A few months ago I was browsing online through some 3D models for 3D printing and I had the idea of making a cool rotating DNA Helix lamp. I was inspired by the traditional lava lamps but I wanted to do something a little bit different.

I thought about using glow in the dark filament to make the DNA Helix stand out when the lights were off. I also thought it would be cool to make the LEDs fade in and out to make a cool visual effect on the DNA, changing from glowing white to green, giving it the weird feeling of a mysterious evil experience or that it is alive somehow.

I also wanted to be able to choose if the LEDs were fading, or if they were always ON or OFF, and if the DNA was rotating or not, so I decided to add a push button to select the operation mode of the lamp, which would require a microcontroller to control all of this.

In this instructable, I'll be showing you how I did this lamp and how simple it is to do something cool and different, that you can do it too!

Step 1: Safety Info

    Okay, I know what you're thinking, but this is actually a very important step for this instructable! We're going to be handling several devices and tools that might need a special attention to avoid accidents:

    • First of all and probably the most important warning, Risk of Electric Shock. More ahead on this instructable we'll be dealing with Alternated Current Mains Voltage, which is extremely dangerous and must be handled with extreme caution! Your mains voltage is around 230VAC/115VAC depending on what country you're in, so pay a lot of attention to what you're doing, don't get distracted and if you are not sure about what you're doing, maybe you should stop and ask for help. Also be sure you have the power turned off and all your cables unplugged from the electric grid when working on the lamp.
    • Then we have Burn Hazard, this may sound obvious, but it's usually when we feel most comfortable about something that accidents happen. We'll be using more than one tool that have really hot parts, in particular the soldering iron, the hot glue gun and eventually a 3D printer. They all have some parts that can reach really high temperatures, so pay special attention when working with any of them!
    • And finally the more basic but not necessarily less important warning like Using Eye Protection when using machinery. Specially if you're using some kind of cutting tool or power tool, which may send things flying around uncontrolled.

    Remember, safety first!

    <p>Thanks for the awesome idea! I made this for my biologist girlfriend and she loved it. </p><p>Mine uses RGB LEDs and uses a 5v stepper motor so mains voltage is not needed. The helix is made from coiled copper tube connected with plastic tube and a lot of 2 part epoxy putty. Its all inside a glass vase and a plastic project box. </p><p><br><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/l1UGSFFS7S4" width="500"></iframe></p>
    <p>That's pretty awesome! Nice build :P</p>
    <p>Stellar project! TFS \m/</p>
    <p>Thank you Lori! :)</p>
    <p>I'm in the United States and new to this kind of electronics work. Which kind of adapter will I need, and will it fit in the lamp base you've designed? My son and I want to give this very cool project a try!</p>
    <p>Hello! That's a very good question. What you need is any kind of adapter that will convert 110VAC to 5VDC with a power of around 3.5W (700mA) or more. Regarding dimensions, mine was about 65x30x25mm, the base has space for something a little bigger, but not much more, so I would advise getting something equal or smaller. I think these should work and are quite smaller than the one I used:<a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=5v+power+supply+110v&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X5v+power+supply+110v+700mA.TRS0&_nkw=5v+power+supply+110v+700mA&_sacat=0" style="">http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=5v+power+supp...</a></p><p>Since you're new with electronics, remember to be careful, you'll be working with AC voltage, which is quite dangerous, take the appropriate precautions, always work with everything turned off and plugged out from the mains supply. Don't touch anything and keep a distance when plugging it in for the first time. Have fun :)</p>
    <p>can u make it whit a arduino mini?</p>
    <p>As long as you use the same pins it should work ;)</p>
    <p>this application definitely deserves maglev stands<br>http://www.ebay.de/itm/ZM-4PCS-D48-H40-Sound-Isolation-Spikes-Maglev-feet-HIFI-audio-Stand-mat-/321726354843?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&amp;hash=item4ae862959b</p>
    <p>Yeah, that would be a great idea!</p>
    <p>This is so cool</p>
    <p>Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!</p>
    <p>Outstanding instructions. Thank you for sharing!</p>
    <p>Thank you. You're welcome!</p>
    <p>WOW ! First Class <strong><em>Instructable</em></strong>. I get my Piranha FX in August so this will be on my build-it list. I've never built anything with the Ardunio yet, so this will be a great project. I Voted for it, too.</p><p> Thank You !</p>
    <p>Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked it ;) Arduino is very simple to use and in case of doubt there's plenty of information on the web. Thanks!</p>
    <p>To guarantee stability of the helix, I would have a bearing supporting it at the top. The top cap will hide this. A projection from the center of the top bar, could protrude up into a hole in the top. This would prevent the helix from moving sideways at the top, providing support for it, and keeping it centered. It would also correct for any &quot;out of square-ness&quot; of the motor mount.</p>
    <p>That's a good idea, it would definitively improve the stability of the piece while keeping it centered. </p>
    <p>Beautiful work and it looks ready for market. This is one of the best 'ibles I've seen so far and I've seen a good 80% of them working my way to 99%. </p><p>If I were designing the DNA part, I would make the base-pairs different colors and make it accurate to one particular trait, like eye-color.</p><p>Thanks for a well thought out 'ible.</p>
    <p>Thank you! I was aiming at a well documented intructable. Yes, by the end of it, I concluded the same, it would be better do make it different colors. The particular trait idea would actually be a great feature!</p>
    <p>Great instructable! A multidisciplinary work and an hypnotizing result. Very well sctructured documentation. Congratz!</p>
    <p>Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it!</p>
    <p>Well done! :D<br>i think i'll try to make one for me :D</p>
    <p>Thanks! ;)</p>
    Great instructable! Cool design and idea.
    <p>Thank you!</p>
    <p>Great instructable and very detailed steps, can't wait to make one :)</p>
    <p>Thank you! You should do it!</p>
    <p>thank you! great work!</p>
    This is awesome!!!!!!!! I so need to make this!!!! Well done eLab!!!!!!
    <p>Thank you very much!</p>
    <p>Really though you use RGB for this. Using UV was a refreshing touch !</p><p>Wish I had a 3D printer :(</p>
    <p>Yes I wanted it to be different. The UV LEDs give it a different feel! Thanks ;)</p>
    Just amazing work all around! I will definitely be making one of these when I get my printer!
    <p>Thank you!</p>
    <p>Very cool looking! You could get part of your DNA sequenced (in some countries you can get it done for cheap and I saw an instructable about that recently..) and then using that sequence to model a more accurate model of your <em>own</em> DNA and make a very very customized lamp ;)</p>
    <p>Thanks! Yes I've seen that in another instructable too, it would be a cool idea!</p>
    <p>3D printing always fascinates me!! Amazing work :D</p>
    <p>It is a very fascinating technology! Thank you very much ;)</p>
    <p>very cool</p>
    <p>This thing is amazing! You just brought a brand new product to life by making it from scratch, incredible job, and I love the animated GIF! Worth a vote for sure!</p>
    <p>Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked it!</p>
    You sir just made my urge to get a 3d printer so much higher
    <p>Thanks! It allows us to create amazing stuff.</p>
    <p>Wow! Truly amazing engineering and documentation work. And great looks as well! Congratz for this great instructable!</p>
    <p>Thank you very much!</p>

    About This Instructable




    Bio: eLab Hackerspace
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