Building a Flashlight


Hey Fellas!

So last week I started one more class at ITP called Intro to Fabrication. Why? Would it be because I cannot change a lamp or a hang a painting? Would it be because I have no idea about how am I going to build my final PCOMP project? Or just because I want to be able to bring the things that I have in my head to life? Well I guess it is because of all those things combined.

So at our first class we learned a little about tools, materials and machines, such as the drill press.


And for our first assignment we were challenged to build a flashlight.

My idea for the flashlight was to create something that could make my home cozier. And since I am a universe fan, I thought: why not making one of those night sky lights, were you can project galaxies?

So I found some tutorials online and with a little bit of creativity this is were I got:


These are some of the steps I took to get to this result:

  1. Making an Illustrator file with the enclosure shapes, with the marks for the laser cutter machine:Captura de Tela 2015-11-08 às 15.21.50
  2. Cutting a piece of wood with the shape of one sides of the enclosure and making it the base for the components. I used the drill press to make holes to place the superbright LEDs:IMG_1685IMG_1687
  3. Soldering it all together and adding power. I used 3 AA batteries to get 4.5 V. I also added a low resistor just in case.IMG_1761
  4. Cutting the Illustrator shapes with the laser cutter (I used a very thick black paper, called Museum Board). It takes 2 of these shapes:IMG_1764 IMG_1766
  5. Adding a on/off buttonon/off
  6. Glueing the enclosureIMG_1791
  7. ***Lighting it up***IMG_1772 IMG_1790 IMG_1796

Some things I had problems with/technical details I would have taken care in a different way now that I know:

  • The paper I chose was too tick and hard to bend. A thinner one would have been easier to use and would also look better.
  • Putting the 2 pieces of the enclosure together was the biggest challenge. They didn’t quite fit and it was hard to do it with only 2 hands. Doesn’t look as clean and nice as I would like it to be.
  • I thought 5 super bright LEDs would be enough. But turns out that I needed at least twice as much light to get the effect that I wanted.
  • The enclosure is entirely glued now. So when the batteries die, I suppose I will have to cut it. Should have thought about a way to open and close the enclosure when designing it.

One thought on “Building a Flashlight

  1. Good work. Looks like you are comfortable using the laser cutter. One thing I would suggest is to laser etch some bend lines, that would make folding the paper easier. Maybe try cutting with half the power.

    Also, adding tabs to cover the connecting faces so there is no light leaks could help.

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