DIY Wood + copper LED flashlight

just saw this post DIY Wooden LED Torch Build and thought i would share mine.

Copper + mahogany enclosure, with a CREE XM-L LED, and 1000 mAh rechargeable battery.

Full build album:

LED: Cree XLamp XM-L LED Star
Recharge circuit: SparkFun LiPo Charger Basic - Micro-USB - PRT-10217 - SparkFun Electronics
Battery: Polymer Lithium Ion Battery - 1000mAh - PRT-00339 - SparkFun Electronics

Im new to this so i didn’t really know what i was doing with the wiring. Just went straight off the battery to the LED so its not running at the upper limit of its output. Im ordering parts now to add an LED driver to get a few more lumens out of the next version.

Very fine craftsmanship!

Nice work. You're a man after my own heart, except you have more talent. Congrats on that light.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

Oh I like that a lot!

EDIT……Well done, great creative design.

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

If you do more stuff, please share! ;)

Your light would have done well in this contest:

Welcome! Great work! It's nice to see yet another unique light here. Did you make that optic yourself?

Also, I assume the battery you used has a lot of voltage sag under load, which in your case is a good thing being that it's direct-driven, otherwise it could really get that XM-L cooking and possibly burn it up.

very original !! :beer:

Thanks for sharing your build , nihlton .

And welcome to the BLF .

thanks guys!

I have plans to try this again, this time using a cree xm-l2, a NCR18650B (3,400 mAh), and one of these

I’ll probably have to be smarter about head dissipation though….

folks who can math - any idea how many raw lumens from the LED i should expect running the driver on high (2.8A)?

No, its a carclo optic i had from a previous project - and then ground down to fit the space i had….

ive actually pulled it out since then as the set up was directing a lot of the light into the wood holder. You can kinda see the problem here: the continuity of the light path from the surface of the optic to the holder is bad news bears.

Im now just using a reflector out of a mini-maglite, ground down to fit.

Welcome to the Forums.Cool What a great way to start out! Very inventive and lots of hard work! The hands sure take a beating doing all that kind of work, but it's a lot of fun to make something by hand. Great build! Thank you for posting it here.Laughing

Well you certainly know what you're doing. That's a great driver to use, and if you haven't seen the threads around here yet it can be customized to provide whatever modes you want. You can even hook up a secondary switch to it to do the mode changing if you'd like.

That’s some fine craftsmanship. Looks like it’ll fit comfortably in a pocket.

That is a very nice flashlight, I have seen a few lights made with/of wood and this is the most unique one.

Hi! Welcome on the board nihlton. I like it and have some tips for next version of your light :slight_smile:

You have done a nice job on your flashlight but you are wrong about the electronics. If you direct drive an XM-L from Li-Pol like this and without solid heatsink, it can’t survive on the long run… Driver is there to limit current from the battery (unless it is a boost driver). In your circuit the only added resistance is the switch - so you are running the led at unregulated full power without proper cooling. I would suggest you to improve the led cooling (if not cooled the efficiency drops fast) in next version and using the driver to prevent led damage and for gaining a longer runtime. I also wonder if the hot glue doesn’t ruin optical properties of the TIR optics that you used. IMHO that reflective surface of reflector shouldn’t be touching anything so maybe using a TIR in plastic holder may improve the performance too.

Well, the LED is conductive-epoxied to the copper enclosure so most of the heat is dissipating that way. You can’t see, but i also soldered two extra layers to the inside so there is more mass to pull heat off it. I ran it for 50 minutes without noticeable dimming. I have use the same LED on another project (motorcycle headlights) and have seen what happens if its not heatsinked well (ooops) turns yellow and gets dimmer… [edit: project gallery link: Imgur: The magic of the Internet]

you’re right about the optics. Ive actually pulled out the optic pictured and replaced it with the reflector from a minimag. the output is significantly improved.

About drivers - so the driver i have in mind ( will basically only limit the juice going into the LED - to protect it - it wont step it up? So say i wanted to drive that LED at 2.8 amps (around the max safe) - would I need to use two batteries in series? or what would i need to do?


Those drivers can only be used with a single Li-Ion cell. With a good cell it should pull 2.8 amps and gradually step down as the battery loses voltage. But you're correct, it's only a "buck" driver (it only drops voltage), it doesn't boost the voltage.

Nice work, I love how your hand starts out squeaky-clean, & in the last few shots, it’s all busted up :zipper_mouth_face:

What do I say. What a fantastic creation. I would not know where to start with what you have built. Well done.


ahh ok. that makes sense. thanks! as i said upthread - im new to this :slight_smile: