Project image
)}
£1,338
pledged of £25,000pledged of £25,000 goal
20
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, June 28 2013 6:31 PM UTC +00:00
Andre BrownBy Andre Brown
First created
Andre BrownBy Andre Brown
First created
£1,338
pledged of £25,000pledged of £25,000 goal
20
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, June 28 2013 6:31 PM UTC +00:00

About

Integrated Design

LIGHT-POST is made with either a custom made aluminium (or aluminum for our US backers) extruded tube or a custom molded carbon fibre tube of the same profile.  My unique design has a 5mm wide channel down it's length, into which I set a custom made strip of high intensity LEDs.  I then fill the channel with a diffuse resin flush with the outside of the tube to protect the LEDs from the weather and vibration and to spread the light from the LEDs along the length of the LIGHT-POST.  Inside the extrusion fits the 18650 li-ion batteries and electronics, mounted just like a torch (in fact I hacked a torch for the bits for my prototypes!) The end result? - an integrated rear light design that doesn't add to your bike's silhouette or detract from it's style... yet allows you to be seen!

Dedication

My Father was a talented engineer and race winning road cyclist in Zimbabwe, Africa, when he was killed by a drunk driver whilst on a training ride early one evening.  I was only 1yr old at the time.

Had bicycle safety been better in the late 70s, had he the benefit of advanced cycling helmet materials and high intensity LED lights, perhaps he might have been seen, or have survived his head injuries.

LIGHT-POST is dedicated to Robbie Michael Brown (3rd from right).  Back this project to help me make cycling safer.

About me

My name is Andre Brown, I am 34, and you can read more about my experience in inventing, designing and building products from my biography on the right.  I am a keen cyclist and engineer and have had the honour of working with Alex Moulton (moultonbicycles.co.uk) over a summer internship whilst studying engineering at the University of Bath.  I have patents in robotics from my 2yrs working as a senior inventor at Dyson, I have designed and built my own sportscars, and currently work as Head of Design for Parajet Automotive making flying cars a reality.  I wanted to get this idea for a better bike light out of my head and into the marketplace - Kickstarter is the perfect platform for me as I have a strong interest in open source hardware, and the LIGHT-POST requires some investment in tooling to make the various diameter extrusions needed by the design.  By engaging the support of kickstarter backers, I can get the right amounts of the right size tube extruded first time!

Materials

The base specification LIGHT-POST will come in 7075 aerospace aluminium with a clear anodized finish to keep it looking sleek.  There are different reward levels to the right where you can select a color anodized finish, for instance, black, red, blue etc, or you can go for hard anodized which turns 7075 a lovely gold color just like these Nitron race car suspension components that I designed and made.

I am also offering laser etching onto the anodized aluminium version; this will be very subtle and allows the backer to customize their LIGHT-POST with their name or brand.  The laser etching looks like these examples (I also designed and made these so I know all the right suppliers to get LIGHT-POST made to a high quality standard!)

Finally there is carbon fibre.  If you want a lighter weight LIGHT-POST (excuse the pun) then you can select a carbon spec reward from the right.  Your LIGHT-POST tube will be made by one of the expert composite suppliers I have worked with before (KS composites).  I have not made a carbon version of LIGHT-POST yet due to the costs involved with making patterns and molds - tooling costs are one of the main things I hope your kickstarter support can help with, however I have every confidence in the supplier quality (they make F1 parts) and carbon seat tubes are commonplace in the market already.  The carbon will be a natural finish (without etching) similar to this car bodywork (which I also designed and made!), and it will feature the same cnc machined saddle clamp as the aluminium version.

LIGHT-POST Length

Commuter bikes like the moulton I have tested with have long seatposts up to 530mm and offer the maximum LED visibility with a full 300mm+ long strip of LEDs visible unlike other integrated designs (like lightskin which only have 5 individual LEDs whatever the seat tube length).  Road frames have much shorter seatposts, and might only expose a small amount of tube above the bike frame.  The LEDs I use in LIGHT-POST have been manufactured with 60 LED/m or 1 LED every 17mm, and can be easily cut to length every 3 LEDs as shown below (the line inbetween the 4 solder pads is the cut line).  For very short posts, I can increase the LED density to 120 LED/m which will increase the number visible.

This flexibility allows LIGHT-POST to come in custom lengths, and less LEDs = less batteries = less weight so for road frames where low weight is important, we automatically have a solution.

Just confirm the length you require when you back LIGHT-POST, and I will assemble yours to the nearest LED break point specially for you (don't forget you can get a custom anodized color and a custom laser etched name or branding).

what a small single LED add-on light looks like compared to LIGHT-POST, which has 8x the LEDs showing...

