Introduction: ChandiliBeer: the LED Beer Bottle Chandelier
I've always wanted to make something like this and it really wasn't as hard as I originally thought. It's a classy up cycling for old used bottles and material and it's a fun build for a hackerspace lounge
Step 1: Materials
The first step here is the most fun. You need to acquire empty beer bottles. One problem I find is beer bottles are full when you buy them, so you may need help from some friends to empty them and have some good times.
Note: you can always scavenge recycling bins and this works with any glass bottle beverage including soda for our underage readers. Soda in glass has made a comeback and become quite trendy so your local grocery store should have glass cokes and other sodas. Get creative.
SAFETY NOTE: Please don't drink and Dremel. Your fingers and other body parts are important to finishing the project, and many other things in life. Always follow the safety guidelines on any tool, and wear personal protective equipment. At MakerBar, we make this equipment available for you. Also, the best safety device is between your ears, so don't forget to use it! Stop and think before using power tools and if it doesn't seem safe don't do it!
Once you have the beer bottles emptied (and are sober enough), you need to give them a thorough cleaning. Rinse them out but preserve the labels of desired.
In this I used 8 brown Brooklyn lager bottles to make the main layer of the chandelier.
Beer bottles (the number is up to you. I used 8 per ring).
Thin MDF board or plywood (1/8" - 1/4 " thickness should be enough)
LED's and hookup wire
3V power source (Wall wort or power supply, to be discussed later)
Wire rope for hanging it up (with clips)
Dremel rotary tool (we used the Dremel 4000)
Dremel grinding wheel
Dremel sanding drum with 120 grit rolls (If you run out you can make them: (Travis from MakerBar wrote a great tutorial here: https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Dremel-Sanding-Bands/)
Dremel circle cutter attachment
Dremel Spiral flute up cut router bit
Soldering iron and solder
Wire strippers and snips
Hot glue gun with glue sticks
Drill with hole saw (size to fit bottle neck or about 3/4")
Pliers (for ease of bending bailing wire)
Large cardboard box to make bottle cutting enclosure
Wooden dowel or pipe that fits inside bottle neck
Painters tape or masking tape
Bucket of water (for quenching glass between cuts)
Heavy work gloves
Dust mask --glass dust is dangerous!
Step 2: Making the Glass Cutting Jig
In my chandelier, I wanted the light to point downward so I decided to remove the bottoms of the brown bottles. This normally would be a daunting task because the glass is very thick at the bottom.
When cutting glass with a Dremel, it's going to propel glass everywhere, so in order to prevent making a huge dangerous mess, I decided to enclose the area with a box for cutting and sanding the glass.
Clamping the box to a table, cut a hole in each side of the box to fit the rod or dowel loosely. I used this dowel (an old drumstick or piece of electrical conduit worked great) as a spindle to hold the bottle from inside the neck. Wrap tape around the very end of the dowel until it fits just snugly inside the bottle and holds it. Then wrap another thicker wrap above that tape wrap to prevent the dowel from going all the way into the bottle. Voila! You have a bottle cutting jig.
I liked to use the right hand side of the box to poke the spindle through and hold the bottle in my right hand and the Dremel in my right hand and rotate the bottle against the spinning Dremel.
I used the Dremel EZ-lock spindle with the metal grinding wheel. Even though the diamond wheel would probably be a better choice, the metal grinding wheel made short work of the bottles.
To use the EZ-Lock spindle, open the collet but on the Dremel while holding the spindle lock and put the EZ-lock mandrel into the collet. Then using a wrench tighten the collet but and release the spindle lock.
The key here is patience. Set the tool at about 30,000 rpm and score it once around lightly, taking small arks and double back on the marks you made. I usually only rotated through about a 1/4 turn each pass. As you get more comfortable you can get faster at it. Keep going around until the bottom just drops off. Make sure you are holding the bottle far enough into the box to ensure when this happens that it doesn't sneak out and fall onto the floor.
When the bottle is gone, I switched sides of the box. With the sanding drum I held the bottle mandrel in my left hand and the Dremel with sanding drum in my right. I sanded a chamfer on the outside of the bottle, the end of the bottle, and the inner lip of the bottle in three separate groups of passes. Slow and steady wins the race.
The bottle glass will heat up when cutting and sanding. You can periodically cool it down by removing the mandrel from the box and dunking it in a bucket of room temperature water. This is also good for removing most of the glass dust though you will still need to rinse them at the end.
Continue this until all the bottoms are removed.
You can save these and sand them/drill holes in them and hang them in parts of your chandelier but I chose to keep my build simple. Sort of like those old style candle rings hung by heavy chains. Real medieval man-cave style.
Step 3: Making the Ring(s)
So in order to hold the bottles in formation, you need a ring (or several). I chose MDF about 1/4" thick for this purpose. The Dremel spiral up cutting router bit was perfect for this material.
