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  1. #1
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    Default How to: beer can stoplight

    The tech and how to articles are the best things on this site, so i figured id try to add something.

    My old stoplight/lic plate combo thing was a piece of shit, but I'm broke and can't buy anything else, so I started looking around the garage to see what I could come up with. Here's what I figured out. I don't have a bunch of pictures since I was busy drinking and making the light instead of taking pictures. I wasn't sure it'd even work well. Anyway, it works.

    In the garage I found:
    Beer cans, lots of beer cans
    A can of expanding foam (would use styrofoam next time)
    Jb weld
    Cardboard
    Electrical tape....

    At the auto parts store I got an 1157 bulb socket ($7), and found a small marker light ($5) that had a lens almost exactly the diameter of a beer can. Doesn't matter that it's a piece of shit light, you're gonna cut the back out anyway.

    Back at home, I carefully cut the bottom off the can with a razor, then cleaned the edge with a pair of end snips. Seems most beer cans have a straight line around the can at the bottom of the label printing. Makes it easier to get a nice straight line. Then use the end snips and a razor to cut a lic plate illuminator window if you want.

    At this point, we're going to make a foam holder for the bulb socket. I tried a few times to get this right. First try, I sprayed some expanding foam into the can. It expanded too much and wouldn't cure n the center. Second try, I sprayed the foam on a piece of cardbord so I'd have a plate of foam to cut up. I pressedthe cut end of the can into the foam to mark the circle I needed to cut. Use arazor and cut out a disk. If I did this again, I'd just use styrofoam and not deal with the spray foam stuff. Poke you're socket into the centerof the foam. I figured this light would be pretty dim, so I cut up a mirror into small pieces and jb welded them around the socket, disco ball style.



    While that's curing, take your lens assembly and disassemble it. Pop out the lens and take a razor or whatever and cut the back out of the housing thing. You just want the ring that the lens pops into.

    Once your jb is cured, put the socket back into the foam and thread the wires through the top of the can. Turn the pull tab around and pull the wires through it. It's your strain relief so the wires don't get cut on the sharp can mouth. Push the foam back into the can as far as it'll go, and drop some jb at a few points around the edge where foam meets can, to make it permanent.

    Back to the lens. Here's where it gets even MORE ghetto. By now you should be getting kinda drunk, so the next step will seem adequately high quality. The lens I got was slightly smaller than the can diameter, so I took electrical tape and wrapped around the lens holder rim until it fit pretty snug in the can. Slather somemjb weld around the tape and slide it into the end of the can (leave the lens out of the holder part for this). Make sure the rim is flush with the bottom of the can, and tape it in place while it cures.

    Once eveything is cured, I made a mounting bracket for it with some thin metal strips I found under the workbench. I sandwiched the can between them and used small bolts to hold it all together. I put a piece of thick cardboard between the inside plate and the can so the plate wouldn't poke through the aluminum.

    Pop in your bulb, pop in the lens, mount it up and your bike is now worth less money!

    I know the instructions might not be the best, and pictures woulda helped, but hopefully a picture of the finished light will help it all make more sense.









    Hope this all made sense.
    Last edited by MetalKing00; 04-09-2013 at 8:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    "Pop in your bulb, pop in the lens, mount it up and your bike is now worth less money!"

    LMAO I don't think I'd run it but it's fricken cool

  3. #3
    xllance
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    Original idea....but........Get back to us on how it works in about 2000 miles.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, we'll see how long it lasts. It's pretty bright, at least. If it bites the dust, I've always got more beer cans around. I'm gonna start work on one that's more durable, probably with a piece of pipe in the can or something.

  5. #5
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    Fuck yea dude. 10 pts for being original. I dig it.

  6. #6
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    I see the potential.

    Slide a piece of PVC in there to sturdy the whole works up and make the mount more solid...maybe some silicone to keep it from filling up with water....fuck yea.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. Right now it's in rough form, but looks good on the outside. I've been pushin and pullin on it and it seems pretty sturdy, but I'm sure the vibrations will work wonders. As for the water thing, right now it's kinda a water goes in, water runs out type setup..

  8. #8
    SingSing
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    Dude......YOU are Da man !! That freakin rocks!

  9. #9
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    Looks good dude .

  10. #10
    nunez8853
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    thats pretty kick ass brother

    if i was you id get a bit of pvc or if you can afford it a small bit of metal pipe and insert it in the can as close the same size as you can to keep that thin can bit more stable so i wont rip and you loose your light on the high way at night man.

    dig it

  11. #11
    livingdeadmc
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    Nice job man.

    If you use the old school beer cans they're thick as shit! Did this a few years back for a dude...bike had many miles put on her with no issues.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
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    Definitely a cool idea. I like it more than a 500$ bullshit taillight.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by livingdeadmc View Post
    Nice job man.

    If you use the old school beer cans they're thick as shit! Did this a few years back for a dude...bike had many miles put on her with no issues.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I dig the old can....Schlitz....the beer that made Milwaukee famous (they town has to have something cool )

  14. #14
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    Awesome idea, I give you 4 stars. I would have given you 5 stars if you used a German beer

  15. #15
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    BRILLIANT !!! It should get ya by for a minute

  16. #16
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    Here's the second installment. I took my girlfriend for a ride the other day and she kicked the shit out of the light while she was getting on and off.

    Today I got a 3 1/2" long piece of pipe and another 12 pack to make a new one. It turned out awesome. I took pictures this time too.

    All the steps are the same asbefore, but I just added the pipe step. I'll write a short update instead of a whole new thing.

    Cutting the can with end snips for a straight line:


    The pipe was a little too smal, so I wrapped it with duct tape (remember, part of the point of this is that it's made almost entirely with crap). Here it is halfway wrapped.


    Used the pipe as a punch to cut out the styrofoam, then discoballed it with mirror. Think I did a better job this time around.


    Fastened the same mouting bracket. Everything in the can now, using the same lens holding rim from before.


    Here it is sittin with his buddies.


    For the license illuminator window, I just drilled 3 holes. It's just enough to look like it has a lic plate light, but not enough to really read the plate. I might drill em out a bit bigger later, I just don't have any drill bits over 1/4"... It's sad, really.

    Anyway, it's sturdy now, and looks the same as before.

  17. #17
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    Update: it's been about 2000 miles or so, maybe more, and the light is holdin up perfectly. Looks just as good (or crappy) as the day it was made!
    Last edited by MetalKing00; 06-20-2013 at 8:58 PM.

  18. #18
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    I really like it. Prototype was a bit flimsy, really like that you stuck with it and made it better. Thanks for the how-to, too.

    For license plate illumination.....you could jb weld some clear thick plexiglass/lexan to the inside of the can.

    Vic

  19. #19
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    food for thought, how does the can that's shaped like a bottle compare? I know they are a lot thicker.

  20. #20
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    fun stuff. well done, sir

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