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DIY DeWalt Flashlight LED Upgrade

My trusty 18V DeWalt DW919 gooseneck flash light is quite dated by today’s standards. It still has the OEM bulb.

I went to use it the other day and WOW…was it dim. The battery was fully charged, so I know it wasn’t that.

So off to the internet to find a way to make it LED, and bright! After searching for a while I couldn’t find anything good and low cost. So I dropped the idea.

While laying in bed one night, not being able to sleep, it came to me!!


The next day I dug through the shop and found a single LED pod. Took it apart and the flashlight…then BOOM!!! Hella bright LED Dewalt flashlight!

The LED board is aluminum, so I mounted it to a 1/4″ thick chunk of scrap I had. I drilled and tapped the aluminum to match the mounting holes in the LED board. This should be good enough for cooling. The LED pod works off voltage from 12v-24v. So the 18V DeWalt is perfect. Had to trim the corners of the reflector to fit inside the flashlight housing. The soldered the leads to the bulb contacts.

The whole thing took about 20 mins to put together.

I am going to cut some acrylic and use some LED collimators. to make a new lens, and make it even better!


DIY Drain Clog Cleaning Stick

You have most likely seen these on TV or at a hardware store. It’s a stick with barbs to clean your sink drain.

They cost about $3+. And the instructions tell you to throw it away when you are done. I hate throwing money away! :(

I have cleaned them in the past, but it is a real pain.

I went to the hardware store to grab one, needed it that day. Took one off the rack and had an brilliant idea! Use a long zip tie as the stick, and save a TON of money!! $$$ WINNING $$$!! It take about 2 mins to make barbs down the sides of the wire tie. I used a smaller wire tie as a loop handle at the top.


The cost of 24″ long zip ties are $6.50 for 15pcs. That works out to be $.43 EACH. Now for $.43 I will throw it away! :)

Plus you have the added bonus of having the zip ties for other uses/projects!

One way I would make the next one is to heat the razor a little to bend the barb out a more.

Be Careful not to slip and cut yourself!!!



UPDATE: 3D Printed Yoda Bust

Here is the finished product. I had a good friend of mine painted it.

If I had to do it again, I would sweat the bust with a acetone vapor. Just to make it a little smoother.


Troubleshoot LEDs With Multimeter

We put up some Christmas lights on our house. These were some cheap LED icicle lights. That night I noticed some of them were not working. So I grabbed a few of the LEDs and notices that one was bad. As I jiggled it, others came on. I pulled out that LED, and it had a broken leg. I thought I would just solder a new leg on. But upon closer inspection of the bulb, it had NO cathode or anode marking. The only way to tell would have been that one leg would be longer then the other… but one was broken off. DOH! So, I was not sure what direction to put it back into the holder. I can up with a way to test almost any LED with a multimeter!

My Fluke multimeter has a “Continuity Test”. It makes a BEEP when the 2 probes are a dead short. Is this mode the probes have a small amount of voltage on them. So if you take the black probe and touch it to one leg of the LED and the red probe to the other leg, the LED will light up. If it does not, swap the probes. If the LED lights up, then you can see what leg is cathode or anode by the red (anode) or black (cathode). Since the voltage is very low on the probes, there is almost no likelihood of destroying the led with reversed probes.

This works great for small SMD LEDs too. I had a mixed up pile of re, blue, and white 1206 SMD LEDs. Using this method, I was able to sort them very quickly. Also works for testing LEDs in circuit.


3D Printed Yoda Bust

It seems in the 3D printing community that a good print on the Yoda bust is the “gold standard”. It has a good amount of detail and lots of over hangs. I have been putting off printing one for years, just never had the time. Always something more important to print.

Recently I wanted to give a Yoda bust to a friend of mine, as a gift. So it looks like it was time to test the limits of my printer!

This was printing on my homemade Kossel Legacy Delta printer with ABS. Using Cura 15 and a layer height of 0.05mm.

I have got to say it turned out fantastic!


I have a good friend of mine doing a custom paint job on it. I will post photos when it’s done.





OpenFeeder Now Live on GitHub!

My open source Pick and Place feeder is not live on GitHub! You can download the source files there.

