DIY helmet lights

Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting, Projects.
Monday, November 5th, 2007 at 9:35 pm

So the ride home was awesome, windy and brisk, but the wind was mostly with me.  Still not pitch dark at 5 by any means, but it’s dark enough I’m glad to have the light — and it’s super bright!  I still love the Cat Eye for the ground view in front of me, but having a light on my head is awesome!  I can look at a stop sign on the next block and see it blinking back at me, then move my head and it disappears.  It’s a 1/2 watt LED with a really focused lens so it throws a tight beam quite a long way.

pict0001.JPGBut the whole contraption, as I mentioned, was way too bulky and unsafe in case of an accident.  Taking a leaf out of Apple’s MagSafe book, I decided to go with magnets as my "quick-release" mechanism instead of velcro.  I bent a bit of scrap metal into a Z to allow me some leeway to aim and super glued it to the front piece of the light.  This would pict0008.JPGattach to a rare earth magnet on the brim of the helmet.

I intended to glue some metal to the battery case (two AAAs now) and stick this to more permanent magnets on the helmet, but the batteries themselves provided enough sticking power when I used two magnets.  These went along the back right, anpict0007.JPGd in the dead center of the back I glued one more bit of scrap to attach the rear blinker.

I had to bend more metal and wedge it into the clip of the blinker so the magnet could grab something – it almost worked on the batteries inside but not quite.

pict0010.JPGNow I have a super low-profile helmet during the day – just three magnets and a bit of metal – and it converts with a few clicks for night biking!  I’ll have to get it back on my head tomorrow and see how it’s aiming, but early testing looks good.  The super glue seems plenty strong, and I can swing my head around pretty fast without any wobble in the lights.  Sweet!

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5 Responses to “DIY helmet lights”

  1. Eric Says:

    Hey nice job! Keep an eye on the super glue in the winter, it uh gets kind of brittle.

    Happy riding.

  2. Nate Says:

    Hmm. I actually pulled out 4 different glues to consider, I had some Loctite, some epoxy, some silicone adhesive, and super glue. Now I’m wondering if I should have gone with the silicone or Loctite – they both cure semi-flexible… Well, we’ll know soon enough!

    PS – I got some lobster gloves but it hasn’t been cold enough to wear them yet. I’m still trying to condition my hands and want to save them for when it’s unbearable in my other gloves… :)

  3. Brent Says:

    Now that looks a little more…normal. ;)

  4. troy Says:

    I still vote cyborg… afterall, I know from experience the chin is actually what slides on th ground. Seriously though, friggin’ sweet kid!

  5. Rick Says:

    Well done! Now if you can figure out how to ride in deep snow, you can bike throughout the Minnesota winter. Hard. Core. I’m sticking with my walking and pedometer – 10,000 steps a day.