Nite Lite - Elder Wand

Sriram Karthik Badam

Design Process and Sketches

The sketches from my ideation process were mostly inspired by fiction and a few times by natural things/shapes.

Playful Designs: Glowing tower, night owl, detachable magic wand, and the eye of sauron.

Pragmatic Designs: A screen with a flower, LED night light book stand, and a changing scenery. I really liked the idea of a book stand night light and I think it can be very useful.


Others: A glowing pokemon, moon scenery, batman projection night light, and a klein bottle with LEDs.


I was inclined towards choosing the magic wand because of its dual functionality to work as a stationary night light and also a portable light (to read books maybe). Based on the elder wand from Harry Potter, I created a 3D model on Autodesk 123D. Essentially, I split the wand into multiple cylinders, which can assembled together to form a single unit. This not only makes it easier to print the wand but also gives the option to replace parts and extend the wand size if needed, without compromising the structural integrity. Following this, I assembled a primary and secondary circuitry to create the dual functionality and placed it into the 3D printed parts to create the elder wand night light.

Overview of Designed Artifact:


The idea behind this night light design is to have a wand with dual functionality: as a stationary lamp and a portable light source (like a torch). The design is inspired by the elder wand from Harry Potter. When the wand is placed in the stand, a primary circuit, consisting of a 3V coin cell battery and a LED, is activated through capacitive strips at the end of the wand. When the wand is detached from the stand, the secondary circuit, consisting of a 3V battery, a button, and the LED, is activated. In the detached mode, the button press glows the LED.


Part's Role
Total Cost
3D Print
Parts of the elder wand
For the light in the nite lite
3V Batteries
Power source
Button, wiring, & other basic materials
Used to hook everything up





3D-Model and Schematic




  • The 3D printing process took a lot of time. Effectively, I spent about 30 hours with only one partly successful print. During this process, I did find a lot issues with the printer in HCIL (if you are reading this after April 2015, the printer must have been fixed but do keep these issues in mind). The extruder did not extract the filament sometimes, so I had to nudge the filament into the extruder during the print process. For one print, I found the filament was tangled in the filament roll, which I only noticed after unloading the filament. A couple of times, the printer would stop at 60% - 80% process and I still could not figure out why this happened (there was enough filament). I would recommend that before 3D printing always unload and load the filament just to make sure everything is fine.
  • I fried an Arduino Pro Mini by accident while connecting a preliminary version of the circuit (Apologies to Jon). I connected a 9V battery to the Arduino in reverse and the 9V is beyond the reverse voltage that an Arduino Pro Mini can handle. I did find a link , which describes how to still use the Arduino (with the fried voltage regulator) with the help of a series diode.


  • I realized that I should have started this project earlier. I worked on this over the weekend before the deadline and I did not have a chance to talk to Jon about my print failures.
  • I would have liked to add more interactivity to the night light. It can even have a hypnotic light pattern that can be soothing when you are trying to sleep.
  • On retrospect, I wish I had made more complex 3D shapes and tried printing them. This requires an accessible/working 3D printer that makes printing a part of the design process (not a service bought from others as it can increase the waiting time even more. Note that spending more money can be a deterrent on the design ideation process, but not during the further stages of development when you already decided the working model you want to create). Also, this requires good 3D modeling skills.

Here are a bunch of my failed prints.

Preliminary Prototype

Initially, I could not get all the parts 3D-printed in HCIL. So I had to build a preliminary prototype to show in class. Here are the pictures of the prototype and its schematic.





Better designs of elder wand (I did not use them because I wanted to have a modular design with parts that can be replaced):
Elderwand printrbot (supports needed for printing this)
Elderwand 2
Elderwand 3