

The last download file is for an optional component. I just wanted to add a small detail onto by build. You don't have to do this if don't want to. I think just adds a little bit of color and I think the engravement is pretty neat.

Step 5: Building the Barrel

For the barrel I used a PVC tube with a outer diameter of 7,5 cm and an inner diameter of 7,0 cm. So this build will have dimensions surrounding around this. If you use a tube with different diameters, you'll have to change the dimensions of your other parts.

- Cut the PVC tube with a saw into a 15 cm long tube.
- File the ends of the tube if necessary.
- Drill 2 holes in the PVC tube (one on each side). The size of the hole depends on the size of bolts you're using. You'll have to drill holes depending on the size of bolts YOU are using. If the hole is too small for your bolt, use a file to make the hole a little bigger.
- Scrub the outside of the tube with sandpaper, so that the outside will feel smooth.

Step 6: Building the Lightsource

In this step you will be connecting the LED with your plug, through the use of electric wires and electric duct tape.

- Use a plier to cut away some of the conductive "plastic" around the actual copper wires of the electric wire.
- Connect one end of the wire by wrapping the wire around the ''outlets" of the LED. Solder the wires with a soldering iron, so you're sure the wires are secure and cover it with lots of electric duct tape. Do this so there won't be any electricity running through you when you put it in a socket (remember it's 220-240 Volts of electricity that's running throught the wire).
- Connect the other end of the wire to your plug. Do this by taking apart your plug, connecting your wire with the conductive parts of the plug and then reassemble your plug.

Once you have done all that, test if the LED is working by plugging it in.

Step 7: Lining the Barrel

After you have spraypainted all your components, you'll have to line the inside of the barrel with aluminium foil. You do this by putting superglue on the ''dimmer'' side of the aluminium foil, so that the shinier side of the foil can reflect the light of your LED. You'll need about 20 cm in width and 15 cm in length of aluminium foil.

After you put the glue on the foil, just line the inside of the barrel with the foil. Make sure you create holes in the foil for the holes where the bolts will sit. Do this by letting the glue dry and ''punching'' your bolts through the holes of the barrel.

You'll also need to cut a circle (with a diameter of 7,5 cm) to put on the fitting. Put a little bit of glue (superglue or woodglue, whatever works best) on one side of the fitting, put the circle on the fitting and let it dry. Once it is dry, cut a circle (with a diameter of 2,5 cm) in the middle of the foil, so that it reveals the hole for your LED.

Step 8: Spraypainting the Components

The components you will be spraypainting will be everything (3D printed and laser cutted components and the barrel) except the LED, lens and nameplate (if you laser cutted that). I spraypainted my components just plain black. I didn't use any ''fancy'' techniques with painting the components, like spraying multiple coats of colors because I wanted it to be a fairly simple build.

Step 9: Assembling Your Components

Once you've lined the inside of the barrel and fitting with aluminium foil, it's time to glue your appendages to your wooden base with wood glue and let it dry. Glue the appendages about 2,65 cm from each side of the base (like in the front view of the design drawing in the intro) leaving about 7,5 cm of space between the appendages. Also glue the appendages 5 cm from the end of the base (like in the side view of the design drawing).

While it's drying, glue your 3D printed Ring to the barrel with superglue. When that's done glue your batman symbol to the lens, try to center the symbol as much as possible on your lens.

Bolt the barrel to the appendages (once they're done drying) with the bolts and nuts. Do this by putting your bolts through the hole of the appendage and then the hole of the barrel. Secure it by putting the nuts on the bolts inside of the barrel.

After you've done that, glue the lens and fitting to the barrel. Make sure you've put your LED in the fitting. Do this by dissassembling your plug and put your electrical wire through the hole of the fitting. After you have done that assemble your plug back again. Once you've glued the fitting to the barrel there's no turning back.

If had laser cut the optional component (the nameplate), then glue it on the other end of the base from where you glued the appendages (on the other side of those 5 cm; look at the photo in the intro if you didn't understand what I just said).

Once the glue on all the components are done drying, assemble your batsignal!!!

Step 10: The Batsignal

As you can see on the pictures above, this is how the batsignal turnt out. Don't mind the white spots on the build, I had some problems with painting and glueing. I have put one photo up of the batsignal with the nameplate and one without the nameplate glued on it.

The batsignal projects a fairly okay image when it is close to the wall. But when the distance between the batsignal and wall gets bigger, the image gets blurier. Adding the foil really helped getting the image to be brighter and sharper than when there wasn't any foil though. The batsignal works on a small scale, but not on a big scale.

The problem isn't the LED, because the LED gives out a strong light, but I think it is the size of the barrel. The length and width play an important part in the sharpness of the projection. As i wanted a miniature version of the batsignal, I didn't want to make the batsignal any bigger.

Please comment down below on what you think the problem is and how I can get a better projection of my image.

Thanks for reading my instructable and have fun building my version of a DIY miniature Batsignal.

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    4 Discussions

    zach krueger 7
    zach krueger 7

    4 years ago

    Your blurry projection problem is that your light source is making a soft light. Your lamp has 3 (led?) lights in one lamp, which automatically gives off a blurred light because of multiple shadows. Then your lamp has a plastic sheet over the led's. This is also to create a blurred effect which is no good for your needs.

    A simple solution is to go and find more of a harsh light, that is also a spot light. An example of this is a smartphone flash (if there is only 1 led inside the flash).

    So, maybe you can make a smaller version that allows you to slide in a smartphone, with the flashlight on and that should work.

    One more thing, you may want to ditch the other plastic sheet that holds the bat symbol. This plastic may also blur the light even more. Instead you can use a sort of bracket that is just a few wood, or metal poles holding the symbol in place.

    I hope this helped!


    4 years ago

    this is the kind im referring to


    4 years ago

    Im pretty sure its a focus issue, why not use one of those cheap zoomable led flashlight lenses? it will have to be smaller , unless you can find one that large, but they work well enough to focus the light to be able to see the actual cree bulb shape out to about 50+ yrds, just a suggestion