This empty pimiento jar has been in our Tupperware drawer for a while. One day I looked at it and thought "That would make a cool motorcycle taillight".
I ordered up a LED Supernova Brake Light from Revival Cycles. Its got three really bright red LEDs in a nice aluminum housing.
Just to see if this would work I drilled a hole in the jar's lid.
And attached the LEDs. This could work. Now the glass needs to be red.
No problem. VHT Nite-Shades is a transparent spray paint specifically for painting taillights.
As you can see from the picture, the paint didn't go down very well. The paint didn't come out of the nozzle well and I was left with little dark red specks all over the jar. It may have had something to do with the fact that it was about 40 degrees out when I painted it and the spray can specifically says to do it above 60. Oops.
Kinda looks like a strawberry.
After consulting the interwebs, I learned that some people do some wet sanding with 2000 grit sandpaper after using the Nite-shades to smooth things up a bit.
I sat in front of the TV with a basin of water and started sanding. Almost immediately I knew this was not going to turn out well. Some of the paint came off completely so it was clear again. Other places became hazy. I started thinking to myself "I wish I could powder coat this thing because everything I powder coat turns out awesome".
After consulting the interwebs again, I learned that it was in fact possible to powder coat glass. So I sanded off all of the Nite-shades to start over. Why I didn't just buy another $2 jar of pimientos instead of spending 45 minutes sanding the paint off of this one, I'll never know.
I ordered some translucent red powder from Eastwood.
It looked pretty pink, but I gave Eastwood the benefit of the doubt.
In order to get the jar to hold a charge, I jammed it full of aluminium foil.
Then I stuck some electric fence wire into the bottom in order to hang it and to give me something to attach my electrode to. I preheated the jar in the oven, took it out, hung it up, and attached my electrode.
Since the glass was already hot the powder started to flow out immediately. As soon as it started turning red I knew this thing was going to look awesome.
It looked so good I practically watched it bake for the full 20 minutes.
Amazing. If you have a piece of glass that needs to be a translucent color, I cannot recommend powder coating enough. It doesn't just look like I painted the glass red, it looks like red glass.
With the glass sorted, I turned my attention back to the lid. First, I powdercoated it black.
Then I added a bit of aluminum tape to the underside of the lid just to add a bit of reflectivity.
The LED taillight has a hollow threaded stud on the back that the wiring runs through. Here I just threaded on a nut to hold it to the lid, but eventually the nut will hold it on the bike's plastic tail piece. Nice and simple.
Sure, this looks like any number of cheap taillights I could have bought ready made, but I'm pretty darn proud of my pimiento jar taillight. At least I know I'll never see another one like it.
But does it work?
I hooked up a 9V battery to test it. Looks pretty good.
You don't get the sense of it from the picture, but this thing is super bright. The drivers of the cars behind me are going to have red dots in their eyes even after I take my foot off the brake.