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Attention: has the time you read these lines, the project has been completed but has been tested in a pool at 2 m depth at the moment. I decided to create this page to keep track of actions performed on this topic until the actual immersion. The first dive of the year is scheduled for shortly and it will be the opportunity to test full-scale tightness at 20, 30, 40 m.
This page provides the realization of a lamp or a lighthouse with the same basic components. But let’s define what we mean by lamp and lighthouse.
A dive light is the equivalent of a flashlight. Usually little powerful, it provides a tight light beam (a narrow enough light through a deflector generally angle). This type of device is preferred to light details to photograph (fauna or flora hung).
As an LED flashlight, the dive light has a more important than a lamp lighting power and much more widely than a lamp lights up (the angle of light is more important). This type of device is usually used to film underwater and bring a more diffuse lighting (or to provide lighting to a photo of atmosphere to wide shot).
As we will use the same light source, we will use in this page the lighting angle criterion to differentiate between the lamp and the lighthouse. The lamp will be with the smallest lighting angle and the lighthouse with the largest. We will therefore have an improved lamp for lighting will be as powerful as what we will use for the lighthouse.
If we can find affordable diving lamps, their power under water is often limited and so disappointing. As for the cost of a lighthouse, it may be deterrent to purchase. After a search on the Internet on personal manufacturing of a lighthouse or a dive light, I went to read the Forum of the diver who has proved to be very informative about the experiences in the realization of a dive light. In particular, the Lighthouse PVC projectcaught my attention and seemed very successful. This project is actually a succession of experiences of several users who have all tried to improve a draft proposed by Yomasterfr.
What I present here is a recovery of the projects proposed by Yomasterfr, Looping33 and Socksou. I decided to do a page on the topic to synthesize what is distributed on a dozen pages on the forum and especially to give the plans, the full list of components and where I bought these. By the way, I’m thinking also one or two improvements of the project, while trying to make as little expensive. I hope to make it easier for others who would do in the personal construction of their lamp or their flagship.
Before embarking on the construction of the lamp or the lighthouse, there must be a vague idea of the construction plans before buying parts (even if it is not quite in that order that I did because I had the experience of the projects found on plongeur.com).
This project was for me also the opportunity to discover Solidworks (c) Dassault Systèmes 3D modeling software. To start off, I looked at a few tutorials on the subject: for the overall grip, for the early stages of modeling and modeling of some specific parts such as springs. This was fast enough and allowed me to model each of the pieces that made up the lamp/beacon.
The advantage of this model is to ensure that we do not design flaw and that all parts are fine to fit properly. It has also allowed me to model the specific piece that will be produced by using a 3D printer (we’ll see later) and correctly position the location of the switch on the inside, and finally of size to the exact length needed tube PVC. In short, many benefits can be drawn such modelling and a nice rendering before can take our object.
Here are a few views of the first models of the lamp.
Components for construction
I came off the components used for the realization of the flagship PVC.You find on this page the detailed list to procure parts, links on sites where the spare parts have been ordered and a summary of costs when purchasing (2014-2015).
The project consists of two main parts: the lighting system and the envelope sealed to ship it. Let’s not start the envelope which will be sealed and withstand the pressures encountered in diving (evening 5 bars to 40 meters or 7 bars to 60 m). For the time being that level 2, I can go down to 40 m, accompanied by a monitor. So a seal at a pressure of 5 bar is sufficient. To ensure a good resistance, I went on coins in PVC that resist to a pressure of 16 bars (more than double the pressure of 7 bars at 60 m). There is therefore a margin of safety.
To achieve the lamp and the lighthouse, I thought about two models for the sealed envelope. A model with a broad head that can accept the head of LEDs with its reflector (so a lamp that the light beam will be more concentrated) and a more compact model with LEDs head without the reflector (so to broader lighting, either a lighthouse). What is a little surprising compared to models of trade is that the lamp will be less compact than the lighthouse at the level of the head because it takes the place to house the reflector which has a diameter larger than the head of LEDs.
Here’s the plan of construction of the Assembly of the elements to make the lamp. It is always easier to realize what this will give with a small diagram (I did this first scheme before the above 3D modeling). Below, you will find the parts list corresponding to the construction of the lamp:
Lamp waterproof PVC pressure (16 bars) with 63mm wide head:
- Fitting Union 3 parts 63mm
- Built-in reduction 63 / 50mm
- Tube of diameter 50mm
- Mouth female to stick 50mm
- Rigid pressure PVC glue
Here’s the plan of construction of the Assembly of the elements to achieve the lighthouse. It is always easier to realize what this will give with a small diagram. Below you will find the parts list corresponding to the construction of the lighthouse.
