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DIY LED Hula Hoop Parts Kit for Sale

THIS INFORMATION IS VERY OLD!!!
**NEW!!
-
***Click here for latest assembly intructions***

 

LED hula hoop from Craft MagazineCraft, a sister magazine of Make, is about to publish a DIY LED Hula Hoop article in Volume 6 due on the shelves Feb 5th. It caught my eye because I featured jeffkobi’s instructable months ago and planned to create my own DIY instructions using translucent tubing. Obviously Craft beat me to it. If you are a Craft subscriber you can read the digital edition right now. (click on little blue monitor icon)

These hoops are popular at festivals like burningman and at some dance clubs around the world.

 

Their instructions involve using translucent tubing, color LEDs, resistors, a switch and a battery.

 

After you are done reading the tutorial, depending on your expertise, you might be left with a few unanswered questions, like:

-How do I choose LEDs with the same Voltage Drop?
-What resistor value do I need for these LEDs?
-How exactly do I strip the wire with a razor blade?

Then you are likely to ask:
-How much is this all going to cost me?
-
Can I just buy 10ft of tubing instead of 100ft?

The above are all potential barriers that may prevent you from trying this out. I’d like to avoid that.

In this article I will answer the above technical questions, but I will also show you how much you can save by buying a kit that includes a pre-cut 11ft tube with all the parts you need to make just one LED Hula Hoop. This saves you time, money, and reduces wasted tubing. In the process you’ll also see where you can buy the parts on your own if you dont believe in saving money, or plan to make 10 hoops anyway ;)

So lets start with LED selection:

 

***By the way, if you want the latest and greatest LED Hula Hoop Making instructions you should skip over to this other page. The post you are reading is quite old****

Side note: The DIY LED Hula hoop isnt new, see these links for reference. Jason Unbound |psihoops.

LED selection

In the begining of the Craft article it mentions “be sure to research each part and its specs when creating the circuit design. Each LED for this project was chosen for its similar voltage drop, making things simpler by requiring only one value of resistor.”

Here is a list of LED colors and their typical voltage drops (Vf).

RED and Yellow both have 1.8 to 2.4Vf
BLUE, GREEN and White vary from 3 to 3.6Vf
Color changing LEDs are about 3.5Vf (these cycle through all colors on their own)

For simplicity lets put the color changing LED with Blue, Green, and White. In Craft they used 6 color changing LEDs, so I would assume the others were split between blue and green, I am not sure if they used white. Even though you dont use the red and yellow LEDs you get those colors from the flashing LEDs.

In any case the Vf ranges from 3 to 3.6, so you can average that out to 3.3Vf.

Resistor Calculation

I am no longer offering resistors in my kit so I have crossed out this section to avoid confusion. The reason you wont need resistors with my kit is becuase I have selected LEDs that have a Vf very close to or above 3.6V. So when you connect a 3.6V battery to it the LED will not draw more than its rated current. Eliminating the resisotors makes assembly easier. In fact it the LED legs can be “twist tied” to the exposed copper of the wire and you dont even have to solder it. But hey, you should be reading the latest assembly instructions. So stop reading this post, it’s old!

This part is pretty easy. Your battery voltage is 3.6V and you want to limit current to 20mA max for each LED.
So 3.6V-3.3V= 0.3V. And 0.3V / 0.020A = 15 ohms
.

Tips for stripping the wire

Easy to use wire strippers

The Craft article instructs you to strip insulation away at different intervals on the wire using a razor. I dont really know why they dont include wire strippers in the tool set, but unless you have used a razor that way before I would avoid it. You risk cutting through the wire or your fingers. I would seriously recommend this adjustable wire stripper, it’s really cheap and allows you to strip the wire in the middle of its length without any risk of cutting it. Thanks again to jeffkobi for the tip.  Unfortunately they have a $10 mininum plus shipping, so if you only need that tool you can buy it from me for less and combine it with another order. You can see a video demonstration below.

