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Intro To Fab | Week 1 | Flash Light

Getting Started - Inspiration

I started with deciding what I wanted to achieve with this assignment. I thought of creating a useful flash light; maybe a keychain-sized light, reading light, or night light. However, I figured that I am only comfortable with working with paper, and making useful things with paper is kinda difficult since paper has little structural integrity.

So I decided that I wanted to go for aesthetics.

I googled "interesting lights", and came across few interesting references:

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Image taken from vice.com. Installation by Anila Quayyum Agha.

Agha's installation really hit it home for me, and I wanted to create something similar.

Initial sketch.

After some sketching, I realized that it would be extremely difficult to cut symmetrical patterns on paper, and I had to have another visual pull so that the light would still be visually interesting. I looked for some paper sculpture samples and settled on the following:

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One, I like triangles, and two, this shape is neither boring nor overly complicated.

Now that I have a firm plan, I had to actually make the light.

Raw Materials

I bought some large papers from Blick, and gathered battery, LED, and some wires from my PComp box.

Making the Paper Enclosure

The first step was to draw a template for the enclosure. There is a picture on the etsy page of how the template should be, but I did not have exact dimensions. I was worried that if I arbitrarily drew with wrong dimensions the enclosure would not close properly.

But heck, I went ahead and started anyway. I cut a 5inch tall diamond, made sure it was perfectly symmetrical, and used it to draw a template for the enclosure. I used the back of pen knife to score my wings and joints.

And voila! By some miracle / ungodly intervention the enclosure could close perfectly.

Next, I wanted to cut some patterns onto couple sides of the diamond box, but I made sure I planned which sides to cut and which sides I would attach the circuit on.

I drew a crescent moon using a quarter and cut it. For the other side, I wanted to do some patterns using a different colored paper, but it turned out not visually-pleasing at all so I scraped it and left a big hole on one of the side.

All the ingredients were set and it was time to assemble. I wired a simple battery-switch-resistor-led circuit, and laid them on the template.

I poked holes so that the switch could sit snugly.

Now, I don't know how to solder so I used copper tape to connect my wires and components. It was (and still is) very flimsy :(

I glued everything shut together, but I left the battery side unglued so that I could tweak the circuit inside if needed.

Final Product

It also projects some kind of silhouette when the environment is super dark. I guess it's more of a lantern / night light rather than a flash light.

Learnings & What I Would Do Differently

  1. Paper is paper, it is flimsy. The battery and the switch are heavy so they really affect the COG of the product.

  2. I should urgently learn how to solder.

  3. The LED could've been of a brighter variety.

  4. The lid could use velcro, so that it can open/close nicely.

  5. The concept was good, but if I know how to laser cut, the pattern and the projection could have been much more intricate and interesting.

#IntroToFab #Fabrication

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