LIGHT-POST Diameter

Seat post sizes have varied over the many years of bicycle manufacture - there is an extensive database here (http://sheldonbrown.com/seatpost-sizes.html). This is one of the many reasons I am turning to the kickstarter community.  The primary size for road frames is 27.2mm , though for mountain bikes and commuter bikes like the moulton, larger sizes are common.  By kickstarting this project, I can extrude just the right quantity of each size tube depending on the number of backers in each bike category. The extrusions will be manufactured by experts Aluminium Shapes (http://www.alishapes.co.uk) and then precision ground, polished and anodized to the correct diameter.

Typical seat tube diameters (in mm) are 27.2 (std), 30.9, 31.8 (brompton), and 34.9 (moulton).  I have decided that it would be impossible to cater for every size people might need.  Therefore I will be offering just the 27.2mm and the 31.8mm sizes, for other sizes I will be offering a free sleeve or shim (just google it to see that it is a standard solution to the problem of different diameters), Just let me know the diameter you require by selecting reward and specifying a LIGHT-POST diameter that is smaller or equal to yours, and make sure you include in the notes what size you need to shim it out to. (for an example of shims see here)

Saddle Clamp

The LIGHT-POST has been fitted to a moulton saddle and clamp in the current prototype, which basically entails the tube tapering down to a smaller diameter onto which the standard clamp and saddle bolts.  If you require an alternative arrangement, such as a sliding multi bolt clamp, then I can accommodate this with a cnc machined clamp that will be bonded into the extruded tube after anodizing (but before electronics assembly) using a 3M structural epoxy adhesive.  I can make LIGHT-POST with either saddle clamp method, so please let me know which when you back LIGHT-POST.

Flashing

There is lots of fun to be had with flashing sequences!

As you can see in the intro video, at present I just have a basic on-off switch in the prototype LIGHT-POST.  Flashing LEDs requires only a simple 555 timer circuit (see this instructables video), and all LED bike lights on the market do this to conserve battery and improve visibility.  Flashing will be cycled through various modes using the single on-off waterproof push button momentary switch located at the top of the LIGHT-POST (under the saddle as in the prototype)

However with increased numbers of LEDs to play with, comes increased opportunity to do something new.... this is where I could do with input from the kickstarter community.

I'd love to hear your ideas for new sequences, like converging from top and bottom to meet in the middle, or like sweeping up and down like knight rider's KITT car (check out the limited edition all black reward with sweeping LEDs!).

Batteries & Charging

At present I charge the removable 4 x 18650 cells (at 50g each) inside my prototype LIGHT-POST using a external charger like this - just like a torch - you take the batteries out to charge.  For production there are a number of planned features and improvements of the charging process that I will incorporate:

  • A lovely seat and LIGHT-POST combo is sure to be the envy of many thieves, so I expect you'll want to quick release it and take it with you each time you lock up your ride.  Just like you charge your cell phone at your desk at work, you will be able to charge up LIGHT-POST using either a USB lead (slower) or a dedicated external charger that plugs into at the bottom of the tube so you don't need to remove the cells. ever.
  • I am a design engineer, not a battery expert.  Having said this, I have professional experience of building 18650 battery packs during my employment at Dyson as a senior inventor (see my robotics patents here and here).  For production LIGHT-POST, I will trust the battery pack design & manufacture, battery management systems, and charging to the experts - Creasefield have experience building custom packs with varying cell chemistry.
  • For production LIGHT-POST, the strip of LEDs will serve as the state of charge indicator, the more charged, the more LEDs will be lit (at a low brightness level), flashing on-off together when fully charged.


LED Specification

The LEDs used on the prototypes I had specially made using SMD3528 LEDs on a 5mm wide strip (normally 8mm) with 60 LED/meter.  There are brighter LEDs, like the 5050, but these are larger and I wanted a small, sleek, integrated design that was hardly visible when off, yet highly visible when on.

There are also higher density LED strips, but these are a higher cost, and consume more power when flashed all together (if the flash sweeps then the power consumption is the same for a given brightness).  The 3528 code means that the LEDs are single color, with one chip per LED, and the chip is 3.5mm x 2.8mm in size and they have a 120 degree viewing angle which means that you can be seen from the side as well as from the rear (as shown in our night time images).  The diffuse resin in the channel really helps with light distribution along the length and with side visibility.