Lighthouse waterproof PVC pressure (16 bars) with 50mm compact head:
- Fitting Union 3 parts 50mm
- Tube of diameter 50mm
- Mouth female to stick 50mm
- Rigid pressure PVC glue
Common to the lamp and the lighthouse electric part
- LED 1200 lumens- 6 Cree Q5 WB
- Battery and charger – 2 x 18650 3.7V 2600mAh
- Reed relay(switch to blade flexible + magnet of a door opening detection system)
Important is to have an envelope of object without creating a fragile, so without drilling the structure (e.g. push button) as the sealing is very difficult to achieve especially with the pressure setting. To resolve this problem, it is possible to use a flexible blade switch (ILS or Reed switch).Most of these switches are sold in the form of a glass bulb containing the flexible blade. But this type of switch may be too fragile for use of the lighthouse (risk of breaking the bulb when charging of accumulators). It is this same type of switch that is used in a system of detection of window with the advantage in this case that the ILS is in a plastic shell, so much less fragile. I opted for this solution. I already had the magnetic contact switch, so I have not bought, but I put an example of product if you want to order a.
For batteries, I took some UltraFire BRC 18650 3000mAh 3.7V Li-ion, but I could see later, that they are actually fake products (not expensive Chinese products what). Should not take this model if you really want to have given autonomy to 3000mAh. In fact, they only 800 to 900mAh.27(c)), considering the price (€3.63 without the port), should not be if expect much better but this has allowed me to test for a very small fee).Attention 18650 Li-ion batteries (and these in particular) can presenthazards in case of misuse or short circuit. So I quickly decided not to use these but buy brand batteries to avoid any problem of this type.
Here is for the electrical part of the project. It’s not rocket science. Let’s move on to the realization, now that we have a model to achieve and parts to build all.
Instructions for implementing
Here are the steps I followed to the realization of the dive light.
Lighthouse: disassembly of the lamp reflector
The head of LEDs is provided with a reflector to concentrate the beam of the lamp with a narrow enough angle (20 degrees). It is pretty easy to disassemble this reflector of the LED head to increase the angle of lighting. The reflector is screwed to the nerve of the head of LEDs inside. Take it apart, to first disconnect the nerve of the LED head. It is pressed to force.
Simply equip themselves with a small, flat screwdriver and a hammer. Place the screwdriver at the limit between the party brass and aluminium of the nerve to the LED head part. Give a small hammer on the screwdriver. This will result to dismiss the two parties. So simply to pry with screwdriver while turning the nerve to regularly increase the spacing between the part of brass and aluminium part. The nerve brass out of its housing.
Manufacture of glass in poly (methyl methacrylate)
The poly(méthacrylate de méthyle) or PMMA is more known under its first commercial name of Plexiglas or now Altuglas. This plexiglass can be of two types: extruded or cast. It is best to take the cast rather than extruded Plexiglas (the cutting result is cleaner, what is important in our case).
To determine the dimension of our glass Plexiglas cutting, I disassembled the Union 3 female parts. To measure the dimensions of the room without thread to determine the diameter. The diameter of our glass must be:
- For the Union, 63mm (lamp):5 mm diameter
- For the Union 50mm (lighthouse):85 mm diameter
The thickness of the glass is an important parameter because it is a flat surface on which the pressure of the water easily cause a deformation (more easily than on a cylinder). Given the diameter, I chose a thickness of 8 mm plexiglass. To have a clean cutting of the edges, I resorted to available in the FabLab of Sophia Antipolislaser cutting; SoFab has aTrotec Speedy 100. Simply to retrieve any of the above files to make the piece. Plexiglas is of the Altuglas I found for a very low price at Balitrand. They sell scraps of plexiglas for about 5 euros (regardless of the size of the fall). I was able to acquire a large plate for 5 euros for a complete dozen glasses… More than enough for my project.
Manufacturing the battery coupler
Electric installation is the more simplistic from a connectivity standpoint. By contrast, to make a system that either practice to manipulate to get the batteries out and allowing to fix these in the neck to avoid that it move in all directions is a little trickier. So I made the modelling of this room using Solidworks, which was a great help and helped me design a support for accumulators and incorporate the switch ILS (the inner part).