 

Easy Switch Installation

In the Craft Magazine instructions it mentions that you can press the switch into a hole you cut in the tube and hot glue or epoxy it into place.
Please DO NOT use superglue. I tried in on a switch and it flowed through the entire mechanism and froze the switch. Epoxy should work better since its less fluid, but stay away from the moving parts of the switch. Hot glue is probably the safest, but I have heard some people’s switch still gets accidentally pushed into the tube.

On recommendation I can make is to modify the switch so that it sits on top of the surface of the tube. Here are some photos to demonstrate.

Use pliers to bend the metal up from the sides

Basically you bend out the metal tabs up.

Bend the metal sides of the switch so that it will be level to the mounted surface
So that those flaps rest on top of the tube surface.

tube with switch on surface
This way the switch can’t fall in.

switch fastened with white electrical tape
Then you can tape it up with electrical tape if you want.

cut off the plastic switch

You can also snip off the black plastic switch if you want it to be less pronounced.

Materials:
Lets take a look at how much you’d have to spend to make one of these things.

3/4 inch tube 100ft roll - $37.75 from usplastic.com. Price includes shipping in the U.S.
Barbed pipe fitting – $0.37 found at Lowes (not including tax)
22AWG white hook-up wire
$5.75 + $7 shipping from www.allelectronics.com
White electrical tape – We’ll consider this optional. You can use standard electrical tape if you want. Or you can find this at an art store.

Now lets assume you get the remaining components all together at mouser.com to save shipping costs.

switch$0.79 (it’s bigger than you need but prices are around the same)
resistors
$0.04 x 21 pcs
3.6V battery – axial leads 2.1Ah - $6.30 – this should last many months of normal use.

Green and Blue LED* – $0.25 x 15 pcs (cost ranges from 0.10 to $1, the list makes me dizzy so lets just pick 0.25 as an average)
Shipping from Mouser = $6
Color changing LEDs – $1.50 x 6=$9 + $7 shipping (i cant find them at mouser, but the cheapest ones are at electronics goldmine and that’s a sale price)

If you add all this up you get a total of about $86 $85 for one hoop you’ll make yourself. Take out the color changing LEDs and its $70 $69.

What about tools?

Well I’ll assume you own soldering iron, pliers, wire cutters, measuring tape and even a hot glue gun. But do you have a PVC cutter? You’ll want to use it to make sure your cut is perpendicular to the tube. The cheapest one I found was at Sears for $15. If you plan on cutting more tubes down the road it’s worth the investment, but if you just want to make one hoop it’s kind of silly to spend the money.

Add that tool to your parts total and you are now up to $100. Kind of a lot to spend when you are making something yourself.

Did you know you can have one made for you for $95 at superhooper.org with static LEDs and $175 for color changing LEDs?

Buy the DIY LED Hula Hoop Kit
Save Time Save Money

To make it more affordable for you to try this DIY I am offering a parts kit for only $49
It will include:

10.5 feet of 3/4″ OD Natural Color HDPE Tubing
(translucent white-enough for 40″ diameter hoop)
21 LEDs: 7 Blue, 8 Green, and 6 color changing.
21 matching resistors.
22 feet of 22AWG insulated wire-white or clear
Pipe Fitting – (Tube Coupler)
Slide Switch
3.6V Battery with leads

If you dont need the color changing LEDs you can substitute them for blue, green or even white and only pay $39.

Ordering Info

buy now

Inspiration:

By the way if you thought Hula Hooping was just for kids try googling “burning man” or check out this video and some links below.

hooping.org

hoopgirl

And in case you are wondering what Color changing LEDs look like, here is a video of one held inside a short white HDPE tube. ** This is not necessarily what arrives in the Kit.

15 comments

2 pings

  1. Abby says:

    Hi,

    I just ordered the parts kit and I want to be sure the tubing is included. The items listed below do not mention the tubing, so I just want to be sure that I know what I’m getting. Also, do you happen to have other colors besides green and blue? reason being, I already own a PSI hoop, and I chose green and blue as my stationary colors. I love the way the pink LEDS look…. any chance you have some of those you could change out for me?

