A couple of years ago, while watching the Lord of the Rings, I realized that I wanted to build the wooden staff of Gandalf the Grey, complete with a built-in light bulb at the top. That didn't happen. Instead, I made the staff of Gandalf the White, complete with a magic light that only you can turn on!
1) 3D printer (or a 3D printing service, like Shapeways or 3DHub.)
2) A small, cheap flashlight
3) Hot glue gun
4) Aluminum foil
5) A short length of wire
6) A PVC Pipe (4 or 5 feet long)
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Step 1: Print the Parts
All of the fancy 3D printed parts in the .zip file were designed by ZekeAsakura on Thingiverse, here. They were published under the Creative Commons-Attribution License. Go check out his build. His build looks a lot cleaner than mine, but I couldn't find instructions on how to build it.
I've added one extra part--GandalfPVCAdapter.obj. This part adapts his model to fit a 1" (Inner Diameter) PVC pipe, because his model is designed to fit a slightly smaller metric PVC pipe.
Printing these parts is probably the most time consuming step.
I printed all of my parts at 10% infill with white filament, except the inner bulb. I printed the bulb with clear filament at 0% infill and 1.5mm walls. I would recommend increasing the infill, for all parts except the bulb, to around 20% to 30%. This would hopefully let less light through elsewhere and increase durability.
Step 2: Building the Magic Magnetic Switch
For this step, I had to build a magnetic switch from scratch, because I didn't have time to get an actual reed switch. This switch is built from a dollar flashlight, a small spring (maybe use a spring from a click pen?), some wire, and an aluminum foil ring.
First, make an aluminum foil ring that fits inside of the PVC adapter part that you printed in the last step. Tape the ring, so that it doesn't come uncoiled.
Second, cut up your flashlight. Mainly, you want to cut the light fixture out of its plastic casing, as shown in the pictures. Try not to damage any electronics in this process. It may be a good idea to remove the batteries before attempting this step.
Third, you want to build the circuit shown in the images. The spring is connected to one of the terminals of the battery holder. On the other end, connected to the lamp (which is also connected to the battery) is a wire leading to the aluminum foil coil. The end goal is to have the lamp turn on whenever the spring is in contact with the coil.
Fourth, slide this assembly into the PVC adapter part. Once you've positioned it correctly (which can be difficult), the lamp should come on when you place a magnet outside of the tube next to the spring in the coil. The magnet should pull the spring against the aluminum coil, thus turning the lamp on.
This step can be tricky, and it may involve some soldering. Just remember to be patient and don't give up. This step was difficult for me, too.
Step 3: Glue!
Now you need to glue all of your parts together. If you've done the other steps, this step will be fairly self-explanatory. You can use hot glue, if time is a priority. Otherwise, try some epoxy. It'll probably last longer.
Step 4: Fly, You Fools!
Go enjoy wizarding! To turn the light on, just hold a magnet next to the spring/coil switch.
If you want to improve the staff, then replace the homemade switch with an actual reed switch. I might do this in the future, but I did have a lot of fun designing and building that switch.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, then let me know! Thanks for reading!
Participated in the
Book Character Costume Challenge