Diffusing Leds the Fast Way

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Revision as of 22:37, 12 May 2013 by Danny (talk | contribs) (typo)
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For my Led Cube project I needed diffused (opaque) leds. And I didn't have any. On the instructables pages you can find instructions how to sand your leds by hand. There it is mentioned that it takes about 5 minutes per led. I don't have that kind of time (or patience) to spend 64x 5 minutes. So I went on a 'Home Improvement' mission to use some power tools to diffuse my leds more efficiently.

LedandPlug1.jpg First step: make a fitting for the led. I used a wood plug. Wood is good, plastic might tear apart or melt sooner. The wood needs to be kinda hard too; after about 50 leds the holes seemed to widen.
LedPlugHoles.jpg Second step: drill two holes in the plug using preferably a 0.8mm (or 0.7mm) drill. A PCB drill bit will likely be that size. It is important to get the led as centered as possible, so make a good estimate for the hole positioning.
LedInPlug.jpg Third step: saw through the plug, so the led pins can come out of the bottom and the led can sit to the top of the plug tightly. Now you can check if your led is centered nicely. If not, you can do it again with a new wood plug (or the other half).
PlugInDrill.jpg Fourth step: get the power drill and fit the plug in.
DiffusedLed.jpg Instead of sanding paper I used a sanding sponge, because that could adjust to the shape of the led very well. It takes about 10 seconds per led to diffuse it.
DiffusedCompared.jpg Here are the diffused result and the clear original compared:

Warning: you should be prepared to lose some leds in this process, depending on the speed of your drill :)