TUTORIAL: DIY LED Tube Lights

TUTORIAL: DIY LED Tube Lights


Hey everyone, Adam with Droi Media here, and
today we’re going to be making one of these awesome LED tube lights. LED tube lights are
all the rage right now and today we’re going to be making our very own just like this one.
Now these come out to about $25 per foot if you follow the instructions I’ve made. The
nice thing is though you can use whatever materials fit your budget, and you can make
them in whatever length you want – here I’ve got an 18” one. I just made a bunch of these
because they fit into my light kit a little easier than the 3’ ones I initially made.
Without any further ado let’s go ahead and jump right into this build. First let’s talk about the materials you’re
going to need…. I bought two of these 1 ½” frosted acrylic round tubes from Canal
Plastics, then you’ll need a thin wooden dowel rod, I believe I used a ½ “ one that
I picked up from my local hardware store. You’ll want a 12 volt DC adapter, two end
caps per tube, and then you’ll need your LED strip light. I recommend these 5m strips
from LightingWill which are about $30 per strip – these have a 90 CRI so the light is
a fairly good quality. These strips also come with a solderless connector so it’s going
to be way easier for us to build the lights. I went with a daylight balanced one here to
match my other lights – you can get whatever you want though including RGBs or Tungsten
or whatever. I found that a 5m strip will give you just enough to fill a 3’ tube.
My strips have two bare wires on the end for us to connect to our power supply. You’ll
also want some extra wire, and then you’ll need a few tools like a screwdriver, wire
cutters, a hot glue gun and a soldering iron. All of this stuff will be linked below.
I actually cut my tubes down to make 18” lights so they would fit in my pelican cases,
but you can literally make whatever length you’d like – if you do decide to cut them
just use a hacksaw and then sand or file the ends down so they’re smooth.
Cut down your dowel to the length of your tube and then we want to drill two small pilot
holes in both ends. Take your extra cord and cut a length several
inches longer than your dowel rod, and tape one end to your dowel with a few extra inches
of excess wire hanging out – I just used some masking tape I had nearby. Make sure the wire
is flat against the dowel, it’s tight, and then go ahead and tape the other end down
too. Grab your LED strip, take the adhesive off
the back, and leaving about ½“ of the dowel exposed we want to stick it to the rod, and
make sure this is done at an angle. Peeling the adhesive off as you go wind it all the
way down the rod. We want the LED strips touching but not overlapping. When you get to the other
end be sure to leave another ½“ or so of the dowel out, and then if you need to cut
your light strip be sure to cut along one of the pre-determined areas – mine have a
small cut icon and a couple copper areas where I can cut them. We need these to solder the
wires to, so just cut them carefully with a wire cutter.
Then strip the ends of your extra wire on the end we just cut, and we want to solder
the black to the negative, and the red to the positive. These should be labeled somewhere
on your LED strip. IF you’ve never soldered before I recommend you practice on a few chunks
of excess wire before doing it here, or watch one of thousands of YouTube videos before
doing it. Honestly, it’s super easy, just be careful and go slow. And just so you know,
this is the hardest part of the project, after this it’s smooth sailing.
After those are soldered let’s go back to the other end. Strip the excess wire here,
and then if you need to cut and strip the wires coming from your LED strip. You’ll
want just under 2 inches of wire for each of these. Make sure your solderless power
adapter is nearby, and then twist the two bare black or negative wires together, and
then slip those into the negative side of that power adapter and screw them down. Simply
repeat this step with the two bare red or positive wires. You should now have a dowel
covered in LED lights with one end soldered and the other end ready to get plugged in.
At this point in time it probably looks bare and ugly but we’re going to add the frosted
tubes in just a moment and make everything look real sexy. Before you go any further
make sure your connections are solid by plugging it in.
For this last bit grab a couple tiny screws, I just used a handful of small ones I had
laying around, get your end caps, your acrylic tube, and that uggo LED stick we just made.
In the end caps you’ll want to drill two very small holes directly in the center, and
then drill a larger hole on the outer edge of ONE of the caps. I believe I used a ¼”
bit for this one. Slide your LED stick into the acrylic tube, and then start one of the
screws through the end cap without the larger hole in it. Finish screwing it into the far
end of the LED stick, and then slide that onto your tube – it should fit nice and snug.
Then disconnect the solderless adapter at the other end, and using some hot glue, or
sturdy adhesive of your choice, connect it to the other end cap with the power adapter
on the outside and the wire connections on the inside. This one that you see here was
the first one I made, and it is ugly as [bleep]. If you make more than one they’ll come out
prettier each time. Reconnect your wires like we did earlier, and snap that end onto the
tube to seal everything up. Now plug that super sexy super kickass LED light tube in
and bask in all of its wonderful glory. These lights are super easy to use, just grab
a clamp and put them to work in your next project! Be sure to subscribe for our next
video because I’m going to show you how to make a bank like this where you can attach
different lights to it, this is going to have an adapter on the back so it can attach directly
to a light stand, and then it’s also going to have a little dimmer here as well. Also,
I’m going to be joined by my very adorable very needy production assistant. So if you’ve
got any questions about this build please leave those down in the comments section below,
if you’ve got any questions about this video or this project leave those down in the comments
section below. Thanks so much for taking the time to watch this video, and I will see you
guys next time.

