Introduction: Introduction to Making a SteamPunk Light Tube U.S.A. Version 2.0
Turn some old junk into something really neat and has many app's.
All parts for this build can be aquired fairly easy, The hardest parts to find would be the lamp bases which are the gas valves from a propane gas grill, there are many types of valves. It is purely up to the artist on what style to use. This device will use a 3.7 volt Lithium ion cell phone battery for power. They really super power LED's without a resistor and LED's can run for days on a single charge depending how good the battery is you will use.
This can also be powered by USB or AAA ,AA, C, and D batteries as well.
Using a USB will require the use of a resistor or the LED will burn out within a few sec's.
A quick note:
The best way to recharge you're cell phone battery is by using the cell phone that the battery came from to recharge it, This means I would suggest using an OLD phone and NOT you're current cell phone, Like me you will have to do a quick cell phone hack and solder a quick connect to said OLD phone.
Step 1: Parts:
As I said prior the parts are fairly easy to aquire and they are as follows.
2 Small brass gears. (Scraped from old clocks washing or dryer machine timers) Cost free
2 LED's color of you're choice.(Pulled from old VCR's Radio's) Cost free
2 Stainless steel rods (taken from junk CD/DVD players.) Cost free
2 Brass gas valves from gas grill. (Scraped from junk grill) Cost free
4 Dollar store Laser pointer's (Just the cap's are needed.) Cost $4.00
2 1/2 to 3/8 copper pipe reducers (bought at any hardware store). Cost $2.00
2 Decorative lamp Sleeve (Hardware store.) Cost $1.00
1 Hard clear plastic tube. (Dollar store cup with washable straw.) Cost $1.00
1 Fire sleeve White. Cost free (found at local wholesale electrical contractor
supplier, Or pulled from electrical appliances that use heat.)
1 Single pole toggle switch. from Radio Shack Cost $3.19
2 lengths of thin insulated copper wire about 25 inch's Cost free (USB cable stripped down to the 4 conductors work great)
Total cost for all parts you may have to buy will be about $12.00. I had all this on hand so cost was nil for me :)
Step 2: Tools:
Wire cutter's, Strippers.
Soldering iron, flux, solder.
Helping hands. (if you have them)
Hot glue gun.
Step 3: Assemble the Light Tube Part 1
First I placed the base and 1/2 to 3/8 pipe reducer in the vise and gently pressed it onto the base x2.
Next is to size up the fire sleeve, marked with a fine point sharpie.
Using the pipe cutter very very gently score the plastic tube, If too much pressure is used it will crack and break, the best way to cut this i found is by scoring the tube then heat up the utility knife blade and cut it. Clean off any burs.
Now insert the fire sleeve into the tube mine was a real tight fit made it hard to get in all the way but i did it.
Now that the base and tube are ready we can move on to the stainless steel guide rods, these rods came out of burned up DVD and CD players the fit the holes in the base perfectly. Slide them in and gorilla glue them into place, then slide the other base on to support the guide rods until the one end has dried completely.
After drying is completed remove the unglued side of base. Screw on the decor lamp sleeve and laser pointer cap for the end cap x2.
Step 4: Wiring 101
First the wires need to be tinned, this makes it very easy to solder wire to LED's fast without burning up the LED from to much heat, So dip the wires in flux and give them a fast run threw some hot solder.
Okay time to solder the wire on the LED's, Make sure you have got the positive and negative correct on both LED's. If possible try to use Red and Black wires in case you have to rip into it again... Just makes it easier & faster if there is a repair to do or perhaps a refit.....
Now that the 2 LED's are wired it is time to run the wires threw the base, fairly simple.
First place one of the last 2 laser pointer caps on the wire so that it will look like a brass bowl inside the base, I used hot glue at this point to fasten the cap into the base, the glue dries faster then I could set in place so I used a small torch lighter to heat up the base and remelt the glue without damaging the LED's and reseat the cap.
Wiring the switch will be the last step of this instructable.
Step 5: Assemble the Light Tube Part 2
Place the small brass gear in the vise and make it very snug( Don't crush or mar) Carefully drill the center of the gear out. The tube I used was just under 11/32 So that's the drill i used perfect fit, The gear should be able to move freely on the tube until glued into place.
You may have to use the Dremel to grind down a few teeth on the gear so that it will not bind on the guide rods. Insert the tube onto the LED run a thin ring of hot glue on the base, Remember it dries real fast on brass so you will have to remelt by heating the base up then press gear down hold hard for good 10 to 15 secs and it shall be solid.
Now repeat for the other end of the lamp and it is complete all but wiring the switch & power source.
Step 6: Wiring the Switch and Power Source.
For now I am just wiring a momentary switch to this light
Again a 3.7 volt lithium ion cell phone battery Identify positive and negative a little bit of flux and solder them to the battery RED + BLACK -
Wire the positive from battery to one side of the switch.
Wire the other positive wire to the two RED wires from the LED's
Wire the ground wires from the LED's directly to the negative on the battery, completing the circuit and this Instructable.
If you have made it this far then think about this, Firesleeve comes in different sizes imagine using 1 watt LED's! SteamPunk light tubes that are 2 or 3 feet long. Just saying...
This lamp has many apps and can be added to many SteamPunkers wish list enjoy.
I hope you enjoy this build as much as I did making it!
Participated in the
Green Tech Contest