Container5gal buckets

LightingLED chips

LightingCPU Heatsink

Side-Lighting5050SMD LEDs

Airflow8x8 fans

MAIN BUCKET The main body of the bucket uses two Ropak branded 5-gal buckets. These are super, super, super thick. I chose to use these since the bucket will be carved up and drilled full of holes. Since paint is reluctant to stick to HDPE, I heat treat the surface, apply adhesion promoter and then paint with Krylon fusion matte white paint (more details here). The resultant surface isn't noticeably less durable than any other painted surface.
LIGHT PROOF Painting HDPE is tricky, the paint scrapes off. There is a solution: flame treat the surface. I used automotive adhesion promoter and krylon fusion paint. The end result is pretty amazing and I have zero concerns about the durability. Highly recommended!

Hey everyone! It has taken only several months, but I'm super happy with the way it has turned out. It has been a blast to plan, work out some interesting solutions and build. I think for the most part, this bucket is complete... save for some tweaks. Lots of lessons were learned and lots of things I would do differently however, that is probably best left for Bucket #2 (and that begins with more 3D models!). The truth: many design decisions came down to 'would this look badass?'

  1. Yes -> hell yeah!
  2. No -> how can one make this look more awesome?


The lights are 4x 100w eBay warm white LEDs running at 30W each. Thermal switches are mounted on the back of the heatsinks. Discussion for mounting considerations, assembly of hardware, placement and justification can be found in here and here. They are housed inside a 2.5-Gal bucket. The idea is to follow UFO lights in function. I think this image is most illustrative. Air is drawn through the bucket, through the heatsinks and expelled by the exhaust ducted to the top. This also cools the drivers which are mounted on top of the heatsink. A 10-inch pan lid is used to make the reflector. I cut the holes with a hole saw... it was an adventure. Bonus: The light-top assembly is modular and can be plopped onto other types of enclosures like Brute buckets!

I'm also using 5 meters of warm white 5050 waterproof strip lighting which is mounted on 1.25-inch x 1/16-inch aluminum bar as a heatsink. I went with the 5050's because of heat concerns. I live in a cold-cold place with people who do not like the cold so even in winter, my ambient temperatures hover at 30C. Of course, the easiest solution would be to deal with the ambient temperature first, but, this will be an iterative process. The ends and cables are sealed with silicon and adhesive lined heatshrink.


The junction box is used to hide various electronics and other gadgets and is mounted using various pieces of bent aluminum flatbar. Did I mention flatbars are pretty sweet? The dimmer is for the LED strips which is likely to be replaced with a resistor very soon. Unfortunately the temp/humidity monitor has only a probe for temperature and not for humidity thus it is measuring humidity inside the junction box and not the bucket. Behind the junction box is the passive intake. The intake is covered by a filter which is removable from inside the bucket. Flanges on the side of the mounting bracket act as light baffles/hoods. The glow from the bottom is for visual effect!