44 Comments

  • knoptop

    September 4, 2019

    Clean build! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Bold and Ageless Professionals

    September 4, 2019

    Clear instructions and easy to follow.

    Reply
  • Paul Wright

    September 4, 2019

    Fantastic! I've been thinking the last few weeks about how I need to build some tubes before these tariffs get too crazy, but I might have missed my chance. I was thinking about using fluorescent tube protectors as the tube and spraying them with spray on window frost, but I might have to check out the acrylic tube you used because i'm sure it's much more durable.

    Reply
  • Juris Daugulis

    September 4, 2019

    Looks good. How's heat with this closed enclosure?

    Reply
  • Lloyd Edgar

    September 4, 2019

    You're a legend! Great content as always

    Reply
  • The Film Look

    September 5, 2019

    Awwwww mate – we are definitely going to make some of these bad lads! Great video as always.

    Reply
  • casroy777

    September 29, 2019

    Well done ,can you make battery powered?

    Reply
  • Jonas Designs

    October 2, 2019

    nice build pro

    Reply
  • PolevVidObzor

    October 19, 2019

    Well, why not to show how your light shines on the example of a video? Or is it not important anymore? In fact, it makes no sense to do this thing if you have not seen what the frame looks like with it. It seems to me – that it illuminates poorly, and only at a fairly small distance.

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 20, 2019

    WOW!!!! solderless connectors………and then solders

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 20, 2019

    If you don't want 360 degree light consider using a thin flat piece of wood and mounting the strips to the wood on one side.

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 20, 2019

    PLEASE anchor the soldered wires to the strip/wood using epoxy or hot glue. Try to mount so the LED chips are offset

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 20, 2019

    If you 'tin' the copper pads on the strip before soldering the wires it is much easier/faster. Applying some flux beforehand can also help.

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 20, 2019

    If you have to solder a power connector then try using a molex style connector or terminal strip. The 'barrel' type connectors are a huge [email protected] This is also true for 'external' runs as the barrel connector easily pulls apart

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 20, 2019

    With cheaper strips the mounting tape is crap – glue it down with epoxy. Just put the epoxy directly on the surface, then apply the strip. The sticky tape will adhere.

    Reply
  • Los Pastrana

    October 21, 2019

    any idea how to make this with a battery?

    Reply
  • well done

    October 24, 2019

    that thing is going to get so hot, it'll melt the wire underneath the LED strip, just watch it :)))

    Reply
  • Guru Chuckle

    October 24, 2019

    Nice and neat work. thanks for the great content…

    Reply
  • BassPlayerAvailable

    October 24, 2019

    Whats the flicker like on these LED strips when filming video?

    Reply
  • twinklenutzzz

    October 25, 2019

    once you add up the entire cost it would be almost the same price just to buy a Quasar tube…

    Reply
  • Ronnie Rabena

    October 25, 2019

    Awesome vid man! Subscribed! Look forward to watching more. Cheers!

