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Building Search Light Signals
Completed signal installed on a scale
Written by Robbie Diehl
have ever wondered what to do with all your old Audio and data CD’s this
project is for you. I have made these Searchlight Signals
using just that.
Each signal head requires two CD’s. The CD’s are glued together with PVC
Cement. I glue them together face to face because paint does not stick to some
of the labeling on the CD’s. After the CD’s are dry you center a piece of 3/4”
PVC Pipe on the CD’s and draw a line with a marker to mark the new hole size.
With a 7/32” drill bit make a "Swiss cheese pastern between the old CD center
hole and the inside of the line. Using a Dremel Tool remove the remaining
Plastic. A reamer could be used for this also. The hole does not have to
perfect. The 3/4” pipe coupler will cover up the imperfections.
Parts required for making a Searchlight Signal.
Glue two CD's together useing PVC Cement
Cut 3/4" pipe couplings at 45 degree angle
Drill a 1" hole in top center of flower Pot and Side. Insert 3/4" metal Pipe
Sweep and turn upside down to fill with concrete.
|Use the 3/4” electric box cover for a template
and drill two 7/32” holes in the CD to mount it to the electric box. The
3/4” Pipe Coupler is inserted into a piece of scrap pipe and cut with a chop
saw at a 45 degree angle to form the hood. A 1 1/2” long piece of 3/4” PVC pipe
is also cut with the chop saw. Cut about a 1/4” off the end of the 3/4” pipe
cap with a PVC pipe cutter. DO NOT USE THE CHOP SAW FOR THIS. Parts will fly
everywhere. This cut does not have to be straight.
Insert the 1 1/2” long piece of 3/4” PVC pipe into the coupler. You can glue
this if you want to but it is not necessary. Glue this to the front of the CD.
Glue the 1/4” piece of the pipe cap on the back of the CD to help hold it all
You can cut a piece of picture frame glass into a circle and insert this
between the coupler and the 1 1/2” long piece of 3/4” PVC pipe if you would
like. I use LED’s for the light source and have found the glass is not
necessary. The glass is very hard to cut into a circle also.
The Completed searchlight Signal Head.
|The remaining pipe cap is used to hold the
LED’s. I use Red, Green and Yellow. 4 small holes are drilled in the pipe cap
for the LED leads. one for all the positive leads and one for each negative
lead. You must use Super Bright LED’s. I use 5mm (15 Deg.): 6,800 mcd LED’s
from Lighting Components LED Corp. Here is the Link to their Web site:
The signal Head can now be painted
The base of the signal is made of concrete. I use an 8 inch Plastic flower
pot for the concrete mold. A 1” hole is drilled in the center of the Flower pot
and one on the side of the flower pot. Insert the 3/4” sweep through the side
hole and then into the top hole.
Turn it upside down and fill with concrete.
Cut about 1/4" off end of pipe cap.
Enlarging the hole in the CD.
When the concrete is dry assemble the metal coupler and the 18” long 3/4”
pipe to the electric box and the base. Put a pipe plug in the top of the
electric box and paint this all silver or aluminum color. For a double headed
signal add a 3/4” close nipple and another electric box signal Head.
If you build the 3 light signal head please note that this uses a 1”
electric box all other Parts are the same.
Written by Robbie Diehl
|Suggestion for making 1" round glass
Purchase 1 inch round mirrors from a craft store. You can get 25 of them
for a couple of bucks. Remove the reflective backing by soaking them for
ten minutes in acetone (be careful with this stuff and read the label).
Then take a razor blade and scrape the backing off. It usually takes one
swipe. Then soak them in muriatic acid for about 30 minutes. The
acid loosens the reflective silver coating leaving you with a round clear piece
of glass. The glass fits right inside the pipe. Put a very small dab of
silicone to hold it in.
Submitted by Jim Brown, Signal Superintendent, Maricopa Live
Thanks to train web's signals page
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