Tron Legacy Castor/Zuse Cane mod with Luxeon Star LED

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

colonelmasako

Active Member
My first foray into working with Luxeon Star LEDs was when I had to repair my saberforge lightsaber last year. With that experience under my belt, I decided to try to use their smaller LEDs to modify a cane prop I plan to use for my Tron Legacy Castor costume.

Special thanks to kevinericon for doing the hard work and making the cane in the first place. I first purchased the acrylic rod from him, and it came with a built in light source. I had nothing against the quality of the rod itself, but I found the light source was not powerful enough for my tastes.

The first step was to gather the parts. All of these parts have to be very small, because the stainless steel tube that came with the cane is 1" outer dimension (same as the rod itself) and the thickness of the tube is 0.03". What I plan to do is to get another rod that is long enough to fit the whole assembly, but I won't buy that until I know how big it has to be.

Parts needed:
1. 1x 10mm Luxeon Star LED, square, mounted on a PCB, 111 lumens at 350mA ANSI White (5028K), 10mm Square LED - 200 lm
2. 1x Carclo 10mm 17.7 degree square optic for narrow beam Carclo 17.7° 10mm Optic With Integrated Legs
3. 1x 10mm thermal tape for mounting the LED to the heatsink Pre-Cut, Thermal Tape for 10mm Square Bases (10)
4. 1x 19mm square by 10mm high heat sink, ideal for low airflow environments 19mm Square x 10mm High Alpha Heat Sink - 21.0 °C/W
5. 1x 350mA Micropuck driver for driving the LED from a 3V input source 350mA, Non-Dimmable, MicroPuck Driver - With Leads
6. 1x RCR123A 3V 900mAh Lithium Ion, kit from All battery including charger All-Battery.com: Tenergy 4 Pack RCR123A 3.0V 900mAh Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries + Charger
7. 1x CR123A battery holder Battery Holder: CR123A Battery Holder for PCB mount - RoHS Compliant
8. 1x locking captop pushbutton Cyan Keytop Self Lock Tact Push Button Switch
9. ? inches of stainless steel tube, 0.035" wall, 1" outer dimension Order Stainless 304 Tube in Small Quantities at OnlineMetals.com

All parts needed for day 1 work


The original light fitting for the cane, for comparison:


The LED itself out of the package, tiny 10mm x 10mm thing


Mounting the thermal tape to the heatsink. I had to cut down the corners of this 19mm square thing to fit inside the tube. I didn't do a good job putting the tape down, but meh.


Used rubberized clamps to mount the LED to the heatsink, instructions say to push hard on it for 30 seconds for a good thermal bond.


First test power on without a lens, 111 lumens is pretty blindingly bright.


Mounting the 10mm optic on top of the heatsink. It fits really nicely on top, used hot glue to attach and solder for the LED pads.


Put the LED and lens at the end of the cane for a test, very nice difference.

Then put the LED/heatsink in the steel tube for a test fit.

A very tight fit, but it works


Used my IR temperature toy from Harbor Freight to measure how hot the heatsink/LED got. This was the room temperature at the time.

After running the LED for a full minute, got quite a bit warmer.

Then put it into the tube and ran it, but luckily the tube didn't get much warmer. Measuring the temperature inside the tube, it hit 107F at the back and 144F at the front.


Last step of the day was to attach the LED/heatsink to the battery holder. Plugged in the battery to test fit it fitting inside the tube, which it does.


More progress when I get the rest of the parts in.
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

colonelmasako

Active Member
Nice guide.

Are you worried at all about using hot glue and it that hot in there?
Good question, I am a little. Doing some research, seems most hot glue doesn't soften until 250F (low temp stuff anyways). I actually worry more about warming up the battery, but if the rear of the LED isn't getting hotter than 130F, should be marginally ok. I might undo that last step of gluing the battery to the heatsink, so I can work with it nicer and have the LED/heatsink permanantly attached to the cane itself.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Spoddy

Member
Is it possible to use the tube as a more effective heatsink for the LED? Or do you think it would get to warm to hold for any period of time?
 

colonelmasako

Active Member
Is it possible to use the tube as a more effective heatsink for the LED? Or do you think it would get to warm to hold for any period of time?
This is actually what I plan on next, great minds think alike. I just ordered a 3/8" thick hockey puck of aluminum that I will silver epoxy the heatsink to, and will try to use the same epoxy to permanently attach this puck/LED system to the walls of the steel tube. Pictures will show progress once I get the remaining parts in.

I figure that if it gets too hot, then I'll leave it on in spurts like for pictures. Plus I'll be wearing gloves for my castor costume, so that should help a little bit.
 

colonelmasako

Active Member
Big update! Many appologies for the delay, took me this long to get the pictures off of my camera. My SD card reader in my laptop died so I had to find a cheap alternative.

The parts I needed to continue came in:


I undid the last step I posted, as I realized having something really hot near the Li-ion battery is a bad idea. As I said before, I bought a 3/8" thick hockey puck of aluminum to help manage heat, and it did help a bunch. But its a really tight fit inside the tube so I had to do some drilling to have the wires fit through.


Unfortunately, had to cut and resolder the wires. This is one of my "wouldn't do it this way again" mistakes.


I mixed up my silver epoxy from another project (MG Chemicals electrically conductive, but works well for thermal as well) to help connect the existing heat sink to the hockey puck. I used my clamps to hold it tight, and used a hair dryer to cure the epoxy. A VERY good bond when fully cured.


I was originally going to go with a smaller switch, but they are...too small. And flimsy. So I went to radio shack and found a very nice 1" wide toggle switch. But it doesn't quite fit in the tube, so I got some velcro cable wrap to help hold the switch in nice and snug.


I then soldered the wires from the buck converter to the battery holder, and used some hot glue to relive strain on the solder joint.


All wired up and ready for fit test


But :cry it didn't fit all the way. My tube was short by about a half inch. And its really tight in there.


A solution I went with is white electrical tape to help hold the switch in nice and snug. I then used E9000 glue to attach the tube to the acrylic rod. Here are two clamps to make sure this was a tight bond.


One more update when I can, will have the final product and its light effects. The awesome thing is that the hockey puck plus heat sink eliminates all heat concerns. The E9000 bond worked pretty good, super glue might have worked better but E9000 is much easier to work with. As long as I don't rest my weight on the tube, and grab it by the tube/rod interface, should be good. Initial tests show slight wiggle, but I'm not pressing my luck.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Gelflinggal

New Member
Hi! I realize this thread is 2 years old but I was wondering:

Is there anything you would do differently a second time around? I'm currently in the process of making one of these for my son for his Halloween costume this year (2014). I think this is a great idea but wonder if there is a way to make the power source smaller to fit into the cane handle.

Thanks for any help!
 

vidman

Well-Known Member
Hi! I realize this thread is 2 years old but I was wondering:

Is there anything you would do differently a second time around? I'm currently in the process of making one of these for my son for his Halloween costume this year (2014). I think this is a great idea but wonder if there is a way to make the power source smaller to fit into the cane handle.

Thanks for any help!
Just saw this and well if you want better ideas I would suggest looking at the way star wars light saber lighting systems are built,,, very compact and no heat problems ever, I myself have built a few and have never had temps from the led like the above poster has had. Just my 2 cents worth, and he got the heattsink to the led all bass akwards.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top