Once this modelling has been carried out, there are more to print the resulting 3D model. Back to SoFab (the Fab Lab of Sophia Antipolis) and this time we use the Creatr’ leapfrog to produce our piece. You will find the settings used when printing on the screenshot above. The software used is Cura. 2:27 later, we have our accumulators Coupler for our project. Well I have about the small error modeling that was an error in the size of the accommodation for the batteries. And Yes, 0.1 mm of margin to drag the batteries, it’s really just too, especially when we wanted to put 1 mm…
After an unsuccessful attempt to rework the piece, I came quickly to the conclusion that he had to fix the model and reprint it. In short, a second printing later, everything is better. For the second printing, print speed has been changed for version 2 more quickly (we go from 40 mm/s to 60 mm/s). With the modification of the model, we arrived at 1:53 print (so with a slightly lower cost of production of the piece, €5 less about). I used to make this impression of the PLA.
For those who are interested to reproduce exactly this project, here is the file (fixed) printingof the piece to the STL format and Advanced print settings.
Assembly of battery coupler
The first item to be assembled is the coupling of batteries. To achieve this, we need the following:
- The room we just print
- A spring at the bottom of the tube (recovered on a coupler of AA batteries)
- Two small pieces of shrinkwrap sheath
- A piece of electric wire 2,5 mm²
- A switch ILS
He must first take one of the wires of the switch ILS in the small hole at the end of the coupling of batteries and come are welding the spring. In my particular case, the spring already had a home and a small wire, but this one stood out perpendicularly from the spring. So I stuck a small piece of 2mm thick plastic spring and that was about the diameter of the battery compartment.
We then weld the spring (where the thread associated with the spring) over the ILS we previously spent by the hole in the end of the coupler.Once the welding of two sons made and the shrinkwrap covering set up, then just pull gently on the wire to get the spring (and his possible support) at the bottom of the battery compartment.
To achieve the contactor on the upper part of the coupler, use a wire brass 2, 5 mm². Remove the protective plastic sheath. Use the chute to bend the wire with good range. I slightly pounded the wire so that it is flat on the upper surface and thus facilitate contact with the spring of the LED (to avoid sliding). Then I realized a small hole of 1 mm in diameter with a drill press in the copper wire to the second switch wire ILS and fasten them by a weld. Finally, a small piece of shrinkwrap sheath just protect everything.
To finish the Assembly, I used a glue gun to glue the ILS in the housing provided for this purpose, as well as the brass ring in the upper part of the coupler. Thus, we come to the Assembly following the coupling of batteries.
PVC envelope Assembly
Before assembling the PVC envelope in which we snake batteries, batteries and LED head Coupler, we still need to solve one last problem: calculate the optimal length for the PVC tube. To calculate this length, there are of course at least this allows to insert battery Coupler. But through the use of Solidworks, it is also possible to calculate the centre of gravity of the object. This will allow to check the balance of the lamp at the grip.
Calculation of the center of gravity or inertia of the object
Reminder: the center of gravity is the point of application of the resultant of the forces of gravity. The centre of inertia or center of mass is the barycenter of the masses and the point in space where the effects of inertia apply i.e. the variation of momentum vector. In simpler terms, if you want to rotate an object, it is putting the axis of rotation to the center of inertia that it provides the least amount of effort. In which case can be considered as a uniform gravitational field, the center of inertia is confused with the center of gravity. In our case, we can talk without distinction of the center of gravity or centre of inertia, on our lamp is uniform gravitational field.
To achieve this step, I associated in Solidworks each piece of modelling the material with which it is performed. This allows the software to make a calculation of the mass of each piece. I checked it using an electronic (gram) balance and corrected estimates when necessary (for example for LEDs head which is hollow but that I have not modeled as such).
SolidWorks allows not only to estimate the mass, Center of gravity, but also the volume of an Assembly of parts. You can see in the picture above the properties for the overall package. The software can then represent the position of the centre of gravity on the modeling. This means add the center of mass (as found in geometry of Reference) then edit a component of the Assembly so that the object appears in wired, and place the cursor on the property Center of mass.
As might be expected, we see on the diagram above that the center of gravity is not in the middle of the visible part of the tube by which we will keep the lamp. So there is an imbalance potentially to correct. But the use of this lamp will not happen on Earth, but in the water. But the volume of the front part of the lamp is more important than the volume of the rear part. So the buoyancy will tend to more float the part until the rear part of the object. It is therefore now time to calculate volumes and deduct the thrust resulting. We can thus deduce not only the balance in hand (the position of the center of gravity), on land as in the water, but also if it is necessary to lester the lamp.
Calculation of buoyancy
The calculation of the volume by Solidworks works from the calculation of material on full volumes (it seems not possible to calculate the volume of the outer casing). To perform this calculation, so I had to change the modeling to fill all empty (in the tube and head of LEDs).