Here is a quick overview:

Discussion about the feeder can be found at OpenPNP Google Group






K40-SmoothieLaser Breakout Board

I have a cheap Ebay China 40W CO2 laser. Commonly known as the K40. The software it comes with is, “OK”. But I want to do more with it. I read online that there are some RAMPS 1.4 upgrades with Marlin firmware. But I HATE compiling and flashing the Mega 2560. It is a real PIA! Then I came upon SmoothieBoard. Its a 32Bit control board for lasers, 3D printers and CNC. And it you need to make a change to the settings, you just enter edit a config file on an SD card and reboot…. NO RECOMPILE AND RE-FLASHING!!

I need to connect the SmoothieBoard to my laser, replacing the OEM  control board. But the laser has a 12pin flat ribbon cable (FFC). So I made a breakout board! The board accepts the machine FFC and make its usable pins for the SmoothieBoard.

I went with the MKS Sbase Smoothie compatible board. It was a lot less money then the original Smoothieboard.



There is another board out there called the Middle Man Board. It does the same thing. I removed some of the outputs that were not needed, and made it much simpler.



Here are the Eagle Cad files for the board.


  • 1 PCB
  • 1 FFC 12pin Female (PN A100331-ND
  • 1 4pin Terminal Bock (PN 277-1806-ND
  • 2 2Pin jumper header

Might want to pick up some JST connectors if you are going to use a knockoff Smoothieboard.


I will be selling board in my store if anyone needs one.


OpenFeeder – Open source SMD part feeder for OpenPNP

I owned some great Pick and Place equipment about 15+ years ago. My contract ran out for SMD manufacturing, so I sold all my machine. Now I have need for SMD PNP again. So I looked toward some opensource alternatives to the commercial machines. I can across The software so far seems great. But it is still in the BETA stages.

I gathered up a part list of thing I will need. Like motors, drivers, wire, t-slot…etc. I did some more research and started coming up with a design for my machine. But it seemed like there was not a great SMD tape feeder. Thus the OpenFeeder was born!

I wanted a feeder that could do lots of things, expandable and adaptable.

Here are some features:
-Simply made form .250″ acrylic sheet on a laser cutter (3d printable too).
-Easily accessed and cheap components for the drive system.
-Easily changed over to different size tapes, 8mm 10mm 12mm etc.
-Adjustable tape height, from paper resistor tape to tape with electrolytic caps.
-Designed to work with 20mm T-slot.
-“Almost” infinite feeding distance. Able to feed tape form .05mm at a time to 5mm at a time.
-Very smooth feeding, even at a very high speed.
-Most likely over engineered! :)

It is still in the testing stages, I will be releasing the files soon.

IMG_20151025_141420 IMG_20151025_141410


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


DIY Tee Shirt Heat Press From A Griddle.

I needed a Tee Shirt Heat Press in a hurry! Didn’t have time to order one, and wait to get it shipped in. So, I made my own. (As you could have guessed)

This project was 100% FREE!! It was made from junk and scrap I had laying around the shop. It cost me NOTHING! And that’s the best price. LOL


I had an only griddle that i was using as a hot plate for SMD soldering. I used my chop saw and removed the rolled edge, that catches the grease. So I ended up with a smooth flat area in the center of the griddle. Then I used some scrap aluminum, and the original foot holes, to mount the holder arms too.


The base was made from some scrap T-Slot aluminum, left over form the grommet machine project. I added a piece of Birch ply wood that i cut to size of the griddle.


Here is the rising neck of the base.


Took some 1″ bar stock aluminum and made a pressing handle. Then attached the handle to the griddle part with the arms. The handle pivots on the base neck.




The finished product! It works great. But the heated area is a little smaller then a commercially available machine.



DIY Grommet Machine

I needed a new grommet machine for a second grommet size I use. I was able to find some in my price range, but the machine’s throat was not deep enough. All I could find was about 8-10″ deep. That wouldn’t work.


I got some T-Slot aluminum extrusions on ebay and made my own!


The machine is air powered. I got a 4″ bore cylinder on ebay for cheap! I made a mounting plate out of some scrap 1/4″ thick angle iron I had.


The depth of the throat of this machine is about 28″! The material slips down between the 2 sections of aluminum.


I got a cheap machine table from harbor freight, and mounted the grommet machine to it. It works, but my compressor does not have the air capacity to power it to its fullest. That’s the next buy.