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A cheap and effective mini spotlight! Ideal for Stop-motion animation.

Picture of A cheap and effective mini spotlight! Ideal for Stop-motion animation.
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This is an Instructable on how to build a small, effective spotlight that's ideal for stop-motion animations and photography.

You'll need very few ingredients and about 10-15 minutes of free time.

It's basically a cover that fits over your lamp and condenses it's usual wide-spread rays of light into a much smaller area.
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
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You will need the following items:

- A lamp (preferably one that's fairly flexible-poseable)

- Some masking/packing/clear tape

- A cereal box or other thin cardboard

- An empty kitchen/toilet roll tube (the longer the tube, the smaller the patch of light)

- Scissors

- A knife

- A drawing implement

Optional Extra: A circle cutter (Handy for the hole that the tube fits into)



-:IMPORTANT:- The bulb in your light MUST be energy saving. Regular bulbs will get too hot and you will risk setting things on fire.
I have used an energy saving bulb in mine for hours and barely even gets warm.

Step 2: Marking the cover.

Picture of Marking the cover.

This step is very simple. Place the shade of your lamp onto the cardboard and use your drawing implement to draw around the shade.
You should get a correctly sized circle!

Make sure you leave about 2 inches of card all the way round, you'll see why in the next step...

Step 3: Making the 'fringe' Pt. 1.

Picture of Making the 'fringe' Pt. 1.

Remember leaving a 2 inch border?
Well, now we utilise that to mark another ring, 2 inches out from your original ring and then cut along that line. (The dotted line in the picture)

Don't worry, it doesn't have to be exact, a rough cut will do.

Step 4: Making the 'fringe' Pt. 2.

Picture of Making the 'fringe' Pt. 2.

Now for the flaps!
Cut flaps into the 2 inch fringe with your scissors.

I would recommend cutting first at the top, then the bottom, then halfway down each side and then keep bisecting the space between cuts with another cut until you have about 16 flaps. (Follow the numbers on the image)

Now fold all of these flaps down to make a sort of shallow dish. This is what will slot over your lampshade to control the flow of light.

You will also need to mark a rough central point.

Step 5: Marking the Tube-hole.

Picture of Marking the Tube-hole.

The tube-hole is the hole that the tube will be inserted into. It needs to be placed through the centre of your cover and touch up against the bulb for maximum effectiveness.

Place the tube onto the centre of your cover and draw around it with your drawing implement.

Step 6: Cutting the Tube-hole.

Picture of Cutting the Tube-hole.

Use the knife to carefully cut out a circle in the centre of the cover. If possible, try to cut JUST inside the line that you marked to ensure a nice snug fit.

Optional Extra: Measure the diameter of the tube and use your circle cutter to get a nice, exact circle removed!

Your cover should now vaguely resemble this:

Step 7: Finishing Off.

Picture of Finishing Off.

Now all there is to do is insert the tube and then tape your wonderful construction onto your lamp!

You can either wrap tape around and over the flaps, or tape the flaps to the surface of your lamp. The latter will give stronger results; it just depends whether you mind putting tape all over your lampshade. (Masking tape is good for that, because it won't leave behind any residue.)


Step 8: You're done!

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Well done! You now have an excellent spotlight, for almost nothing!

If you aren't lucky enough to have a flexible light, then there's still some mileage in wriggling the tube from side to side and positioning it that way.

Final notes:-
- Don't use hot bulbs,
- Make sure it's touching up against your (not super-hot) bulb or it'll move very easily if nudged (something excruciatingly annoying when you want a stationary light source in an animation)
- And lastly, enjoy!
deco20041 year ago
Change your name
insomniaSAH5 years ago
if the images are anything to go off of, I'm vaguely interested in seeing this stop motion xD
bad ass pope (author)  insomniaSAH5 years ago
Well, you can see the first 47 seconds of it here. I'm working on it at them moment, but I'm not sure when it'll be fully finished. I'll post it up on here when it's complete though, if you'd like? Thanks for showing an interest :-)
I like it.....
bad ass pope (author)  SicilianMafia5 years ago
Thanks :-)