Cool Desk Lighting: A Homemade Cagelight

Cagelight in red flashing mode.
Cagelight on, in red flashing mode.

While panning absentmindedly through one of my dad’s farm/tools/random-outdoorsy catalogs, I saw something that really caught my eye: a cagelight that apparently was intended for use in a barn, but looked like it belonged in a mad scientist’s lab. It looked something like this: cagelight example

I immediately decided I needed to make my own version of the cagelight for use as an epic decoration for my mad-sciencey desk. I used some thick wire, LEDs and other electronics, 3D printed parts, and lots of hot glue. It turned out to look like this:

100_5011

This project consisted of two main parts: making a custom PCB to control the light, and designing an authentic cagelight enclosure. I ended up designing and 3D printing a custom case and using heavy gauge wire to make the cage.  Below is what it looks like lit up. It’s quite bright. Basically, a battery powers some white LEDs and some flashing red LEDs which can be switched on and off.

cageligt white light on
The cagelight on, in white-light mode.

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Revolutionizing the Tactile Pushbutton

I have always found it rather annoying that when using 10mm tactile pushbuttons with a breadboard, you have to place them across the ravine. They take up a large amount of space if you’re trying to build a large circuit, especially if you use the Adafruit Pi cobbler breakout with Raspberry Pi electronics.

How could I make a condensed pushbutton to fit many on one full-sized breadboard? I tried bending the legs of regular 10mm and 6mm pushbuttons, but it didn’t work because the legs were too short. So I would have to make my own with longer legs. Here are my proposed ideas for new and improved pushbuttons for more space-effective breadboarding. The normally connected legs are indicated with the green lines.

revolutionized pushbutton plan

Pushbutton review: a normally open (NO) tactile pushbutton has four legs on it. The two legs on one side are connected, as with the other side, but both sides are not connected. When you press the button, however, all four legs are connected together. Basically, when you press it, it closes the circuit and makes it work. Normally closed (NC) tactile pushbuttons work the opposite. When you press them, the two sides become disconnected.