The power consumption I have measured at 0.08W per LED and the longest LIGHT-POST so far is 20 LEDs long = 1.6W if all illuminated continuously.  By flashing all the lights with a simple on-off I can get at least a 50% reduction in power consumption to 0.8W, which equates to a current draw of 66mA at our 12V operating voltage.  With 4 x 1600mAh 18650 cells, they provide over 30hrs of use per charge (we only take them down to 50% DoD) - long enough that you don't get fed up always recharging your LIGHT-POST, which in turn means the battery life will be long (>300 discharge cycles).  For sweeping light patterns, the power consumption again drops an order of magnitude (I've read 10x for some) - I worry that the brightness will drop too much if only a few LEDs are on at any one time, and max impact was one of the things I wanted for this design, hence probably going overboard in terms of battery capacity - it means I can run lots of LEDs at the same time!

Whats next - Possible Stretch Goals....

LIGHT-BAR anyone? with custom white LED strip already in the workshop, I can make a similar handlebar with internal batteries, and the strip could follow a curved channel if the handlebars were not straight across... I would also really love to make a full frame from this extrusion so that LED's can be set into the side of the frame and into the front and rear of the forks and stays.  Be visible from all angles... maybe these can form the basis of kickstarter projects #2 and #3!

Risks and challenges

I have extensive experience in managing the product development process from innovation and early prototyping (from my time inventing at www.dyson.co.uk) through to detailed engineering drawings (check out a few of mine in the downloads section at www.andrecars.com) and finally through to supplier management and batch manufacture (www.nitron.co.uk and www.parajetautomotive.com)

I would like for LIGHT-POST to be entirely locally made eventually, but initially it is really important to control quality and delivery timescales, particularly because the various elements of LIGHT-POST will be made by sub-contract manufacturing companies. So, for the first batch of LIGHT-POSTs I will be manufacturing using UK based suppliers.

In time, I hope to set up reciprocal manufacturing networks in the US and Taiwan.

Provisional UK supplier network for fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards:

production PCB design & manufacture www.newburyelectronics.co.uk
li-ion battery pack design & assembly www.creasefield.co.uk
extruded aluminium tube with LED channel www.alishapes.co.uk
carbon fibre tube with LED channel www.kscomposites.com
machining of clamps, end fittings and battery mounts www.jamestan.co.uk

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    MOCK LIGHT-POST

    can't quite stretch to a real one yet? never fear, you can still support this project and make it look like you've got a LIGHT-POST - I will send you a high-visibility reflective sticker to put on your seat post with mock LEDs made to look just like the real thing!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $40

    LIGHT-POST mini

    a real one... Just like the £50 LIGHT-POST clear, but with a fraction of the battery capacity to reduce the cost and the weight (you will need to fit your own rechargeable AA cells inside). still clear anodized. variety of flash patterns. ~2hr use per charge. Choose from 27.2mm or 31.8mm tube diameter, and let me know if you need a shim as I can provide this free of charge with LIGHT-POSTS. Please also let me know your desired LIGHT-POST length and I will custom make this to your specification. saddle not included.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $66

    LIGHT-POST clear

    a real one...clear anodized. variety of flash patterns. ~30hr use per charge from 1600mAh li-ion cells. Choose from 27.2mm or 31.8mm tube diameter, and let me know if you need a shim as I can provide this free of charge with LIGHT-POSTS. Please also let me know your desired LIGHT-POST length and I will custom make this to your specification. saddle not included.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £70 or more About $93

    LIGHT-POST color

    spec per the LIGHT-POST clear
    + anodized in your choice of color + laser etched with your name or brand

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £85 or more About $113

    LIGHT-POST black

    spec per the LIGHT-POST color + This is the black anodized aluminium limited edition version that will ship with an exclusive sweeping up and down light sequence, just like Knight Rider's KITT (but without the sound!)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $133

    LIGHT-POST kickstarter

    spec per the LIGHT-POST color + This is the kickstarter limited edition that will exclusively ship in kickstarter green (anodized aluminium), and laser etched with "I kickstarted this" in white or grey on the front face of the LIGHT-POST tube (opposite the LEDs). This reward will ship before any other LIGHT-POST and will be a numbered first batch.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £125 or more About $166

    LIGHT-POST lite

    For ultra lightweight and stiffness, swap out the aluminium extruded tube for carbon fiber composite. we'll still bond in a cnc machined and anodized top saddle clamp in 7075 aluminium. with this lite reward, the battery capacity is much lower (though just as bright), just 2 hours before a recharge is needed, but the total weight is equally low! perfect for weight watchers...

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $199

    LIGHT-POST carbon

    For ultra stiffness, swap out the aluminium extruded tube for carbon fiber composite. we'll still bond in a cnc machined and anodized top saddle clamp in 7075 aluminium. battery capacity unchanged.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)