Light Ring Allows Precise Dremeling

Whether you are working at home, in the office or in the shop, proper lighting is pretty important. Not having proper lighting is a contributor to fatigue and visual discomforts. Prolonged straining of the eyes can result in headaches, eye twitching, blurred vision and even neck pain. [pinomelean] likes to make chemically etched PCB boards and he was having a hard time seeing while drilling those boards for the through-hole components. So, he did what any good hacker would do and came up with a solution: a light ring for his Dremel.

Yes, [pinomelean] does prefer to drill his PCB holes by hand with a Dremel. Since he was already a competent PCB board maker, he decided that it would be an appropriate method to make a light ring. The light ring itself is round with a center hole just over 0.750″ in diameter. This hole slides over the 3/4-12 threaded end that most Dremels have for attaching accessories. The stock Dremel decorative  ‘nut’ secures the light ring PCB to the tool. There are pads for 9 surface mount LEDs and through holes for a current-limiting resistor and pins to connect a power supply, which in this case is an old phone charger. In the end the project worked out great and [pinomelean] can clearly see where those holes are being drilled!

If you’re interested in making one of these light rings, [pinomelean] graciously made his board layout available in his Instructable. If you think one would go well with a soldering iron, check this out.

12 thoughts on “Light Ring Allows Precise Dremeling

  1. Somewhere in my junk box is an LED add-on that came with my Dremel I bought ~10 years ago. A quick Google shows it as the “Dremel 677 Dremelite Rotary Tool Work Light”.

    The Dremelite is novel in that it uses the Dremel’s rotary motion to power the LEDs. A ring magnet screws into the shaft behind the chuck, then the light screws in place of the plastic hand guard, surrounding the magnet.

    In comparison to this hack, it’s no contest. The Dremelite is unusably dim when running at lower RPMs since, based on the flickering, it probably has nothing but maybe a small cap in addition to the coil and LEDs. Even at high speeds, the 2 early-’00s white LEDs give extremely uneven lighting that makes struggling with low ambient light preferable. And sort of like welding with a non-automatic helmet, you’re effectively blind until the tool is operating.

  2. This plus some tape/velcro can travel among a lot of tools (I’m thinking saber saws/soldering irons/drill presses etc) if it’s done right. Yes, I know that a lot of newer tools have stuff like this installed, but for me it’s time to whistle up a few from China.

    1. In looking around Ebay, you can get these for a few dollars per pair (12V) by searching “SMD LED Ring Car Light”. They’re open rings of various diameters, so you’d have to make an attachment plate, but quick and simple. I’m in.

  3. I was going to make a comment about putting LEDs in parallel and it not always being a good idea, then thought “nah the author obviously knows what they are doing”

    Then I read: “I used the 1w resistor because it was the only under 400ohm i had on hand.
    And because i saw the LEDs were bright enough with it i didn’t get a new 1/4w resistor because in my city shop they’re about 0,60$ each one, so i try to use what i get from trash.
    It was also because i didn’t know how to calcule resistor for LEDs.”

    If you overdrive the LEDs and one of them fails, guess what? they will likely all burn out faster and faster in this configuration. Sharing a single resistor for this many LEDs in parallel is not recommended but it does make it more simplified.

  4. These light are simple, but powering them is the issue, you got an annoying extra wire with an extra thing you need to plug in.. so yeah if you could power them from the dremel itself somehow you’d have something.

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