Hey, listen! In this instructable I am going to take you through the process we went through when we created our very own Navi from the Zelda series, and hopefully give you some inspiration and tips on what and what not to do. This one is both fun and easy, and not to mention great looking! As a gift it would rock any old gamer soul, and it works great for both decoration and as a night light.
Step 1: Preparation and Materials
Plastic globe: I found mine at my local hardware store here in Norway for really cheap. The closest thing I could find on the Internet was this on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/10-White-Acrylic-Globe-PLAS...
A little too expensive in my opinion, mine was only $4, so check your local store for plastic ceiling lamp globes before buying this one.
LEDs: 500 leds on AliExpress
Power Switch: Power Switch on AliExpress
Other common items used: Steel wire, batteries, some electrical wire, clear fishing line and a pair of cheap white tights.
Step 2: Prepare the Globe
To make it look like a neat, spherical fairy helper, we need to cut of the extruded threading on the lamp globe. In the end I used a hacksaw to cut it - I tried with my Dremel first which was much more clumsy. If there's unevenness afterwards, go over with some low grit sandpaper to make it a little nicer.
Step 3: Shape the Wire
You might want to go with some thick steel wire. Too thin, and it'll lose it shape. When I found some wire that was bendable, but also rigid enough to not become flaccid, I used some pliers to bend them in wingy-shapes. One small and one big for each side. I drilled holes in my plastic globe after seeing where the steel wire would penetrate, and then i stuck them inside. To make them stick I just used some hot glue, but I'm sure other adhesives would work as well. Looks pretty neat already!
Step 4: Giving the Wings the Wingy Feeling
To give the wings some more structure I soldered in some longer and some shorter bits and pieces. This can also be done using hot glue instead of solder. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, but my experience is that the soldering iron makes a harder joint, and it is less messy. If you want a more thorough reference for how this was done, take a look the video: https://youtu.be/nemtrJ93nnA?t=60
Step 5: Enabling Power
First I cut out a piece of veneer to fit the shape of the hole which the switch could attach to. From the pictures you can see that I used another switch than the one I linked in the item list, and that's because I found mine on a broken electronic toy (which I encourage, upcycling is awesome, right?) The principle for the switch is the same, except the one I linked only has 2 pins instead of 4. On the one I linked: the first wire runs from the battery to the led lights, the second wire from the battery to the switch terminal, then from the other terminal to the led lights. That way the switch can break the circuit, or close the circuit based on the position of the switch.
I soldered on the batteries on the lid, which was a bad idea. I had to change it later so that the batteries would be easier replaceable. The most important thing to take away from this step is that I used two 1.5 volt batteries in series to create 3 volts, which is what the white and blue led lights take!
Step 6: Inserting the LEDs
This step is really simple, but a little time consuming. For a more expensive, but slightly faster way: buy either RGB led-strips or ice-blue led strips. For the single diodes that I used, I soldered all of them together in parallel on a perfboard, making sure that every other was blue and then white. Finally I glued them together in a tetrahedral shape, and attached the power wires from the switch.
Step 7: Finalizing
First I strapped on the white tights around the wings, then glued it tightly to the globe, making sure there were little or no wrinkles on the tights.
Then I glued on the piece of veneer which the lights and the batteries were stuck to, on top of the hole. In hindsight I would have put the batteries in a pocket, or even on top of the veneer (wouldn't be visible if it's hanging), to make them easier to change. I fastened some clear fishing line to it, so that it could hang it from my ceiling.
The whole project, including buying items, took me about 4 hours - the most time consuming being the LED soldering, and the wing wire-shaping. Turns out Navi is really cheap, costing only about 12$, also giving me leftovers to make more (I have made 2, one that stands and one that floats).
Step 8: Final Thoughts
All inn all I love this build, and it is to this day one of the more simple and great things I have made. It is really suitable for gifts and for decoration. However there are some things I would have done differently, and some things could be improved:
1. Make it easy to change batteries! As said in the steps above, it got a little too complicated to change batteries on this one. Don't do like me, instead do it easy for you future self ;)
2. Wing-lights: stick some single LEDs in the globe underneath the wings. The wings will be glowing!
3. Multiple colors? With an Arduino or another controller, this could be even more magic and possibly color changing.
Now let's hear it: what do you think?