    Reply
  • Nicholas D

    October 27, 2019

    A 4' quasar LED tube is $100 on amazon which is basically $25/ft. How do these compare in brightness?

    Reply
  • Kenn Mossman

    October 28, 2019

    any idea how to make this with a battery? – Los Pastrana

    Yes, but it does get complicated by the choice of battery; Lead-acid, Ni-MH, Ni-Cad, Li-ion.
    All have various advantages and disadvantages
    Do use a PROPER recharger.
    Keep in mind that even Li-ion batteries experience a voltage drop as they discharge.So you need to control the voltage.
    You should use an under and over voltage protection circuit.
    You should use a (LDO) voltage regulator if using a Li-ion battery pack (which gives a nominal voltage of around 14.8V)
    Also the chemistry with Li-ion does vary – they are NOT all the same!
    Lead-acid batteries have a voltage range of about 14.4 (fully charged) down to around 11.5V (avoid using when 50% discharged)

    Another choice is to use a boost converter to raise the battery voltage to 12V but the quality and efficiency of these varies greatly. They can introduce flicker as well.
    Same is true for buck-boost converters.

    Reply
  • Fr0gg1n

    November 11, 2019

    Hey any chance you could link me to some rgb led lights that will be usable in the same way for this project? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Дима Самойлов

    November 15, 2019

    Rgb w use cool 😎

    Reply
  • TheAndouz

    November 16, 2019

    What's the purpose of running a separate wire from the other end of the tube, can you not power the led strip from one end?

    Reply
  • Doug Cohen

    November 29, 2019

    Do you have any extra end caps that I could buy from you? I don't want 98 extra laying around.

    Reply
  • John Randall Ramos

    December 13, 2019

    How much LED per ft would be used? I don't wanna do the math so I'll just ask you lol great DIY tho

    Reply
  • Moncef Zerroug

    December 15, 2019

    I want to make my own grow lights for hydroponics. So my question is, can i control the lumens of the light? Are there stronger strips?

    Reply
  • Jim Matthews

    December 21, 2019

    With a tube like this, the light goes out 360 degrees. So most of the light is wasted. It would be twice as efficient to mount the leds on a flat plate.

    Reply
  • NAHGTWA

    December 26, 2019

    Have any more end caps ? Lol

    Reply
  • ItsJust Wolff

    December 27, 2019

    How many meters did you end up using for one led tube?

    Reply
  • Philip Donegan

    January 3, 2020

    Have been looking for something like this for aaaages, great tutorial.

    Reply
  • Thijs van Rijn

    January 3, 2020

    Do you know the % light transmission from the tubing? It's super hard to find frosted acrylic tubing in the Netherlands.

    Reply
  • Richard Tyson

    January 6, 2020

    Thanks for this guys. I'm definitely going to try, do you have any suggestions for colour changing LED strip or would this not viable?

    Reply
  • Abdal Hassan

    January 12, 2020

    Which tube use in this project.

    Reply
  • TheElohk

    January 14, 2020

    Quick question: Why do you solder an additional wire to the other end (the one without the connector adapter) of the strip (at 3.25 in the video)? Is there any "performance" reason? sorry, i am a noob at electrics 😉

    Reply
  • Christoffer Bergqvist

    January 14, 2020

    Well done, if i want this in another colour is it possible to spray the acrylic pipe with a clear paint?

    Reply
  • Fuck You

    January 23, 2020

    Why did you wire the opposite end back? Wasn't it getting power just from the input at the main end?

    Reply
  • Ryan Verrastro

    January 25, 2020

    Thank you for sharing. I'm excited to go and attempt your design as soon as I can. Think I'll try with RGB LEDs.

    Reply
  • The Cult Machine

    January 28, 2020

    Found you on Reddit….thanks for sharing man. This is one of those questions that plagues YouTube’s. About lighting.

    Reply
  • The Cult Machine

    January 28, 2020

    Check me out too and subscribe if you liked

    Reply
  • Justice Tankson

    January 29, 2020

    Can I have the link for the solderless connector you used for the build?

    Reply
  • Neon Blid

    February 11, 2020

    Make it wireless please!

    Reply

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