Pink & Blink’n Lincoln – How To create a Hot Pink Pine Wood Derby Car with LEDs and Glue Gummy Bears

 

Last month I was inspired by a Tweet by Erin Riley that ran across.  She had an excellent inexpensive & very easy electronics / hot glue gun project.

This gave me some great ideas for a future Cub Scout meeting for my son or an upcoming birthday party for my daughter or just a cool not so run of the mill rainy day project… but why not an over the top bling for the Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby.

Materials

First the materials… I bought everything off Amazon except for the batteries and the hot glue gun… but I’m sure you can get those there too.   Here I’ve linked right to the exact items I bought.

Making the LED Gummies

To assembly the LED gummies… fill one mold about 1/2 way with hot glue making sure to get into the nooks & crannies that make up the bears face & arms.  Then place and LED into the middle of the mold. Cover up the LED with more hot glue.

 

Testing out the LED gummy bears while they cool off. Wires attached to the RED bear are coming from the uxcell battery holder

At this point a quick tip on how to place the LED… On an LED one of the leads is longer than the other. This is the positive lead. The first batch of LED gummies my daughter and I made had the leads mixed… meaning some times the positive would be on the right some times on the left.  Once these cool and you start bending them a bit it’s tough to figure out which is which. So decide on which side to put the positive lead and stick with it.  This helps immensely when and if you’re going to be wiring up your LED gummy bears to something else.  Why? Well as my daughter and I learned from SparkFun.com an LED is a diode and a diode only allows electricity to flow in one direction. This means if you try to put the positive (longer) lead to the negative side of the battery NOTHING WILL HAPPEN.  This made us think that we had about a 50% failure rate on on bears… and lead me to do some quick googling.. (Yeah… I know… didn’t even dawn on us to turn the battery around! DUH).

So once you’ve covered the LED with hot glue let the glue cool down in the mold before taking it out.

theuxcell coin battery holder. showing length of wires coming out of it.

Attaching to Pine Wood Derby Car

Our next step was to attach the uxcell battery holder/switch to the LED leads on the gummy bear.  The uxcell holders come with about a foot of wire so unless you have a project which needs this much wire, you’ll have to cut down the wire and strip it closer to the hub.  To mount it to the pine wood derby car we used a few dots of hot glue and set the holder into it with the wires facing forward (to where our LED gummy bear will be) and held it there for a few moments until it set.

Lazy soldering with a hot glue gun. Big blob of glue doesn’t conduct electricity and actually insulates the wires.

Next set the gummy bear into position.  With another drop of glue position the LED gummy where you want it to go… making sure that it’s within range of the wires coming from the battery holder.  Connect the gummy bear to the leads coming from the holder making sure that your wires aren’t touching and thus causing a short.  At this point, if you’re a real pro, you could solder the wires together… or if you’re like me and my six year old daughter and don’t have a properly vented area in which to solder things together… or just don’t have a soldering kit… get the glue gun and drop a nice big blob of glue over the wires. Again making sure that the two connected wires aren’t cross touching one another.

Ready for the Race Track

Here’s the final product.  We might not win any awards, especially with a bum wheel that we “accidentally” hot glued to the side of the car, but we’ll sure be in the running for the most decorated car.

Ready for the Pine Wood Derby Racetrack it’s the Pink & Blink’n Lincoln

Realized that it’s hard to see the blinking LED gummy bear without a video so here it is in action.

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