Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Flashlight Made from Pill bottle Caps

This is really cute Marlon was it a headache to make ?

 If you like Flashlights here is a cool unusual flashlight that will catch your friends attention.
It doesn't use the conventional switches as most flashlights do so you don't have to worry about accidently turning it on when its in your pocket. So, lets down to bussiness making one!

              The battery Retainer

The battery compartment cap is made from a medicine cap, circular piece of tin from an Altoid
can, a spring and a laser pointer chain attachment (optional).


The cap contains a piece of cardboard that ensures a air tight seal.This will prevent the mounting of the spring/ tin combination. I removed this and separate both caps from each other. I Soldered the spring to the piece of tin which I cut from an Altoids can. Using a pair of scirrors I cut 2 slots opposite of each other and bend them inward away from the spring assembly. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to bend them. Next,using my soldering iron's heat I melted the both slots into the plastic screw cap through the other side. When the slots were visible from the opposite side I folded them in to secure the tin inside of the screw cap.


I wanted to add a key chain feature so I drilled a hole in the center of the safety cap.


I had a battery holder from an old laser pointer which had a key chain but, it was threaded this was a problem. So, I removed the chain and used my dremel tool to cut away the lower section that contained the threads.

The threads of the screw cap will prevent the cap from fitting onto the pipe. So I used my
dremel tool to sand away these threads to achieve the fit that I wanted. Taking your time, checking so often while sanding is the best way to achieve this. After achieving the fit that I wanted, I placed the key chain holder underneath and through the safety cap's hole while snapping both safety and screw cap together and reattaching the key chain. I'll be using this a little later on in the project.

                     The  Lighting

To begin the lighting compartment I used a large medicine cap and a small hollow sphere. I cut the small sphere in half for my led Assembly using a dremel tool.

Next, I traced the half sphere onto the large medicine cap. And drilled a hole in both caps slightly smaller than the half sphere. And then separated both caps from one another.


Next, I took one of the half spheres and drilled a hole in the middle. This will be the housing for 3 ultra bright Leds which I wired together in parallel and placed into a modified wire nut and super glued inside. Always check your wiring connections before super gluing components.

   I super glued the wire nut containing the 3 wired Leds into the half sphere. I then placed the wires through the screw cap with the half sphere and snapped on the safety cap and set it aside for now.

                      The  Battery Holder


To make the housing for my flashlight I purchased flanged polypropylene 1-1/2x12 tubing, I had
a security reed switch in my parts box so I decided to use it to give the flashlight a unique switch feature, 2 neodymium magnets, the metal bottom of a aerosol can,4 small screws and 2  nuts, heat shrink tubing,1 wire connector, medicine container and wire.


       I found a medicine container in which the threaded end fits inside of the tubing. I used a pair of scissors to cut out the threaded end while leaving a edge that will fit into the polypropylene tubing. 


I place this edge of the threaded end inside of the tubing to get a general idea of how to construct the flashlight.

The tubing comes with a flanged end and a threaded end. Since I wanted a unique switching system I cut off the threaded end of the pipe which I'll be using for this purpose. I carefully cut the pipe to 5" inches
and cut off the threaded side which ill be using . Using my dremel tool I cleaned up the
threaded end and placed a neodymium magnet inside. Using my soldering iron I melted the magnet into the plastic until it was level with the plastic's surface.

When the magnet was embedded in the plastic. I used my dremel tool to sand away the plastic
to a flatten surface. When the plastic cooled I soldered a solid wire to the magnet and let it cool again. Next, I used a side to side movement of the wire to remove the magnet.


The weakness of a neodymium magnet is heat, so after this process the magnet will be of no use so make sure you have more than one. I placed the fresh one inside and slipped it onto my tubing to make sure it moved freely. This will be the switching system for the flashlight.


After this melting process the threads may become odd looking to correct this I used my dremel tool regain the threads.



Using a hack saw I cut the bottom from a aerosol can, also using the hack saw I cut the
reinforced metal around the edge. Using a hammer I flattened the metal and cut out a circle. I then soldered a thick paperclip in the center and dremeled a slot in the edge. This metal is pretty strong and that's what you need to maintain the tension and force of the spring cap without the metal bending. Using goggles and protective wear is recommended, also holding down the aerosol can's button until there is no sound of air is helpful but not a guarantee that the pressure is fully discharged. If the can feels heavy even if you don't hear any air means the inside tubing is probably clogged abandon this one and use another one. Do not hammer away at the can. Drill small hole to see if its pressure still remains. Use your better judgement to prevent injury.


The reed switch contains 2 wires and 2 holes on each side. I drilled a small hole in the center of these holes. Next, I placed the paperclip through the middle hole and soldered a bead to keep it in place. I also cut a slot on the side of the disc for my batteries negative wire connection.

I place the threaded magnet ring along with Led housing on your pipe leaving 1/8 inch between the two and with a pencil mark under the threaded magnet ring, 3 evenly spaced points. These points are for the screws that will support the disc and keep the magnet's alignment with the inside reed switch.


I drilled and place the screws in these 3 points. Place the reed switch assembly inside of the pipe. Make sure that the screws are viewed on the reed switch side of the disc and not on the battery side. The screws are to support the disc when the batteries and spring cap are applied and to keep the magnet aligned on the outside with the reed switch on the inside. You can achieve this by inserting the assembly through the battery end rather than the top end. Also make sure that one of the wires from the reed switch is running through the slot of the disc on the battery side and the other is running outside the top of the flashlight.

with your screws drilled and metal disc positioned, let your threaded magnetic ring combination rest on these outside screws, and drill a hole slightly above the magnet combination but allowing space for the Led housing. While keeping tension on the paperclip I used needle nose pliers to make a loop in your paperclip and fasten it to this screw with a nut. Be sure that the disc makes contact with all 3 screws before tightening the nut. This will ensure a flat surface for battery contact which would otherwise result in lighting failure.

Using another nut I placed a wire with connector to the same paper clip connection. Since the screws are supporting the disc for the batteries. The paper cilp is perfect support for the disc as its purpose is only to hold the disc in place and provide positive current for the Leds. The best way to apply these nuts is to hold them in place while turning your screw driver not the opposite of this.


Connect your Led assembly remember that the nut connection is positive and the reed switch
wire is negative. When the connections are soldered and tubed shrinked. The Led cap should have a perfect fit from our earlier modification.

   Remember the threaded end we cut earlier from the medicine container that fit our pipe. I used a piece of scrap metal (copper) from a digital camera and my soldering iron, to melted the tip of the metal into the plastic. I then wrapped the metal around the rim inside and downward.


With the wire that I previously ran through the mounted disc from the reed switch. I soldered this to my wrapped metal. With plenty of pipe left I cut about 1 1/2 inch and then cut out a small section "c" shaped and placed this inside of the battery holder. This will stabilize the wire and prevent blockage during battery loading.

with everything in place apply super glue to the threaded end and hold for 1 minute. load your batteries and your ready for action. Simply turn your magic threads until the light turns on, continue turning and they turn off. Mystify your friends with the magic.



  1. Dear Marlon:
    The Flashlight made from Pill bottle caps is a brainy idea. As a matter of facts, I like your Blog.

    Much success,
    Dr. Willie D. Young

  2. This is absolutely a great invention! Two thumbs up!

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    written article. I'll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I'll certainly return.
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