Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making something out of nothing...........

I got a few hours this weekend to experiment on something I have been wanting to do.  I wanted to convert the old, non-working, crusty clearance lights to something more modern and maintenance free. 

 I wanted LED teardrops.  Apparently, they don't make them.  I guess building hot rods all my life has made me look outside of the box, so that's what I did.
I started with a new light that  picked up online.
If you remove the lens, this is what you have. I took a 1/4" drill bit and drilled the brad off.  Doesn't require drilling all the way through.
Once I drilled the brad off, if leaves a blank canvas.
I picked up several of these 7 dollar gems at a local trailer supply.
Just pop off the chrome bezel, to get down to the bare nubbins.

I measured to find the center.  This measurement will be transferred to the base plate to allow for clearance.
I located the center from each end. There should be about 3/8" between the two.
I use the stepped drill bit to drill the aluminum bases, since they are "O" material, which means it is dead soft aluminum.
That's better.
Now, in order to get the lens over to fit, you will have to grind a little off of the LED base.  I used the old trusty shop grinder.
Now, before I get all of the hate mail from the shop teachers telling me that I shouldn't grind the plastic on the grinder wheel because, you had a one eyed Uncle that lost his eye in a terrible grinder explosion ..........please be aware of this...........

We run with scissors, too.  I also drink from the milk carton and cut off those pesky mattress tags, too.  Pretty much a full blown rebel.
After grinding, with both eyes intact, I trial fitted the LED to the new base.  Then I drilled the mount holes to mount the LED to the base.
I needed to dimple the countersunk screw, so it wouldn't interfere with the fit.  I used a 5/16 socket, the screw and a vise.
Tighten it up a tad and you have a countersunk hole.  The aluminum is so soft, it's a snap.
I mounted the LED and then I ran a bead of clear silicone around the outside edge. I also dabbed a small spot where the mount screw used to be.

  As cheesy as this sounds, this is what is going to hold the lens cover on.  The LED is a sealed unit and there are no bulbs to change , so you shouldn't need to get in anytime soon.  Plus, the replacement lens covers are only .89 cents, so live life on the edge.
I hooked it up to my 12V battery charger to see how it looked all lit up. These are drying, so installation will have to come at a later date.