Tilt Shotgun Shell Night Light!





Introduction: Tilt Shotgun Shell Night Light!

About: I am a sound designer who's studied computer game development, run my own sound design business and like to build thing in my spare time.

Build a really simple shotgun shell night light that turns on with a flip!


Do not try to do this with live ammunition! The shotgun shells used in this project were empty casings!

Step 1: Materials

  • 1 paper shotgun shell
  • 1 transparent plastic shotgun shell
  • 1 tilt ball sensor/switch
  • 2 bright white LEDs
  • 1 3v button cell battery ( I used a CR2032)

Step 2: Tools

  • Soldering iron
  • Exacto knife, scalpel.

Step 3: Basic Construction

I was messing around with some old shotgun shells when I found that the metal casings would hold a 3v button cell battery perfectly if I removed the paper tube. Since the positive side of the button cell battery wraps around the edge of the battery I could place the battery inside the metal casing without it shorting out. I used bright white LEDs since normal ones could not emit enough light through the green plastic. I also tried green LEDs which worked quite well, but not as well as the bright white.

Step 4: Preparations

To remove the tube I had to drill out the compressed paper, soaking it in water, drilling again, cutting... When I was done I was left with this metal casing. This is where the battery will sit. Cut off the folds on the end of the plastic casing.

Step 5: Circuit

This is the circuit. It's a bit messy but it works. The LEDs are connected in parallel to the cylinder of the tilt switch which is then connected to the negative side of the battery.

Step 6: Building

I soldered the positive side of the LEDs to the shell casing and positioned the tilt switch node where the battery's negative side will be. The pictures show how it works; the tilt switch closes the circuit when it's turned right side up. When it's turned upside down, the tilt switch is open = the lights turn off. The primer acts as a part holding the battery connection in place.

Step 7: Aesthetics

This is what it looks like when I place the plastic casing oven the circuit! The plastic casing fits snuggly in the metal casing! It sort of looks like a huge fuse.

Step 8: Finished

This is what it looks like! When I flip it, it turns on and gives off a soft green light. Perfect for a night light!

Step 9: PS. Thoughts...

It's been a few days since a built this now and I've come across a tiny problem. The tilt switch doesn't have a very good connection to the battery so it will flicker a bit. I soldered a small spring to the tilt switch to make a better connection and now it works fine. :)

Step 10: If You Like This Instructable, Please Comment!

2 People Made This Project!


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64 Discussions

I am going to make some for my daughter and also hunting!

Nice Instructable! Like the idea of reusing the casings. I have tons of these and will be making some! Question: Why do you solder the negative side of the LED leads to the tilt switch casing and not to the other post? Thanks!

2 replies

My switch is a bit weird. It's an spdt switch, I just needed an spst switch.

A CR2032 battery is rated at 3.0 volts and 225 mAh. 2 LEDs at 20 mA = 40 mA. This equals 3937.5 hours not counting battery discharge curve. Wow that seems like a long time. Not sure I calculated that correctly.

The intensity is only limited by the internal battery resistor, about 10 ohm, i=u/r, i=3/10=300mA ! the battery will last about one hour !

224 divided by 40, which is 5.5 hours. Thats assuming they pull all 40mA we're thinking of.

That being said I accidentialy left two white LEDs connected to a CR2032 battery for something like a week in my car, and fund them still lit up. (Name tag from an event.) A friend of mine did as well and found his lighting up way longer than expected.

Kudos for a really darn fun design.

Great Instructable. Looking forward to making some of these

How did you connect the switch to the negative side of the
battery? I’ve tried to solder too CR2032 batteries and was unable to make it stick.

1 reply

I soldered a small spring, like those in battery packs, to the node that goes to negative. That way, when i put it all in the hull, it still makes contact.

Could you give me the exact details of the ball tilt switch and the Bright LED lights, and the Battery? What type of ball tilt switch did you use for this. There are quite the bit of them out there and I want to get this exact for my son.

this is really interesting

This is sick!!
When I get back home I'm going to make 5 of these with different colored shells.

1 reply

I have to try this! #IamaHobo

I got my shells from a shooting range. The guy that worked there didn't act like it was weird that I wanted empty shells. :)