Biowizard's blinking LED campfires

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biowizard
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Re: Biowizard's blinking LED campfires

Post by biowizard » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:45 pm

Now comes the boring and tedious part of the fabrication process (at least for me), painting the rocks and logs. It's a lengthy step as you need multiple coats to prevent as much light as possible to go through the parts it should not. I found that using Vallejo's paintable acrylic-polyurethane black surface primer provided the most coverage and adherence for the time invested. I then paint the rocks with a medium gray and the logs brown. I also use a reddish tint to paint the tips of the flames to make them even more beautiful using a product called Freak flex transparent water based acrylic maroon tint. For painting flames, one has to remember that it's the opposite of traditional mini painting, the light yellow parts are in the crevasses and the dark parts are at the tips (opposite to traditional dry brushing).

painted miniature campfire 2.jpg
painted miniature campfire 2.jpg (72.3 KiB) Viewed 332 times


A close-up:

painted miniature campfire.jpg
painted miniature campfire.jpg (82.29 KiB) Viewed 332 times

A beauty shot:
Again, I struggle at making beautiful low-light photography... :(


miniature LED campfire beauty shot.jpg
miniature LED campfire beauty shot.jpg (78.42 KiB) Viewed 332 times

This one is much better:


miniature blinking LED campfire beauty shot close_up.jpg
miniature blinking LED campfire beauty shot close_up.jpg (59.1 KiB) Viewed 321 times

As usual, I will soon have some for sale to finance my DF addiction and just like DF, I will now take pre-orders (thi1234errybert5678omeu@gmail.com, remove numbers). One day, they will also show up on eBay with a higher price tag. For now, I think I will let them go for $22 US painted and $14 unpainted.

Best,
Bio

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biowizard
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Posts: 1522
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Biowizard's blinking LED campfires

Post by biowizard » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:58 pm

To make realistic flames on top of this flickering yellow light source, I decided to test my abilities at sculpting and I think the end product looks quite good. To help me "sculpting", I decided to use real pebbles to make the rocks surrounding the campfire as well as real twigs to make the burning logs. First, I glued small rocks around an assembled LED unit. In the image below, they are black because I used some rocks I had gathered directly from the street in front of my house following a harsh winter, washed them and then primed them black for later use in the hobby. Then, I filled the cracks with original Sculpey clay and created a little mount in the middle in which I put 4 twigs. After baking for 40 minutes, I put pieces of medium-strength plastiline in between logs which I shaped into smooth undulating flames using rounded sculpting tools. As plastiline does not harden, I took great care not to damage the final product but covered the flame parts with two thick coats of glossy varnish to make them super smooth so that the surface of the later epoxy casts would be very shiny (as desired for a campfire).


miniature campfire sculpt.jpg
miniature campfire sculpt.jpg (96.24 KiB) Viewed 314 times

To be able to insert the LED unit inside the campfire epoxy cast, I sculpted myself a small rounded shape of a miniaturized LED unit using green stuff coated with glossy varnish and made a "negative" mold for it to be able to cast a "positive" mold for it. I used Smooth-On Mold Star 15 silicon to make the mold as I was planning to cast many campfires and I used Ease Release 200 as a release agent to be able to cast silicon into silicon without ending up with a singly fused silicon blob.

electrical components mold.jpg
electrical components mold.jpg (55.47 KiB) Viewed 314 times

I also made a silicon mold from my campfire sculpt also using Mold Star 15. To use this type of silicon, I highly suggest a degassing chamber as I did.


campfire mold.jpg
campfire mold.jpg (59.81 KiB) Viewed 314 times

The resin I use to cast the campfires is the same I now use to make my gelatinous cubes(viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8308&hilit=gelatinous): Epoxacast 690. It is super clear and strong. A balance is required to mix together the two separate components by weight and I again recommend a degassing chamber. I tint the resin yellow using a chemical/dye I "stole" from my laboratory known as tropaeolin 0 which gives a nice rich golden/yellow tint to the casts.

miniature campfire epoxy casts.jpg
miniature campfire epoxy casts.jpg (65.66 KiB) Viewed 314 times

I then can put a LED unit within the cast and secure it in position using Sculpey clay. After 20 min baking, the LED unit is stuck within the epoxy cast forever and the electrical connections are protected from clumsy players.


embedded LED.jpg
embedded LED.jpg (68.84 KiB) Viewed 314 times
Last edited by biowizard on Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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biowizard
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:24 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Biowizard's blinking LED campfires

Post by biowizard » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:53 am

Hey everyone,

A while back, I got inspired by a YouTube video that Oldent posted a link for on the forum:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qrwuQR_VHo

It's a video by DM Scotty that shows how you can make by yourself a miniature campfire with blinking LEDs from scavenging parts of a LED candle. I thought improving the design and making an even better looking piece would be a cool project and so I spent a few months working on it.

The hardest part for me was miniaturizing the electric components. Using the standard CR2032 batteries, as I used for my will-o-wisps project (viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7989&hilit=will+o+wisps), was making the campfire to be too big as compared to 28mm figures. So I decided to use CR1220 batteries instead which still provide some power to a 3mm LED after 48 hours of continuous use.

Material for the electrical components:
CR1220 batteries
CR1220 button battery socket holders (Harwin S8411-45R)
Slide Switches (C&K JS202011SCQN)

First, I cut 4 out of the 6 pins from a slide switch, clip slightly the end of the switch to make it shorter and glue it to the side of the battery socket upside down using Loctite 401 cyanoacrylate glue:
electrical components.jpg
electrical components.jpg (84.21 KiB) Viewed 305 times


Then, I solder a 3mm yellow flickering LED to the electrical connections previously bent inward. I then clip the protruding metal wires and use the clippings to make the final connection between the switch and the battery socket.
smallest blinking yellow LED unit.jpg
smallest blinking yellow LED unit.jpg (95.86 KiB) Viewed 305 times


As compared to a Canadian Dollar 10 cents/dime (same size as US currency but unfortunately smaller value...), I don't think I could make it any smaller.
Last edited by biowizard on Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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