Instructables

Another idea for under cabinet lighting

This is my take on making your own under cabinet lighting, also known as kitchen task lights.

I made the task lights from C6 mini LED Christmas lights, bought on "after holiday" special.

I will be using acrylic strips cut from scraps left over from another job to mount the LEDs.

In case anyone is wondering, I am renovating the kitchen as money allows. And since this is a working kitchen, there is bound to be a few things sitting on the counter. Yes, those are custom built cabinets, that I made. To see more of them, check out our website.

Total cost for this project comes in at around $3 per unit, not including the build time. The most expensive part of the system is the $15 universal adapter bought from wallyworld.

Anyway, on with the show.

My first instructable, so have fun with the rating wars for good or bad!

I'll try to answer any questions anyone might have about this or the cabinets. When the weather warms a bit, I will try to put together another instructable showing how I build the cabinetry.
 
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Step 1: Harvesting the LEDs

This is an example of the type of lights I am making the task lights with.

On these, the teardrop jewel is just pressed into the lamp base, easy to pull apart.

The leads are then bent straight, and the LED removed from the base.
kansas kate4 years ago
Hey Charlie, Very cool! I have the same problem of needing the strings of lights broken up and not a lot of $$$. Your wife is lucky and you must be a patient soul. Great, detailed write up and pictures. Thank you!
hobbygirl454 years ago
Ok, this really has nothing to do with the lights. It has to do with the emory cloth. I have a soldering iron that I cannot seem to get tinned. Where did you get the emory cloth and is there a certain grit I should look for? I love the instructable, by the way. Thank you for sharing. :)
Pardon my jumping in, but while emory cloth (sandpaper) will remove the corrosion from a soldering tip, it's also very hard on the plating which should be there.

Two old technician's tricks (from an old technician) might be helpful. First, pick up a "sal ammoniac block" from an electronics parts store, stained glass supply shop, or plumbing supply place. Rubbing a hot corroded soldering tip on sal ammoniac removes the corrosion and restores the tip so it'll take a nice tinning again. Sal ammoniac blocks are harmless and very cheap, and one will probably last most people a lifetime. Second, instead of tinning your soldering tip with the solder you normally use, tin it with solder which has a higher melting temperature, such as silver solder with a high silver content. You might need a torch to get the tip hot enough for the high temperature solder to "take," but once it's tinned with that, the tinning will last *much* longer than when done with your lower-temperature "regular" solder. The best policy is to buy a new tip for your iron, pre-tin that with high-temp silver solder, and then use the sal ammoniac block to wipe off the tip while you're soldering.
charlie_r (author)  gafisher4 years ago
Thank you for that, I will have to see if it's available in my local area. Truthfully, I had never heard of that technique for keeping an iron in good condition.
charlie_r (author)  hobbygirl454 years ago
The emory cloth comes from plumbing supply store, you can get it at most well stocked hardware stores and home improvement centers (menards, home depot, etc) buyable in 30 ft rolls or some places will sell by the foot. As for grit, any grit 120 or above will work. Option: purchase a 5 pack of wet/dry sandpaper with medium, fine and extra fine grits.
missplumeau4 years ago
Nice Instructable! I am re-doing my kitchen and looking around to find clever lighting ideas. I had thought of the LED ropes but I came to the same conclusion as yours. As far as the screw base LED bulbs, I found this a few days ago and will be tinkering with it soon:
http://www.instructables.com/id/THE-LED-LIGHTBULB/
Regnar5 years ago
Not to take away from your instructable but you could do the same thing with LED rope light and save yourself a lot of hassle. I did it with my kitchen and the results look the same and they are waterproof.
charlie_r (author)  Regnar5 years ago
I did think about that, and you are right, for some situations that would work. However,there would be one problem for me. The shape and layout of our kitchen dictates that the uppers be broken up, not in one contiguous line. The rope lights I have check on are all one set length, which would force me into either cutting them into smaller strips, or doubling them under some areas making the light output splotchy, at best. I also looked into the cuttable premade strips, but found them to be rather pricey. As it is, I have only a few $$ and a few hours time invested in this. Much less than what it would have cost me otherwise. The final kicker is that my wife likes what I've done, and to me that is the most important part. I was only trying to share what I did for our custom built kitchen, with this instructable.
I got the same coffee cup myself. Always filled too. Must be a job thing or something. Nice Idea and detail. How many of these are you putting up in the kitchen?
charlie_r (author)  atombomb19455 years ago
As far as the cup goes, let me put it this way: there is no such thing as ex- military, at least not in my family. I am proud of my service, even though it was between wars. There will be one under each section of uppers, scaled to fit the area. Am thinking about embedding more single LEDs elsewhere in the woodwork for accent lighting. If I can figure out a cheap way to make my own screw base bulbs, I would love to replace all the incandescent bulbs in the house.
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