LED Fibre Optic Hotwheels Car.




Following on from my first Instructable, I decided to make a battery powered LED car. The head & tail lights are so small that using plastic fire optics was the only way to go, also the small amount of space inside the car for holding batteries.
All this cost only three UK Pounds to make (and about ten hours!), plus some stuff from one of my many junk boxes*

*That's what my wife says are in the boxes, little does she know!

Step 1: Required Tools.

1. Soldering Iron.
2. Hot Glue Gun.
3. Rotary Drill (Dremmel).
4. Scalpel Set.
5. Pliers.
6. Wire Strippers.
7. Needle Files.
8. Drill Bits.
9. Helping Hands (Crocodile Clips on a stand, with magnifying glass).

Not all shown in this Picture.

Step 2: Required Materials.

1. Hotwheels, or any die cast car.
2. Red LED & White LED.
3. Plastic Fibre Optic cable. (mine was reclaimed off a UFO Lamp)
4. CR 2032 3v batteries, 2x. (Motherboard batteries).
5. Wire.
6. PVC Tape.
7. Small switch.
8. Blu or White Tak.

Not all shown in this Picture.

Step 3: Take the Car Apart.

Drill out the rivets under the car, start with a small drill bit the increase the size, I used four sizes.
You can throw await the interior section as the batteries will not fit in. I did try to nibble away this section but by the time the batteries did fit all I had left was the dashboard!

Step 4: Drill Out the Lights.

This step is far easier if you have a plastic grille & tail. using a very small drill bit, 1.5mm, hold the drill in a fixed position and then VERY SLOWLY bring the grille or tail towards the drill, and mind you fingers! Then repeat the process for the tail.

Step 5: Drill Out for the Switch.

Line up the switch and batteries on the base plate to find the best configuration, then drill & file the hole for the switch.

Step 6: Solder the LED's.

Solder the wires to the two LED's, no need for resistors with 3v batteries.

Step 7: Wrap the LED'S With PVC Tape.

Wrap the + first then the - and then wrap them both tightly together.

Step 8: Add the Fibre Optic Cable.

This step is very tricky, try to bend the cable into the holes for the lights, I found that wiggling the cable to create some heat whilst bending worked well, but be careful because this cable can break very easily. Leave some cable protruding out from the lights, this can be trimmed later.
When you have the adequate shape & sizes of cable wrap them into the LED's as tightly as you can, so no light escapes.

Step 9: Test the Lights.

Tape a battery to each of the light assemblies to test them, to make sure they are the right shape & length.

Step 10: Assemble the Lights & Switch in Place.

You can Hot Glue the switch in place, but DO NOT use Hot Glue on the lights, this will melt the Fibre Optic cable. To keep the light assemblies in place use the Blu Tak.

New switch added.

Wiring diagram.

Step 11: Attach the Batteries.

I used PVC tape to attach the wires to the batteries, this is so the can be easily be replaced.

Then use the tak to hold all the wires in place & the Fibre Optic cable. for a more permanent fix you could use something like Milliput.

Place the batteries on top of the wires, then re-assemble, found that some Tak around the rivet stalks held on the body.

Step 12: All Done.

Turn down the lights, switch on and enjoy!

The Fibre Optic cables have been trimmed now as they are protruding in these pics.



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    11 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. Simple execution, and the results look fantastic! I'm kind of dopey when it comes to electronics (even the easiest stuff), but where are you most likely to find the optical fiber? And is there any possibility that a heavy monofilament (clear fishing line) could work just as well? It's just transmitting light, and not actual data...

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I got the cable from a broken UFO lamp, that came from a Pound/$ store. I don't see why fishing wire wouln't work, give it a try!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    wishing wire will not work because optic fiber have an outer coating which makes the light reflect and stay inside the fiber.

    You can read this.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I think that heavy monofilament wire is galss optic wire, not very handy to work with. I am actually writting an instructable where I'll explain what I know about plastic optic fiber, but for now, just remember to put it in boiling water before you bend it, to cut it with an hot cutter blade, and to sand it properly to have maximum luminosity. To attach the optic fiber to the leds, if you only need 2 or 4 leds per led, you can just make small holes in the head of the led, put the fiber in it, and the glue with cyanoacrylate. There is a seller on ebay.com (US) who sell POf by the foot, prices are good. I don't remember what is the minimal carriage fee, so maybe for two foot it would not be interesting. If you really can"t fain any, send me a message, I may resell a few for you (I have 0.75, 1 and 1.5mm outer diameter, 0.3dB/m loss, PMMA fiber - it is plastic ;) )


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Props on the great job. Also props on putting in a realistic background

    Doctor What

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Light up hotwheels! This is cool! My little sister loves hotwheels, so I'll have to make her one.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! I am so doing this ASAP! I'll post some pictures :D Also there are a few spelling errors, but excellent instructable! Cheap and Easy!

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    There are some trade names, which have some weird spelling, also I am in the UK. This is where the English language was invented, so if there are differences with US English, we are right and you are wrong! Thanks for the comment. :-)