Using the properties of the modified model, one can calculate a volume for the lamp is about 700 cm3 so 0.7 dm3 (699.636 mm3 to be precise).The density of salt water is approximately 1030 kg/m3 so 1, 03 kg/dm3(or liter). It is possible to calculate more precisely the density of sea water, based on the properties of salinity, temperature and pressure. For the Mediterranean Sea with a salinity of 37 g/L, an average temperature of 18 ° C (24 on the surface) and 13 at the bottom, and an absolute pressure of 5 bar to 40 m, there is a density of 1027, 75 kg/m3.
The weight of the water displaced by the lamp is so: 0, 7 * 1, 028 = 0,7196kg so about 720g of salt water (where about 700g of fresh water, the density of water is 1 kg/l). With an estimated weight of 750g, the lamp must have a weight apparent zero buoyancy so nowhere is the balance. No need of the ballast except to rebalance the weight between the front and rear and therefore move the center of gravity. However, there are buoyancy according to different parts of the lamp. Indeed, the head being larger, it will suffer a stronger than rear thrust, but it is also heavier. So, let’s calculate the volume of the head and the rear, the tube in him even being a constant volume over its entire length.
The volume of the lamp head is 354cm3 so that the back is only 126 cm3 which makes a report about 1/3. So the buoyancy should be 3 times as strong on the front of the lamp on the rear. Should the center of gravity be at 1/3 the distance of the apparent tube (which receives it a uniform thrust) by which we can hold the lamp. Can doc seen in the previous diagram that it is a little too far forward of the object. If you want slightly back, it is necessary to add a weight to the rear, so to the rear cap of the tube. To calibrate the necessary weight, once more Solidworks has been very useful, even if I have to do a test. I have so lengthened the tube to slide him leste and provided a weighted with 42mm in diameter. The density of reference I used is 7300 kg/m3corresponding to a piece of cast or the density of lead shot. With these properties, it takes a piece from a height of 15mm to move the center of gravity to the 1/3, makes a room of about 150g giving a slightly negative buoyancy at all.
It is therefore necessary to extend the tube of 15mm, minimum length to hold the stack being 175mm Coupler. So by cutting the tube to a length of 190mmm and adding him leste provided for above, we should have a lighthouse properly balanced in hand under the water and with a slightly negative buoyancy.
Creation of the weighted
Now that the tube is cut to the right length, it remains to achieve leste it weighs about 150 g. This ballast must take place in the bottom of the tube of the lamp (to the plug that will be glued). So give him a diameter not exceeding 41mm.
To make this piece, I used an old lead tube. After cut off a piece to a length of a little over 40mm, please cut it in half in the sense of the length. Using a hammer and an anvil, you can get a piece of lead that can be fold (in 2 or 3 layers according to the thickness of your original tube). This allows to obtain a piece of rectangular lead with a thickness of 12mm. Just to draw a circle on this piece of the appropriate diameter (40 or 41mm) then cut off the excess with a hacksaw. The finish will be carried out using a metal file to have a satisfactory room. The lead is flexible, it is fairly easy to work. I wanted to avoid melting the piece of lead to avoid toxic fumes.
Ring with magnet switch
Have yet to finalize a ring on which the switch magnet will be fixed. To carry out this part, I resorted to a 50mm sleeve coming to adapt on the tube of the lamp body. So I used the following component:
- Sleeve 50mm
I cut the sleeve to a length of 32mm (i.e. in the middle of the sleeve) with a hacksaw. I then trimmed the Spurs into the sleeve using a Dremel.It remains to make a stand to drag the magnet and fix everything in the sleeve that can slide or turn around the tube. I again resorted to the 3D printer after a quick modelling of the piece (with 3D modeling experience, this was a lot faster). The materials used for this printing is the ABS, the PLA did not really like the water from my recent reading.
For those who are interested to reproduce exactly this project, here is theprint file of the piece to the STL format and Advanced print settings.
To achieve the bonding between the ABS and PVC, I have seen that it is better to avoid using PVC glue which seems to contain too much solvent.This attack the ABS part. After a thorough research on the subject, I found that it is best to use a glue all rigid plastics. With this type of glue, I have not seen a problem of deformation of the ABS and pasting seems quality, with a very good resistance to tearing.
- Glue special rigid plastic materials SADER
For perfectionists, you can smooth the room using the technique of steam of acetone to have made a much smoother and avoid aliasing of 3D printing effect.
There are now more than to cut the tube to the length of 190mm and then assemble and paste the different pieces together. To make the cut of the tube, I used a jig saw with a long blade to cut itself a diameter of 50mm.
