Week 1 – Turning On & Off
This week, I made a pressure-enabled flashlight using a CR2032 battery & a blue LED. I disassembled one of my AirTag trackers to extract its battery, and got the LED from the shop. My first step was jamming one onto the other & pressing it with my fingers to realize how the device would work—it’s simpler than I thought! I checked the voltage ratings of each & with a blue LED, no resistors are needed.
My first attempt at an enclosure design for the flashlight used two rectangles of cardboard. I traced the battery onto a small bit of cardboard, then used an x-acto knife to cut out that circle, leaving the bottom layer of paper intact except for a small perforation in one spot for an LED lede. I then put the battery in its circular spot, cut out another piece of cardboard the same size, and inserted the LED with a lede on each side of the battery, bending up the positive lede to prevent contact by default. I used blue masking tape to connect the two sheets, enabling you to press the device and make it shine.
But as incredible as cardboard is, it feels insubstantial as an object and mine looked ratty. I decided thin wood—wood about 3mm thick, since that’s the depth of the battery—could replicate my design with a more substantiative feel. I drew out how this would work, with three sheets:
I found a scrap sheet from someone’s laser-cutting project, & marked it off into thirds. I chopped it out using the band saw. The band saw kept stopping after 10-ish seconds of operation, regardless of whether it was touching material, and shop staff couldn’t figure out the reason, so I had to make a bunch of small cuts.
Since the battery is 20mm in diameter, or 0.78”, I chose the 7/8” forstner bit. While I was planning to use the drill press, I couldn’t figure out how to set it up safely with the grips we had available, so I used a hand drill instead. It required more effort than I expected, but the hole came out perfectly!
After slicing the sheet into thirds and taping, ta-da:
The tape isn’t an ideal mechanism, but wood glue wouldn’t work for this design, and it’s the same color as the light.