Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rebel LED Headlamp

Avid followers of this blog (hi Mom!) may remember my earlier post about the project that I did to replace the guts of an old Petzl Zoom incandescent headlamp with a rechargeable battery and a high output quad LED array. It worked pretty well, the headlamp is now a real barn burner which I use regularly for running at night and outdoor adventures. While naturally the new electronics are pretty buttoned up (aside from slowly melting the bulb housing where the LED now sits; thermal modeling is not one of my strengths), the old Petzl case which I retrofitted has some shortcomings. Namely, it is big and clunky, having been designed for a much larger battery and incandescent bulb. The new electronic assembly makes it lighter, but I really need a redesigned case as well.

As it would turn out, my brother Trev is a mechanical engineer who likes building stuff, and he also has an interest in nighttime outdoor activities. He had been working on a headlamp project also where he was designing and building the housings but then using stock electronics, the inverse of my approach. So, we naturally decided to combine forces and build the ultimate headlamp. I have created a board which is an updated version of the one I did for the Petzl headlamp, it is in fabrication and should be back in a week or two. In the meantime, to allow Trev to start designing the battery housing I found some really cool software for exporting 3D models of PCB layouts from Eagle. Here are the results:

It exports into Google Sketchup, but from there you can export it as a .STL file which can be opened by Solidworks and other CAD packages. Pretty awesome! Trev has also been busy on his end, machining the LED housing and whipping out some CAD for helmet, head, and handlebar mounting options. He had them rapid prototyped by Shapeways, check out the results on his blog. We're pretty excited to see it coming together, I'll post some updates as we continue to build them up.

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