If you are anything at all like me, you are getting older by the minute. This means your eyes are getting less sensitive to light and less adaptable to objects near or far. This aging thing has put to the test every theory I have ever had on lighting design in application – particularly my preference for low ambient levels (low energy consumption and drama), with task or accent lighting located at points requiring greater illumination to see detail, read, or execute tasks with high degrees of accuracy. This is the foundation of my personal affinity for portable lighting, as it allows me to adjust and orient lighting in my spaces to suit current needs, without having to hammer holes in drywall. I like spaces with a lot of small sources, some for visual interest, some for ambient illumination, and others for task lighting. Which leads to the weeks project.

Since jumping into this 52 in 52 project, with all of its soldering and detailing, I’ve needed a task light that is able to produce very high light levels (500+ Fc), that does not push heat at me, that can be located to produce very intense light in a very small spot, or a wide pattern over the work area for general detail work. With this in mind, the weeks design emerged. First, it uses (6) Seoul Semiconductor P4s I have a spool of these, so they will be appearing here and there.) In front of each I decided to use some optics I purchased from a vendor on Candlepower Forums, which generate a 35 degree beam pattern with a nice center focus and excellent cutoff at 30 degrees from vertical (60 degree field angle). I grabbed a trusty LuxDrive 1A driver with a pot dimmer, and it was off RhinoCAD to design the parts.

To orient the head anywhere I want, I adapted a knuckle design from a photography umbrella stand. In this case, it allows me to locate the horizontal arm anywhere I want on the vertical axis. It also allows the horizontal arm to swivel at any angle, as well as tilt at any angle. Finally, the horizontal arm can be located horizontally anywhere along its length. In other words, with a single knuckle and two wing knobs, I can put the light head anywhere I want within the X-Y-Z axis, as well as tilt the head to produce a tight focus (aimed level), to a wider pattern (tilted at an angle). With all of this, I can get as much as 1000Fc on a small area, like when soldering little wires on little pads.

The structural components of the light are stainless steel and aluminum, with a brass counter weight. I left all of the metals raw because I like metal and the way it patinas with time and abuse. The head body is made from ABS plastic, grown on my Dimension 3D printer, allowing me to create a complex housing I could not create using my manual machining equipment. The head houses the driver, conceals the wiring, locates the optics, locates the LEDs (mounted on star boards), and provides a foundation for the aluminum cube heat sinks. We just purchased the printer, which generates rigid ABS plastic parts that are usable as real components. In fact, it was installed on Friday of last week, so this task light had to be designed, printed, machined and assembled in a couple of days. Next week will be a more involved all-ABS design to show what this thing can do. The base plate and some of the first parts for week 13 are in the photo for this product in fact.

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