Intro: Turn Your Flashlight Into a Handy Task Light
I never seem to have enough hands or enough light on my work. I use a "helping hands" for soldering and I have a work light at my bench. But my hands or head always seem to cast a shadow right on the spot I'm focusing on. Up to now, I've used a small LED flashlight held in my mouth (!) to brighten things.
This handy Task Light mount can be printed on your 3D printer and it along with a small penlight or flashlight will free up a hand (or mouth) and let you see things more clearly. In addition to brightening your bench, it can find use as a bedside reading light or a camping light. And it is not limited to holding a flashlight. It can hold a laser pointer or glow stick.
A short length of 1-5/16 inch (33 mm) diameter PVC serves as the vertical mount and is attached to a cat food or tuna can as a base. The length of this mount and be cut for your application. I used a 4 inch (10 cm) length. The flashlight is fixed to the mount plate by a cable tie. This provides a sturdy and semi-permanent attachment. The mount plate itself is detachable from the tilt plate, allowing you to swap out lights as needed. The mount plate can be tilted at several discrete angles by use of a notched locking pin. Other than the PVC, can, and cable tie, no other hardware is required.
Step 1: Print the Parts
The design has five printed parts:
- Can mount. This fits onto the top of the cat food or tuna can like a lid. It has a circular protrusion that a short length of PVC friction fastens to.
- PVC mount. This fits to the top of the PVC length and connects to the tilt mount.
- Tilt mount. This tilt mount and PVC mount have notches that connect with a locking pin.
- Locking pin. The locking pin is notched and passes through the assembled tilt mount and PVC mount. Together these three pieces can be set and discrete angles without the need for other hardware.
- Mount plate. The flashlight fastens to the mount plate using a cable tie. The mount plate is detachable from the rest of the tilting mount.
These can be printed in PLA or ABS. I printed in ABS with support and 30% infill. You may want to experiment with the best orientation to print the tilt mount and mount plate.
Step 2: Prepare Can and PVC
Can. A cat food or tuna can can be used as the base. (In my investigation, both have the same diameter. No modification of the can mount was required.)
Be careful with any possible sharp edges on the edge of the can, especially if a cat food can is used. I used a spoon to flatten down a sharp lip on the inside of the can I used.
PVC. Cut a length of 1-5/16 inch (33 mm) diameter PVC tubing. Any reasonably short length can be used. I used a 4 inch length. Beware of making this length too large, lest the final mount with light be top-heavy.
Step 3: Assemble the Pieces
- Fill the can with ballast if desired (gravel, dry rice, sand, loose change).
- Press fit the printed can mount to the can. It will be snug.
- Press fit the length of PVC tube to the can mount.
- Fit the PVC mount to the end of the tube.
- Place the tilt mount over the tongue of the PVC mount.
- Link the tilt and PVC mounts with the locking pin. These three parts are intended to be slightly loose. You may need to work them against one another or sand slightly to allow them to be disassembled.
- Use a medium cable tie to fix your flashlight or penlight to the mount plate. Note the orientation of the cable tie. There is a recess for the head of the tie . Trim the excess cable tie after the light is snug.
- Press fit the mount with flashlight to the top of the tilt mount
- Enjoy your task light!