First, clamp the MDF to the work table. Next, remove the accessory nut from the nose of the Dremel and attach the circle cutter attachment. Unscrew the sliding part of the arm and turn it over so the spike points towards the cutting end of the Dremel and reattach the adjustment screw. Load the routing bit into the Dremel and tighten it well.
This cutter has both a depth adjustment and a radius adjustment screw. Set the depth to just below the thickness of MDF to ensure the tool cuts all the way through.
For my outer ring, I set the Dremel circle cutter to the largest radius it can cut. This produced roughly a 1' diameter circle. The marks are listed in CM on the side. Always cut the big circle first! In this application we need a donut shape (mmmm donuts).
First mark out a spot where the center of the circle will go such that it will fit on the square piece. Then using a drill (or your Dremel since you've got it set up) put a hole at that center. Use this hole to put the pivot pin on the circle cutter to make the ring. With the Dremel on, place this pin carefully into the hole and begin cutting. Again patience is a virtue and give the tool a chance to clear the chips between passes. Cut all the way around.
Next, using the same hole, clamp the circle to the table and adjust the radius such that it gives you about an inch and a half less radius than the max (about 3cm). Cut the next circle similarly.
Next we have to make the holes for the bottles. Since I used 8 I just had to draw my four center lines on the ring and mark the centers to drill. Make them about halfway between the inner and outer ring.
Using the drill with a home saw attachment, drill out these holes. Place a piece of scrap wood beneath the MDF to prevent the bottom from tearing out when the drill cuts through. Every few holes, remove the plugs from the home saw. Save these!! Waste not. These will become handy 5mm LED mounts!
Once you have all these holes, you are then ready to move forward. Now you are done with power too and can have another beer.
Step 4: Putting It Together
So you've got your glass and rings prepared and a beer in hand, and it's time to put this together. Bailing wire is quite versatile but I'm sure there are other nicer craft wires you could also use. But this is a hacker-man's chandelier of beer, so cheers to bailing wire!
Make the bailing wire approximately 4x the length of the bottle for each bottle. This comes to about 6' or just pull with one hand and stretch your arms out all the way and pinch the other end and cut it there.
Bend the wire in half and insert the folded end through the open bottom of the bottle until it pokes out the top of the neck. Hold this loop with one hand while you bend the ends of the bailing wire up around the side of the bottle.
Next, while holding the bailing wire, put the neck of the bottle through a hole in your ring. Make sure one wire end goes inside the ring and another goes outside. Then insert one end through the front of the loop of wire and the other through the back. Twist these securely together. Voila! This is pretty sturdy in this configuration.
Twist the rest of the wire together--don't trim it! This will eventually let us bring all the bottles together before we make a loop at the center to hang it from. Now do this with all the rest of the bottles. Then bring all the balling wire twists to the middle, twist them together, and add more bailing wire to weave and bind them together into a loop.
Got it? Nice. Now time for some LEDs. Using those handy dandy perfectly bottle neck sized hole saw scraps with a 1/4" hole in the middle--perfectly sized for most 5mm LEDs-- we are going to hot glue one LED into the hole in each MDF donut. When this dries then we will hot glue each led filled donut to the top of each bottle, led head pointing down (legs sticking up). You may have to push the bailing wire to the inside edge of the rim of the bottle neck but it should work of you force it and use a good sized bead of hot glue.
Once all the LEDs are in place, it's time to wire 'em up. Wire all the long legs of the led's together by daisy chaining short wire segments together, and wire all the short legs (grounds) together also with another daisy chain of wire. Attach a really long length of wire to the last one in your chain (or the first or any one really) and solder all these connections together. You can electrical tape the connections or cover them with hot glue or heat shrink but it's not necessary so long as the leads aren't touching.
Now, you need a 3V power supply. Depending on your LEDs you may need higher currents but I got away with a 3V 350 mA wall wort from the junk pile. If you use power greater than 3V you may need to regulate it down with a 3803 chip, or other means. If you don't want to worry about it you can get a 3V supply from RadioShack. Wire this to your extra long wire. And voila!
Step 5: Hanging It Up and Enjoying It
You've earned another beer break in the glow of your awesome creation. Have a cold one and turn the lights off and the chandeliBeer on. Enjoy that abmer glow.
Now you and some friends can hang this puppy up. I used some aircraft cable and some u shaped clips with threaded nuts to make two loops on the end of approx 6' of wire. I passed the wire (with it's looped ends) over an I beam and clipped both ands with a caribiner clip. I then clipped the caribiner to the loop in the bailing wire. With zip ties I attached the write to the bailing wire and the wire rope and across an existing conduit along the I beam. There are many ways to hang this and even garden plant hangers and probably other devices at your local Home Depot could help hang this masterpiece.
I hope you enjoy a lot of cold ones under this cool chandelier. I know I will. We would also like to thank Instructables and Dremel for sponsoring the Build Night which made this project happen. And of course, MakerBar is open every Wednesday and Friday at 7pm for your hacking diy fix and we'd love to see you there!