Goggles with LED Illuminated Crosshairs

[Update: this project arose after watching a “planning thread” on a steampunk forum carry on for over six weeks, with copious sketches, insightful debate and much mincing about over making goggles with an illuminated cross-hair pattern. “Enough!”, I said, “Quit planning and just DO IT! It’s something you could knock out in a weekend if you just quit planning to do something and actually do it!” So I did it, imperfectly, to demonstrate. I have tangible results, not just a bunch of sketches and planning.]

Time to construct: 5 hours, including parts gathering and loafing.

Materials required:

  1. Welding Goggles w/clear polycarbonate lens (only ones at HomeDepot)
  2. X-acto knife
  3. Steel rule
  4. 3 x Super-bright red LEDs (smt, 1210 size)
  5. 30 AWG wire
  6. 3 volt 2032 button battery
  7. Cellophane tape, super glue, epoxy putty (dab)
  8. Soldering iron, solder


Make a simple pattern for cross-hairs on paper. Tape the clear plastic lens to the paper over the pattern. Line up the steel rule with the pattern from the opposite side of the lens and carefully scratch/scribe the design into the plastic lens. It doesn’t have to be deep, just clear.

Remove the lens from the paper and make notches the size of the smt LED in the edge of the lens. Place very tiny (sub-drop) dabs of superglue into the notches. Place the LEDs into the notches with the anodes/cathodes aligned: cathodes all on the same side of the lens, anodes on the other sides. The length of the LED is very nearly the same as the thickness of the lens. Allow the super glue to cure.

Strip several inches of the 30 gauge wire. Carefully tin the terminals of the LEDs, then connect all the anodes to one short length of the wire, all the cathodes to the other short length of wire.

Strip just the very tips of two more lengths of wire, and tack them to the ends of both the cathode and anode wires (different colors would be nice for identification, but not critical). Take a pinch of the epoxy putty and make a little ‘snake’ about the thickness of the lens. Press this down over all the exposed wires and LEDs on the lens, pressing it thin to bond to the edge of the lens to protect and secure the wiring and LEDs. Let the putty cure.

Flipped up (from bottom)

Mount the lens in the flip-up frame of the goggles, and dress the wires back to the main body of the goggles. Poke a tiny hole into one of the ventilation channels on top of the goggles, and thread the cathode and anode wires through. Strip the ends. Attach a switch if needed, or just roll the ends of the wires into loops. Tape the loops onto opposite sides of the 2032 battery and cram the wire and battery into one of the ventilation channels on top of the goggles.


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