Intro: Woot Light Costume Hat
Though this is labeled as a "Woot-Light" hat, a quick change of colored materials can net you just about any other "Lighted" hat. Drop the name and add your favorite hockey team to the foam and you have a hockey goal hat. Switch the yellow out for some blue or red and you have a police light hat. All but the resistors and LED bulb were found parts around the house. Total cost was about $8.00 for the resistors and LED bulb.
One Gallon Ice Cream Bucket (scrape the logo off of the side with a razor blade)
One spare male USB cable - cut from some cheap USB device that broke
One Bic Stic Pen
One large click pen - The barrel must fit over the Bic Stic pen's barrel
One spare computer fan motor (I think that is where I scavenged it)
Probably 30 inches of wire
One 25,000 mcd white 3.5 - 4volt LED bulb
One 220 Ohm resistor
One 50 Ohm resistor
Two Dixie cups
about one square sheet of aluminum foil
One heavy duty rubber band
Choice of colored film
15" x 17" of foam
5 volt USB charger (or simply plug into your USB port on a computer)
Hot glue gun
First take the ice cream bucket and remove any logos on the side. I found a straight razor blade did better than a power tool or sand paper. Remove the bucket and hold onto the lid, as it will be the base for all of your components.
Take the USB cable and plug it into something. Grab a voltage meter and find the two power wires. Mine were white as positive and beige as the negative. Not sure if this is universal among all cables so it is best to double check. I taped up the other two wires and glued them in an out-of-the way location. Cut a hole about an inch in from the edge of the lid and feed the USB cable through the hole. Hook the positive cable up to the positive of the motor and the 220 ohm resistor. Connect the negative of the USB cable up to the negative of the motor and the 50 ohm resistor.
Side note: These resistors are for taking the voltage down from 5 volts to a voltage the LED bulb can handle. I am NOT an electrician and I found this information by searching the interwebs. It has worked fine for me, but if you change the bulb to another voltage I cannot help you, sorry! :)
Now you need to get the spinning working. Take the smaller Bic stic pen barrel and cut it about 3.5 inches to 4 inches in length. Grab the larger pen barrel and cut it about .5 inches shorter than the smaller pen barrel. Solder or connect the LED bulb to wires that are about 12 inches long. Note which is the positive and the negative and mark it so you know for sure later. If you look at the LED bulb, the negative post is the shorter of the two.
Make sure it is long enough to feed through the pen barrel under the lid and through that hole in the lid that is along the edge to avoid the spinning parts. Slip the larger pen barrel over the smaller one and then feed the wires and LED bulb through the smaller of the barrels. Make sure that the two pen barrels spin reasonably well.
Cut a hole in the center of the lid large enough to feed the smaller of the two barrels through. I found two scrap pieces of chip board (from a ceral box would work) and cut a hole in those and fit the smaller pen barrel into those. I then hot glued the small pen barrel to the chip board and the chip board to the underside of lid to act as an anchor. The hot glue also holds the wires in place and in turn the light at the other end of the barrels. Make sure the outer barrel still spins freely. The LED bulb should hold the outer barrel from spinning up and off of the smaller pen barrel.
Take the two dixie cups and if you have large ones, cut them down to half the height. Small ones can be left alone. Cut the bottoms out and cut a semi-circle out of the side large enough to go around the larger pen barrel. Glue the dixie cups together. Now wrap it up in aluminum foil so that the shiny side faces out.
Before attaching the dixie cups, place the rubber band over the pen barrels and let it lay on the lid. We will get back to that later.
Clear out the hole in the bottom of the dixie cups and fit the cups over the outer pen barrel. Hot glue the cups to the pen barrel. Now you have the spinning part of the hat working. Time to attach the LED to the wires and the motor to the lid.
Feed the LED wires through the hole you cut for the USB cable and attach the 50 Ohm resistor to the negative wire and the 220 Ohm to the positive wire. I just used electrical tape to secure the connections, soldering would be stronger but not necessary. Now place the heavy rubber band over the motor spindle. My moter already had a perfectly grooved disk attached to the spindle that held the band in place. You may have to fashion a stop on the end of the post to keep your band from falling off.
Everything should work now if you plug it in. This is where you need to adjust the distance of the motor from the spinning shaft to create the right speed. You need the correct tension on the band so that is does not fall off easily, but also not so tight that your motor does not spin. I found my motor spun too fast to have two openings with the dixie cups so I had to close one off. This single opening worked great for the speed of the motor.
You can test this by holding the motor on the lid and plugging in your USB cable. The light should come on and the motor will begin to spin. Move the motor back and forth to see how much tension you need on the band. Once you find the right spot, hot glue the motor to the lid and now you should be done with the electronics.
All that is left is to wrap the bucket in the color of film you wish. I was going for a woot light so I grabbed amber film. Wrap and tape it until you get the color you wish. The translucency of the bucket will diffuse the light a bit so you do not need to add too much film. I found three layers to be sufficient.
Now cut the foam in three equal strips and wrap one around the edge of the lid and hot glue it. Grab another strip and hot glue around the other side and trim off any excess. I used acrylic paint to color the foam. I think I watered it down too much so experiment to get the effect you want.
Once the paint is dry you are done!
Now I used a USB charger that I had built from a kit off of electroids.com. However, you can use any 5 volt power source you like. While at work, I simply plugged this into my computer and the hat ran beautifully! My USB rechargable battery pack I got of woot! also worked great.
Best of luck to all of you wooters next Halloween! May a BOC be in your future!