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Printable jacket cuff lights

All > Fashion > Accessories > Printable jacket cuff lights by natetrue
They're a new take on the Jacket Cuff Lights that I published back in 2007. These are less likely to break, easier to install, and the casing is printed on a Makerbot!

Cuff light kits and preassembled modules are available from my buy page.

We've all been there. Fumbling around in a dark parking lot, trying to find the keyhole on the car door or mailbox. Sure, you'd use a flashlight, but who has the room for those bulky outlines?

Granted, the cuff lights aren't the most practical of solutions but they're so cool. They're hidden in your jacket cuffs, nearly invisible and perfectly comfortable, just waiting to be activated with a little sideways pressure.

Also, if it's very dark, you can stun would-be attackers with them. The lights are bright enough to blind and disorient for about 5-10 seconds when eyes are accustomed to darkness.

Best of all, the complete modules need only rudimentary sewing skills to install (that, or access to a rudimentary person with sewing skills).

The printed casing comes in two parts that snap together, and with a properly configured Makerbot (heated build platform not required) you can print them without a raft:

Each module takes about 20 minutes to print, and there are left and right hand versions. There are three parts to each module:
As you can see, the parts print kind of stringy (if you order a kit from me, they will come with strings and all). Each module requires very few electronic parts:
- One 10mm white LED per module (I use 5-Chip 10mm White LEDs - they're crazy bright)
- One 10-ohm resistor
- One simple mechanical pushbutton (Digi-key P12192S-ND or similar)
- Two CR2032 lithium batteries (should be good for about 2 hours of continuous light; or 3600 2-second uses)

Kits will include casing and these parts. If you want to print your own casing, you can download the designs over at Thingiverse. On to the kit assembly instructions!

Kit assembly instructions
You will have noticed above that the printed parts look all stringy. Use an Xacto knife or similar to remove the strings and tiny imperfections. Pay attention to these areas:
Once you have it all cleaned up, you can proceed to place the LED.

Remember, these instructions are for the right-hand cuff light. If you are making the left-hand one, you will have to flip these instructions in your brain.
If you're using a different white LED, make sure the anode is going toward the batteries. If you mess up and put it in backwards, don't worry - just install the batteries upside down when you put them in.

Grab the button and alter it in this manner:
Pay close attention to which two of the legs are removed. The removed legs MUST be on the same side of the button as each other. If you're not sure which ones to cut, wait until the eyelet step to cut them.

Now situate the button like this, with the legs down:
Bend the LED lead so that it is touching the button leg and solder it in place:
Clip any hanging-over leads. Be quick with soldering as the hot metal will melt the plastic.

Grab the 10-ohm resistor and place it in just so:
Solder the resistor to the remaining leg, and bend the other side according to the L shape:
Now insert the batteries:
And press the button. If the LED lights up really crazy bright, you've done well so far. If it doesn't, check to make sure the LED lead is pushing against the top of the batteries and the button connections are working. If the LED turns on without pushing the button and doesn't turn off, check to make sure you have the correct button legs soldered to.

When the lights are installed, the eyelet will be placed like so:
You can also test fit the base to the electronics carrier now. Be gentle with it; if the base does not snap on you will have to shave it down a little with an Xacto knife wherever it's sticking.
That's all the assembly work! Repeat for the other module. Here come the installation instructions:

Installation instructions

All you need to install these is a needle and some thread (black recommended).

First, a little note on how the lights work. The eyelet is linked to a piece of string that goes around your cuff and attaches either to the other side of the cufflight module or somewhere strong on the sleeve. When the sleeve is stretched, the string tension pulls on the eyelet and activates the button. So, to turn on the cuff light you spread your hand out in your cuff.
So you'll want to put on your jacket and note where your hand rests in the cuff, and where you want to mount the cuff light. Make sure the module you're using has the eyelet toward your thumb, otherwise the light will be hard to activate.
Sew the base onto the jacket (use your thumbnail to pry the assembly apart first if necessary) using the little hooks designed into the base.
Using at least 8 strands of thread, or with string or fishing line, make a loop around the cuff to pull the eyelet. You will have to be creative here as jackets vary. On this particular jacket, there were two layers of material that I could run the string between. Note that this jacket does not have stretchy cuffs; to compensate, the string is made a little shorter than the cuff and normally scrunches it up ever so slightly. When the wearer stretches his hand the cuff unscrunches and tenses the string, activating the light.

There are other ways to mount the lights too. My buddy Jesse has mounted his in the collar of his jacket:
They have hoodie-like pull strings to activate them.

That's all! Remember, Cuff light kits and preassembled modules are available from my buy page.

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Posted by karla 5 years ago ( 12-May-2010 00:30:54 )

This is so nice!

This comment was edited at 2010-05-12 00:31:56

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