Intro: LED Light Wands
I have always been attracted to creative lighting, especially LEDs. Recently, my I saw a a BMW that came with the Adaptive Xenon lights and the beautiftul LED corona rings. So, naturally, I set out to "borrow" the design for lighting anythings.
Blind Replacement Wand - http://www.lowes.com/pd_3662-978-NW015239_0__?productId=3067205&Ntt=blind+wand&pl=1¤tURL=&facetInfo=
Resistors - you can figure out the appropriate resistor here: http://ledz.com/?p=zz.led.resistor.calculator
Metal Duct Tape
Dremel Cutoff Wheel
Dremel high speed cutter
Basically, I made an LED wand,as seen in the photo below.
Step 1: Find Your Design and Make Your Pattern!
The first step is to find what you want to use as a pattern, should you want to decorate something with a wand of light. For example, you may want to make something like a neon Open sign, a curved light, or even just a straight bar of light to put on a shelf, or under a cabinet.
Once you come up with your design, make a pattern. You will need this to bed the wand around in the coming steps. I started by copying my design onto onion paper, and then onto cardboard. I then traced the card board onto 3/4 inch thick wood, which was probably overkill, but what I had on hand. Then, I cut the wood piece out using a scroll saw, and sanded it perfect. This will be the piece that you mold the wand around.
Step 2: Heat Your Wand!
That's right folks! Rev up those ovens! 350 degrees for at most a minute. Remove the hot, now-bendable wand with cotton socks (polyester would melt into your hand and be unfortunate). Then, quickly, mold it around your wooden pattern and wait for it to cool!
Step 3: Make Refraction Lines!
We want the light passing through the wand to be reflected forward, so using your Dremel and a small cutting wheel, make small cuts about every 1 - 1.5 milimeters, 90 degrees to the length of the wand, on the BACK of the wand. Estimatet this, this does not need to be super precise. Remember to follow all curves! I found this to be the most time consuming part. Do not set the Dremel too fast, or you will melt the plastic.
Step 4: Make Your Reflector!
Take metal duct tape trace your new bent wand. Cut out the tape and wrap around the back of the wand, taking sure to add in pressure relief snips every place that there is a curve. This will push any light that would get lost from the back forward, making the light brighter.
Step 5: Add Your LEDs!
Using your Dremel and a conical high speed cutter, make two holes in the ends of the wand. The LEDs will just slide in at this point, but I added hot glue to make sure they stay in position.
Step 6: Add Your Resistors and Wire!
I added the resistors inline on the positive side of the LED. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of the wiring before I covered it in shrink wrap. However, I just ran leads to the LEDs, and soldered in every joint. Part of the reason to use so much shrink wrap is to make it act, in part, as a stress reliever.
Step 7: Now, Hook Power Up!
Just add your power and BAM!! YOu now have LED powered light bars!