September 06, 2018
Our assignment for the first week of Fabrication class:
Build a flashlight using any tools or techniques you’d like. I’m defining a flashlight as:
- creates light
I decided to start simple and prototype a circuit that lights up an LED. This is because the last time I attempted to build and solder something, I built a mechanical keyboard with broken “J”, “P”, “3”, and ”;” keys…
Here is the breadboard prototype I built using pieces from an ”Introduction to Modern Electronics” kit and information from this Instructables tutorial (rudimentary circuit diagram included). Only one LED was burnt out during this process.
After prototyping a working LED circuit, I started to experiment with the flashlight’s form. My initial experiment involved recycling a handheld radio to both power and act as a switch for the flashlight.
This didn’t work as expected because I was reusing the radio speaker’s wires which didn’t have a high enough voltage to power an LED. Yang, a second-year ITP student, helped me use an Arduino to turn the radio’s dial into a basic penoptimeter.
But because I didn’t want to build a flashlight with an Arduino in it, I went back to the junk shelf. Ben’s advice was to build big, so we found PVC pipes that could fit a 9 volt battery, the LED, the resistor, and all the wires. I also swapped the breadboard button for a threaded toggle that could be attached to the pipe using a nut. Finally, a plastic eyeball was used as the “cap” of the flashlight and glued to the smaller PVC pipe that shared the eyeball’s diameter.
Before assembling the components into the flashlight, I tested the circuit (and my amateur soldering skills) on a breadboard.
Here is footage of the final product: video
Some thoughts I had if I were to redo this project or continue to build on it:
A perpetual work in progress blog documentating my NYU ITP projects. Words are my own.