    To make it more affordable for you to try this DIY I am offering a parts kit for only $49
    It will include 21 LEDs: 7 Blue, 8 Green, and 6 color changing.
    21 matching resistors.
    22 feet of 22AWG white insulated wire
    Pipe Fitting – (Tube Coupler)
    Slide Switch
    3.6V Battery with leads

  2. prodmod says:

    yes it does include the tubing. I have had some server problems and had to restore this article. I will update the article with the right information.
    I will also look into finding pink LEDs and get back to you.
    thanks for your interest!

  3. prodmod says:

    yup I can get pink. But it looks a bit purple to me. If you are choosing custom LEDs you’ll have to list exactly which color and how many of each you want. And tell me if you want the color changing ones or not.

  4. Larry says:

    Question: Better to have all the color Changing LEDS together ( Do they all change the same color at the same time together? ) Or mix them up?

  5. prodmod says:

    The color changing LEDs are independent of each other. So at first they will change colors at the same time, but slowly they will be out of sync. Each LED has its own chip or “brain” and they each run at their own speed. If you want all the LEDs to change at the same time you need to have one master controlling circuit connected to all LEDs. Its not hard to do, its just not offered in this kit, as of right now. But it might be in the near future.

  6. caroline colt says:

    hey, thanks so much for all the tips! i was wondering, do you drill holes for the leds when you use the translucent tubing or do the lights still show up well enough without sticking out? cuz in jeffkobis instructible he drills holes to insert the lights, but he’s using black tubing…. so is it different with the translucent tube or should i still drill?
    thanks so much!

  7. prodmod says:

    Caroline, you definitely do NOT drill holes for the LEDs with translucent tubing.
    Check out the pics and videos on my kit page. http://prodmod.com/diy-led-hula-hoop-kit/
    Unfortunately they are in the dark, but trust me, the LEDs shine very well through the tubing.
    there should be one video in the center of the page that shows the Hoop just sitting on my floor.

    This is how the pre-assembled hoops work as well. They are made by Psihoop, or superhooper etc.

    I am late in getting my own instructions up on my site. hopefully today, then you can see how its all done. You can also check out instructions on Craft Magazine Volume 6.

  8. lori says:

    Hey Mike! where’s the rechargeable kit I heard about? come on, I want one. this non-rechargeable option is for the birds, you know?

  9. prodmod says:

    I know, you’re right. I gotta get the instructions finalized. The battery is on backorder with my vendor for another few weeks, so I thought I’d hold off till then. But I guess I can take pre-orders right? ;)
    I’ll try to get something up this weekend.
    Thanks for the reminder. It’s hard to gauge interest through the site.

  10. prodmod says:

    The new Rechargeable Upgrade Kit is now available for sale for $39
    http://prodmod.com/buy/accessories-and-upgrades/

  11. steve says:

    i an looking to buy in bulk, i whant to know if there is any discount. thank you

  12. Erica says:

    Hey Mike! We’re going to have an LED hoop-making party. I have the translucent tubing, but am interested in buying the rest of the kit, and several of them, from you. Is that possible? Thanks!

  13. prodmod says:

    Erica, please take a look at this page
    http://prodmod.com/buy/led-hoop-maker-kit/
    you will find a selection of “maker kits” for people who have the tubing. if you want a variety of colored LEDs you can buy the “Core” kits for the basic parts and then buy the LEDs as needed from the LED page — http://prodmod.com/buy/leds/
    I also have blue and green even though they are not shown there.

    also please note this is a very old post you are reading. Please review the new instructions here http://prodmod.com/make/ledhulahoop/

  14. prodmod says:

    Steve, if you want to buy in bulk please use my contact page to send me an email with details of what you want and how many. I can make different arrangements depending on whether you are a retailer re-selling kits, or just plan on making 10 hoops or so.
    You can also consider the maker kits located at http://prodmod.com/buy/leds/

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    I am sure this article has touched all the internet
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