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Freedom Torch!

28d2775e-142b-4a62-a72a-b8a2b8b3e985.jpg “Freedom Torch” is a cheap device, reproducible and easy to assemble from standard parts, enabling to project messages with light. It is basically a powerful customized flashlight.

Here are step by step instructions on how to build one yourself.

You are free to reproduce these instructions, to improve them, and are very much encouraged to build a Freedom Torch yourself, and post the results here or elsewhere!

Freedom Torch can be built out of common household materials, and one powerful flashlight.

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To build a Freedom Torch, you will need:

  • A strong flashlight. It must contain only one powerful LED.
  • A front lens. Any lens could potentially do the job: a magnifying glass, an objective from a camera, or in our example a frontal lens from a discarded diapositive projector (these can be sometimes be found on the street!).
  • Some piece of tube that will fit snugly on top of the flashlight, and in which to fit the lens. This is the trickiest part. Experiment with what you have around (models displayed is a section of a plastic bottle), or find anything that fits in a material store.
  • Some material to attach all this together: duct tape, elastic bands, foam or cardboard for padding, etc.. use your imagination
  • Messages printed on transparent paper/foil.
  • Some cutting tools: cissors, box-cutter, etc.

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Look for instance for models equipped with LED type XHP90, XHP 70.2 or XHP70 (useful keywords on online shops). Model displayed here costs about 20Euros.

They also usually have a “zooming” function, essential, as you want to use it to the most extended position, where you can actually see the shape of the LED itself projected (in order to not burn the printed message, but also to project a sharp message.)

They all usually come with an unscrewable top part that contains a basic lens and exposes the LED. This is where you want to fit your cutout.

(Do not buy a flashlight that misses any of these three key features: only 1 LED / zoomable / screw-top lens.)

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f73bd238-78ea-4d95-8a12-d665bb4dd249.jpgTo print the messages, you can use commonly available transparent paper/foil for home printers, but in our experience printing in a print shop gives better results (a denser black, important for better contrasts).

Experiment with the right size, as you may prefer that instead of being as big as possible your message be as sharp and un-distorted as can be. Find the right size of printing that matches your flashlight by experimenting.

You want your message to be very well centered. For this you should cut your message to a shape as close as possible to the shape of the actual inside of the flashlight lens. Experiment and use a cuting guide (made of cardboard or plastic or anything else…).

Message should rest nicely on the inside (flat) of the front lens of the flashlight, in front of the LED, held together by the screw-on top of the light.

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In our prototype, a lens from a discarded diapositive projector worked best, but anything could work really. Some quality lens is likely to give best results in terms of absence of distortion. Find the approximate distance to which it should fit in front of the lens of the flashlight by experimenting. Keep in mind that the lens will have to move, in order to adjust focus to different distances of projection.

Finding the right tube proved to be a challenging task but not impossible. Think of discarded plastic bottles, pipes commonly available in hardware stores, etc.

You need to fit the lens snugly into the tube, but not too snugly so it can practically be moved back and forth. In our prototype, a round piece of dense recycled packing foam, padded into the tube, helped fitting and moving the lens comfortably. Experiment, and feel free to post your own clever solutions to this problem.

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Easy to dismount and remount, easy to carry, the Freedom Torch is really cheap (it can be left somewhere, or given away to somebody) and very fun to use!

Keep in mind that this is a very powerful light, so avoid at all cost to project it in people's eyes, expecially if they are driving.

Have fun and don't hesitate to post your own pictures here!

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  • Last modified: 2020/06/18 14:47