In pursuit of a really good headlamp, without the need of paying a pile of money large enough to fill my apartment for it, I stumbled on dan´s idea for a headlamp and I liked it from beginning.
so I sketched my plans, invested and cashed in some friend-checks, and now it it is built.
This is what I use today when traveling down to the really big caves with the heighest ceilings :) and it works perfectly!
on request I made my own small instructable to take interested people through the process.
looking back on the costs of making this lamp, I managed (hand on heart) to get it down to:
LED´s - 25$
Buckpuck driver - 30$ (shipping included)
Battery case - 3$
Some new batteries, 4 of them - 28$
The casing was for free - YES! YES! YES! - thx Robin!!!
which bring the cost down to 86$. I would say a GIGANTIC leap from the 300-400$ pricerange of a more serious headlamp from for example Petzl, Silva or Black Diamond.
And it really really REALLY does deliver the same amount of light as they do.
The only drawback might be that the batterylife for the expensive ones is longer, but if you switch up from standard AA to LIthium batteries ( as I will do ) you should get even more for the small amount of money you put into it.
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Step 1: Design
Bored close to unconsciousness, a day in class, I sketched on a piece of paper and came up with the design shown below. You can tell I am not an engineer because I write my mesurements in centimeters :)
The picture of how to draw the wires is just a copy from that of dan´s. but it was a good idea to repeat it to myself.
my thoughts on the design was that it should be as small as possible, but with enough aluminium around the LED´d to take away the heat. And to get a design that is not already on the market is not too bad either. :D
By a crazy coincidance, i found when sketching, that a danish "1 krone" coin has if traced around with a pen, almost the exact same diameter of an luxeon 1w LED. So I used it for my drawings. :)
Working with CAD software ( the working part is done by my friend Robin ), my idea of an aluminium casing came one step closer to the real world, with a 3D model.
My thought was to leave room for a plexiglas sheet to protect the lenses from scratches, it would be held in place by 4 screws, or bolts or whatever. the plexiglas sits on a lowered ledge to not stick out and take the beating of rocks and dirt in my way, when crawling underground.
The smaller sketch of a lamp with only 2 LED´s is in the making today. :)
Step 2: Friends, You Simply Cant Have Enough of Them...
Thx robin for helping me here :) much appreciated.... and perhaps you will help me with the next one? :P
Not shure what the machine is called or what the terms are for the different steps in the process of making my case, but if someone wants to know, I can find out...
Step 3: Testing, Keep Cats Away for This Step.
Tested the wiring on a small electronics board, and it worked just fine. It was very suprising to se the LED´s pump out so much light....
From my workstation ( the kitchen ) I compared my light with a smaller light which i have used and thought of as enough before....never again.
My own light is only on half power at the time, but it is so much brighter than my old one.
If you build one of these, use sunglasses.... I mean it!
Step 4: Fit LEDs and Lenses
My tedious measurements of diameters, heights and so on, paid off!
The leds and lenses fits perfectly in the case and is also allowing for the plexiglas sheet to fit without problems...
It took some time and effort to arrange the leds in such a way that my wiring didnt get in the way of the lens holders.
Step 5: To Quote One of My Favorite TV-show Hosts...."POWWEERRRRRR"
I use 4 or 8 AA batteries ~2500 mAh which gives my lamp a lifetime of about 16 hours when using the high-mode a bit too much in large caves and big spaces, but they are rechargable so it works good enough.
And for controlling the power I have my small control unit which has 3 basic buttons:
*on/off - which puts it at 25%
*1 - 50-60%
*2 - max power
Will move up toward Lithium batteries as a mentioned before, as soon as I can see a reasonable priceag somewhere...
I am now also moving up on my ideas for the next headlamp, or maybe a remake of the one already made, with my new and very very shiny luxeon rebel tri-stars 540lm.
maybe I will post it here when I am done :)
if I missed something, or seem to be wrong somewhere, please say so and I will see what I can do.
I hope this can encourage others to make something like this. it works very nice indeed and have been a lot of fun along the way.
Thanks again Dan!
Step 6: Future Design
next case for a headlight seems to be one made for two LEDs. it will probably be enought because I will use the 540 lumen luxeon rebel tri-stars in it :)
this one will obviously be smaller than the last one with half as many stars, but also because the tri-stars only have 7,2 mm of height compared to older luxeons I used that have 16,2 mm.
this leaves more room for heatsink design. perfect.
here are some pictures of the design.
what is missing is some holes on the backside which will be used for mounting.
Step 7: Headlamp Nr 2!!!
So finally, the process of making the second headlamp has started. It is almost complete now, with only the large block on the back of the lamp left to be removed.
I brought the thing home to fit LEDs and test it out early. And thankfully, the LEDs are a perfect fit. it seems to be pretty bright too.
I think it came out pretty nice :D ....don´t you?
Can´t wait for it to be finished!