Introduction: How to Make a Hands-free Auto Light
The hands-free auto light came about after I conducted some research into dog walkers. I found that when people walkedtheir dog at night they struggled to balance holding the dog lead in one hand and a torch in the other. This became a problem when the walker had to answer the phone or hold an umbrella, for example. Therefore I decided to design and develop a hand-free light to offer an alternative to the traditional torch. After conducting research and analysing my findings, I managed to develop a product where LED's automatically turn on when it goes dark and then they turn off again when there is sufficient light. The product has integrated magnets, so it can be easily attached to clothing. There is also has manual swich which allows the user to swith off the circuit when the product is being stored in a dark cupboard - to prevent draining the battery when not in use.
Below is a step-by-step guide of how to make the hands-free auto light:
- Cotton thread
- Sewing machine
- Laser cutter
- Conductive thread
- Coin cell battery
- 4 small magnets
- 5 white LED's
- Calico material
- A tough, but lightweight material
- Light sensitive switch
- Clear acrylic
- Epoxy resin
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Pin the pattern pieces to the appropriate fabric and cut out the fabric pieces.
Sew the circuit onto the middle layer of the fabric.
Take the calico layer of fabric and using the conductive thread, sew the LED's and the light sensitive coin cell holder onto the fabric.
Make sure that you connect the positive sides of the LED to the positive side of the battery and vice versa.
You can test if your circuit works by turning off the lights in the room and the LED's should then turn on (as the switch is light sensitive). Make sure the manual switch is on before you test this.
Attach the circuit to the outer layer of fabric. To do this you need to pin and sew (using a sewing machine) the calico layer to the back layer of fabric. Use a straight stich and red thread to sew the two pieces together. Ensure that the LED's are facing upwards, so that they will be on the front of the product.
Attach the front piece to the fabric.
Make sure that you sew this inside out, as once it has been sewn together you will turn it the right way round (creating a pouch).
Also ensure that you leave a gap where the battery is, as this will allow the user to change the battery if needed.
Attach the magnets to the fabric. In order to ensure that the magnets stay in the correct position sew them into a separate piece of fabric:
Use another piece of calico and sew directly around the magnet itself. These magnets (within the fabric) can then be sewn onto the calico layer of fabric - which has the circuit integrated onto it.
Iron the crease to create a sharp, folded edge. You can do this by folding the fabric in half and ironing down the crease. Make sure you avoid the electronic components when using the iron.
Cut the holes into the fabric for the LED's, switch and light sensor to fit through. Then stitch around the LED's to secure them into place.
Sew the end of the product together to keep the circuit securely inside the fabric layers and to seal the product together. Make sure that you leave a gap so that the user can access the battery and replace it if required.
Step 9: Make the Logo Using the Laser Cutter
To do this you first need to contour a bitmap image of the Kitronik logo on 2D design. This will leave you with an outline which you can send to the laser cutter to be engraved. Once you have drawn the logo out on 2D design, you then need to send it to the laser cutter to be printed. On 2D design make the lines are red that you want to be cut out and the ones that you want to be engraved must be black.
Make sure that you use a clear acrylic to create the desired effect. Ensure that the safety guard is down and the extractor fan is on before you cut out the logo.
You can then use epoxy resin to stick the logo to the product.
Step 10: Your Hands-free Auto Light Is Now Ready to Use!
Your product is then ready to be used. You can use the magnets to clip the product onto any item of clothing or a bag when walking your dog. The product will enable dog walkers to have visibility when walking in the dark, but still have the benefit of having a spare hand to carry out other activities, such as holding an umbrella.