Pandoras Box




Introduction: Pandoras Box

About: I'm an amature engineer, love to build things that use lights, lasers, LED's.. you name it. Other from that, i run a Photography business, and i L0V3 taking pics :D


This instructable will show you how to easily throw together some movieprop.
Created to simulate the effect of when opening a chest full of gold, or a box filled with mystery. <-- Hence the title "Pandoras Box"
It was done in about 5-6h.

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Step 1: What Do We Need?

First of all, we need a fancy box.
Create one yourself, or buy one.
This is a jewelrybox from the beginning, but now it contains all kinds of evil.
It has a handy mirror inside to help reflect the light from the inside.

Then we need :

  1. Thermal compund (?) To transfer heat from the
  2. LED Diode. In this case a powerful XML-T6 from Cree.
  3. LM350- Voltage Regulator, but we will be using it for Current Control.
  4. A huge heatsink.
  5. 9V Battery or Minimum 6,5V (The more exact to 6,5, the better)
  6. Resistors at 0.47 Ohm. 5W+ capable preferrably.
  7. Microbreaker. When pressed, the light is OFF, when not pressed (lid up) it's on.
  8. Screw/s
  9. Cables cables and cables!
  10. Coloured plastic! - Thin
  11. A normal switch, I/O.
  12. Misc. Tools like scissors, screwdriver etc.
All in all, this will cost you around 30-50$ to create.
But if you scavenge alot, you will get away with 10$

Step 2: Hooking It Up


First let's connect it all together to see how this simple but effective this current-limiter is.
How the math is done and how it works is greatly described HERE from Artificial Intelligence.

I use two, 0.47 Ohm Resistors at parrallel and a LM350, since i will be driving ~2,67A to the LED.

The LED and lm350 should be electrically isolated from eachother.

The Voltage regulator is connected to the LED (check the link above)

The Led is connected to the Microswitch, which in turn is connected to the battery.
And the battery is connected to a normal on-off switch, which ends in the voltage regulator again.

Step 3: Placing the Components.

The idea is simple, when you open the box, the microbreaker turns the light on, just before the box is opened. So you get the lightrays out of the box from start.
When you close the box, the light goes out.

First we need to place a screw somewhere on the top of the lid, to be the pusher of the microbreaker.
Since the lid goes over the edges on the box I could make the screw shorter and not easily spotted by the opener (or camera)

So cut the screw, use some hot glue to attach it to the inside of the lid at the place you want it to be. (or screw it through the box)

Next, you need to place the microbreaker below it.
Take measurements, so the lid can close, but still press the Microbreaker down enough to turn the light off.

Same procedure, Glue it on, or screw it on (I love my hot glue :))

Now, you fit all the components in the box.
Make sure nothing touches anything. if it does, use some tape!
Doublecheck so the switch gets triggered when you open the box, and close the box.

Step 4: Colour the World

Now we want to put some colour to it.
Otherwise it will be white with shadows.

Use the plastic with colours of your choice and cut it so it fits inside.
I use yellow this round.

Make a hole for the screw to punch through, or a hole for the switch.

Turn it on, close the lid.


Step 5: Words of Advice and Ideas.

First of all, driving 2,7Ampere through this setup, requires somewhat thicker cables than normal. I use 1.5mm2
This will also get the LED hot, burning hot. This is why you have the heatsink.
The power regulator will also dissipate heat, but it does so due to the overheat voltage aswell.
So if you use 24V in. It's going to melt fast.

Secondly, this is only to be opened for max 1 min.
Otherwise the plastic will melt/burn.

And use protective goggles, like sunglasses, since this light without the plastic is blinding.

If you want to make the effect more awesome, use smoke from the inside, like either dry-ice or anything else that can create fog in a tight space. and it will pour out!

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    6 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! awesome instructable! Could you pleeese send a schematic circuit diagram to me. It will be greatly appreciated! thanks


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I love your pandoras box. I will use the idea to make a Sinterklaar surprise (something like a Dutch christmass present) for my girldriend. Going for a multiple leds that emit less heat though.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Go for it!
    It will surely be great :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think I want something that gets so hot that it needs a heat sink to dissipate the heat generated in a small wood or cardboard box.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You can change it for multiple 1W LEDs, they dissipate very low heat


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You dont necessarily need this powerful LED, and it was created for filming shorts with :)
    So it's on for about 20ses max.