Bonding is an important step. Indeed, it is the quality of the collage that will ensure the tightness of our object. So I used the following components:
- With a size of fine grain sandpaper
- PVC cleaner
- Glue gel PVCfor PVC pressure
To make the collage, begin by sanding with sandpaper the parts to assemble. Then clean with cleaner and a clean cloth the fitting and tube to assemble. Finally apply a thin layer of glue on the 2 parts to assemble in the longitudinal direction and then snap immediately without turning.Wipe the smudges with a cloth dry and do not handle Assembly for 5 minutes. Once all completed collages, wait 24 hours before you can embark on full-scale tests.
Here are a few pictures to show the final Assembly of the realized object.
|PVC pressure envelope|
|Union three parts 63 mm PVC pressure||€ 7.15|
|Tube diameter 50 mm PVC pressure 1.15 meter >||€13.20|
|Built-in reduction 63/50 mm PVC pressure >||€1,40|
|Female plug to stick 50 mm PVC pressure||€ 2,19|
|50 mm PVC sleeve||€1.80|
|Total envelope PVC||€32,12|
|LED 1200 lumens – 6 Cree Q5 WB||€20,20 (shipping included)|
|Battery and charger – 2 x 18650 3.7V “3000” mAh||€8.13 (shipping included)|
|Reed switch (ILS)||€4|
|Laser cutting||€ 0.41 (1 minute of cutting €25 / hour)|
|3D printing of battery coupler||€19.15 (1 h 55 to €10 / hour)|
|3D printing of the magnet Support||€ 2.35 (0:14 to €10 / hour)|
|Total manufacturing||€ 21,91|
Note that the 1 PVC tube, 15 m allows to produce several parts. So, in the case of the second equipment built on the same basis, the cost for the lighthouse will be € 13,10 less (no cost of tube, but the Union is €0.10 more expensive) or about €70 if you buy batteries or €68 If you use the same for both (and so that you go not on diving with both at the same time). In short, it makes you an average of €75 project. If we compare this price to lighthouses of the trade, to be an equivalent light output of about 1,000 lumens, it takes on a more expensive cost of about €300 or 4 times.
Leak under pressure and use in diving tests
Simple leak tests
The first test I have realize after making your collage and waiting for the recommended time (generally 24 hours) was done in pool. I must admit that with the time spent on the project, I had a lot of anguish to the idea that everything is time spent in the realization of a diving light is thrown into the water. Of course for the first immersion, and to avoid all fried, I did put elements inside the envelope in PVC (batteries, battery holder and of course head of LEDs). I put flow can lead to the lamp (I added a bit to have negative buoyancy because it lacked the elements). And I have added absorbent paper to be able to detect the slightest incursion of liquid.
After crossing the fingers (even if the risks are minor as low pressure), immersion is time… The test proved to be conclusive: no path so low as is regrettable! We can move to the real test.
Water pressure test
But the hardest remains to be done: tests of resistance to pressure in diving… It remains to wait for the next dive and fingers crossed because I did not yet realize this ultimate key operation. I think already down the body of the lamp (slightly weighted) during a first dive and make sure everything is tight. Then a descent with the electrical part. But will it really work? Otherwise, it will make me a great flashlight for the garage… ;(
Use in diving
The hour long-awaited diving test arrived. We are on 08/05/2015 and time of the start of the season! It is time to get down to the water and take the lighthouse a good 30 metres away to see if the envelope resists or not (which I doubt not too), but especially if there are no leaks.Diving will take place in the Bay of Cannes. The descent is done up to 37 m, under water, at first glance, no worries… I had replaced all the electrics by paper towel to avoid all Grill in case of trouble. And the paper shows no trace of moisture. Back at home, after opening the tube, all paper is perfectly clean and dry. The bottom of the tube with the CAP took no water either. So mission accomplished! It works. Next diving, we can check the power of the lighting.
The curve of the baptism of the lighthouse diving is attached.
I’ll buy another model of batteries that the Chinese I paid 3 euros. As these are Lithium-Ion batteries, I would not that explodes under water.So take a good model that does not explode when there is a short circuit!
I want to thank a few people here who have helped advance this project concretely:
- My son Gaétan with which we discovered Solidworks and helped me to model some of the lamp parts
- bean-father, Daniel, for the manufacture of the weighted lead and for the initial test in their pool
- the different contributors to the forum of plongeur.com and especially Yomasterfr, Looping33 and Socksou for their achievements that gave me the taste of doing me it too
- my parents for the loan of their balance of pastry to precisely check the weight of the different parts
- Jean-Yves, Gaëtan, Denis, Claudine and Paul colleagues with whom I could discuss this during coffee breaks
- the Fab Manager of SoFab, Marc, for training on the different machines and good ideas for changes in the current project
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