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As far as I know this is not true - the battery packs used in laptops are sometimes based on cylindrical cells stacked on end. However it is usually necessary to make connections to both ends of each cell so you can't just shove them in a tube. If this is a commercial project then talk to a battery packaging company - there are lots who buy in cells and make them up into packs. Be careful - high power Lithium Ion batteries can cause a lot of grief - look at Samsung for a textbook case of how to lose a few billion $ from a bad battery.
Whatever you do please don't use cheap 18650 cells from unknown sources - they are often very poor and dangerous.
Thanks so much for the response and well noted on the Samsung deal. I've already found a few of the battery packaging companies to take the project up with. Also put my son on this forum. He's into arduino and all things electronics.
I'm new to the forum but am happy I found it. Ton of information! I am not an engineer but have been working around product design for the last 10 years. I am working on a new project where I am trying to fill a 1" hollow tube with enough battery power to run a 30w LED for 60 minutes. I'm being told that the batteries cannot run one on top of the other to fit within the tube but can only run next to one another. Hence, eliminating my concept of adding these things into a tube like a flashlight.
Sorry for the newness and probably not technical wording.. but I'm hoping someone out there can help with some advice.