Published on August 1st, 2012 | by Gearhead Diva
Make Your Own Halo or Angel Eyes on a Budget
All the hottest custom cars are flaunting these edgy yet alluring angel eyes and they continue to take the industry by storm. Whether you’re strapped for cash or can’t find a pair to fit your specific application, this video is an informative guide for making your own. Below are a few additional pointers for getting the best results and to clarify some of the steps.
1. Tips on Turning Rods into Rings
You should be able to find clear plastic or plexi rods at your local hardware store. I know I’ve seen them in the window blinds section as the rods used to open or close your blinds when you turn them. Some are smooth all the way around while others are hexagonal. Either one will work fine.
You’ll have to calculate the circumference of the housing that your ring will cover so you know what length to cut your rod. To do this, measure the diameter of your housing and then use this formula to get the circumference:
Circumference = 2 x 3.14 x radius
So if your diameter was 4″ (which equals a radius of 2″) then your circumference will be about 12.5″.
It’s a good idea to cut the rod a bit longer so you have “handles” to work with. Perhaps the most most difficult part of the process is to find a mold to use that’s as close as possible to your measurements – jar lids, circular cd cases, liquor bottles, pencil holders or different diameter pipes may do.
After pulling the rod from the oven you’ll notice that it starts hardening pretty quickly so it may take a few back-and-forth sessions in the oven to get the shape exactly right.
2. Tips on Making the Refractive Cuts
Normally, light travels in a straight line so if you didn’t make the cuts as shown in the video then the light from your LED would simply travel through the rod and out the other end like a fiber optic cable. In order to achieve the angel eye effect, the light has to escape the ring through the various grooves you cut.
If you want your ring to look like a circle of defined LEDs then make your cuts about 2-3 mm apart. If you prefer a continuous light ring like what you see with a CCFL then make your cuts even closer together.
Only make cuts on the backside of your rod or on one of the flat edges if your rod is hexagonal. If you start cutting additional edges then you’ll let too much light escape before making it all the way around your ring.
To get the cuts looking perfect, make them when the rod is still straight before going into the oven.
3. Tips on Wiring your LEDs
LEDs are the perfect choice for this (over halogens) because they last long and don’t get very hot which could deform the shape of your acrylic ring. They also come in a variety of colors including red, blue, orange, yellow, green and some can blink through a variety of colors.
Also, unlike halogen bulbs you have to use a resistor because LED bulbs only need a small amount of current to light up. In order to calculate the ohms you need, use the voltage and amp information of your LED along with this formula:
Ohms = ( Battery Voltage – LED Voltage ) / LED Amps
Attach the resistor to the positive terminal of the LED bulb. Alternatively, you can first connect a wire to the positive terminal and then solder your resistor further down the line so it doesn’t have to sit in your housing. The advantage of having access to your resistor is that you can switch it out for a lower resistance if you want to have a brighter ring later on.
4. Tips on Securing the LED Bulbs Inside your Rings
Once inserted into the ring, your LED bulbs will be visible. The best way to hide them along with any portion of the ring you don’t want to use is to first wrap those portions with aluminum foil (to reflect light back into your ring) and then use electrical tape to secure the bulbs and hide the foil. Using electrical tape alone will make your rings appear dimmer.
Heat shrink tubing also gives you a more professional look.
If you’ve made your own and have feedback or have any ideas for improvements, post them below!