Miss Betsy's Dragonfly Pin




Introduction: Miss Betsy's Dragonfly Pin

About: You might call me "Jane of all trades, mistress of none"; "all" is definitely an exaggeration but I am interested in lots of "trades" and try to master at least the basic steps so that I understand what the ...

For a concert I needed something fitting and matching my wardrobe. Inspired by articles from Kaivin and MrSanchez, I started working on my illuminated "Dragonfly pin".
All in all it took me about 2 afternoons on a weekend and after a long break I can offer you finally a new instructable!

The work was split in 2 parts. First the assembly of the "electronics" = LED lights and on then creating the "Dragonfly".

Materials needed or rather stuff I used:

2 red LEDs
3 small batteries, I used type 312 with 1.2V and 160 mAh
1 switch

1 2" long piece of 1/2" copper pipe
copper wire ~14/16 ga.
mesh or other material for the wings

Tools you should have and which will make completion of this project a lot easier -_^

Pipe cutter
Soldering iron
Different glues
Ruler / Tape measure

I might not have mentioned all and everything but it depends also how close you stay to my instructable and how far you want to go with your own.

Step 1: Assembling the "Electronics"

I had the idea for this fashion accessory when i found a lighter with a little flashlight built in. The only important part was the battery holder for 3 button cells. I also found a couple of LEDs and a little switch in my "parts and pieces" drawer. Little wires are not hard to find anyway.
I did some calculating and everything should work out fine without the need of a resistor. I just assumed that I grabbed the average LED with ~3.1V and about 20mA, so 3 batteries with 1.2V each would add up to 3.6 which is not too much for the LEDs and according to the data sheet 1 battery should be good for 160mAh or about 4 hours continuous work, right? (I know I will hear from you if I got it wrong.)
The whole thing was done in less than an hour so I moved on to creating the body.

Please use this for your own creation: LED calculator

Step 2: Building the Dragonfly I

I figured that LEDs, batteries in the holder and the switch would easily fit in a 2" long piece of 1/2" copper pipe. Legs, wings and tail had to be accordingly sized of course.
For the legs i cut two 5.5" and one 6.5" long pieces of 14 ga. wire and also one 4.5" piece for the tail.
Refer to the picture how i bent the legs dividing the wire in 4 equal parts!

Step 3: Building the Dragonfly II

I found a picture of a dragonfly and printed it out just the right size. Nails around the edge of the wing would help me bend a 16 ga. wire in the right shape. I did 1 pair of wings at once by flipping the bent wing over. That way it was easier to solder as you will see in the next step.

Step 4: Soldering

With the help of a "3rd hand" and some spare pipe I soldered the wings on first. That way I could flip the body easily over to work on the legs. I used a blow torch with Mapp gas because i can't wait and the whole thing holds as soon as they cool down. If you are willing to wait, you can use some epoxy of course. To solder the legs I put the wings on a wet rag to dissipate the heat which worked pretty well.

Step 5: Attaching Tail and Wings

The tail (16 ga. wire) was easily attached.
It happens that I had this nice wire mesh at home from other projects but of course you can use any other material. (e. g. I really liked the appearance of the wings MrSanchez made) With the help of a soldering iron I attached the mesh to the frame and cut it back with scissors.

Step 6: Installing the "Electronics"

To prevent any shorts all bare wire was covered with heat shrink tubing or electric tape and then inserted in the piece of copper pipe. To change batteries I only need to pull it out again in the future.

Step 7: Tail and Eyes

I ran to JoAnn's (fabrics and crafts) to get me some beads but anything goes here of course :)
Out of pure coincidence it happened that the big beads fitted perfectly over the 5mm LEDs I had used for the eyes. A drop of epoxy secured them safely there.
The same way I attached a pin to the dragonfly so that i could wear it to the concert.

Step 8: The Finished Dragonfly Pin

There you have it; my dragonfly with eerie glowing red eyes. I pinned it on my shoulder for the concert and got quite a lot of accolades from fellow plague rats aka spectators.
If you got till here and like my instructable, please click on the stars to the right of the screen and rate it!
Thank you.
Miss Betsy

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    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I make jewellery and I tinker with electronics...why on earth has it never occured to me to combine the two!?!

    Thanks for the inspiration :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much but I took my inspiration from other members of this great community just as much. o_O


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I like it. Nice work MissBetsy. This would be a great project to do with a child. Plenty of hand operations they could do to help build it.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Absolutely! Maybe I should become a "hands on" instructables teacher ^_o
    I can already imagine the kids singeing each other with the blow torch or using lasers for the eyes. (Just kidding!!!)

    Winged Fist
    Winged Fist

    8 years ago on Introduction

    What a wonderful pin! And great to see you posting a new instructable! Since it's a lucky day, and the star rating feature is working - 5 stars!;-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You flatter me, but thank you very much!
    There should be at least another instructable follow in the next weeks. o_o