Introduction: Cheap and Simple LED Lamp

This is a very simple simple and affordable LED lamp I built for my shop. The size and shape can be customized however you want. The height of the lamp is also adjustable since it is suspended on chain. This allows me to have lamp lower when soldering tiny SMD components but also have it higher when I working on something big and need to stand in front of the desk.

I have decided to have 3 rows of LEDs just to eliminate any shadows since I'm going to be filming some more projects so you should totally check my youtube channel :P . If I just wanted to use it as regular lamp I'd do single center row which would be enough as well.

The design might not look very appealing , It has "industrial" look. Which is just fancy word for not putting much effort into it :D. But it gets the job done and having this in my shop I couldn't care less about what it looks like. On that of all that it is aluminium so the construction is solid and it's going to cool the LED extending the lifetime so I'm expecting this to work for a while.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

The aluminium profiles are up to you. I picked the cheap ones and they are still more than big enough. These were one of the smallest ones they had in a hardware store anyway.

Materials:

  • 30x2x1000mm flat aluminium profile. 3 pieces. Could be narrower(e.g. 15x2x1000)
  • 15x15x1mm meter long L shaped aluminium profile. 3 pieces
  • 3m of chain. Depends on the height of your ceiling.
  • LED strip. 5m in my case
  • M4 bolts and nuts + washers. Can be similar size as well
  • 2 hooks
  • wall mounting hardware. plastic anchors ans screws in my case.
  • 12V 3A wall adapter
  • cable
  • DC power connector. 5.5 x 2.1 mm female is most common. Should fit your wall adapter.
  • some zip ties.

Tools:

  • Drill
  • 4mm drill bit
  • countersink bit(optional)
  • handsaw
  • soldering iron, solder

Additionally you can add on/off switch for convenience. The wall adapter should be at least 3A for 5m LED strip if you're using shorter strip you can use wall adapter rated for less than 3A. The voltage should always be 12V.

Step 2: Prepare the Design

Picture of Prepare the Design

First step is to figure out exactly how you want it to look like. I wanted at least 3 separate rows and I knew I can put one on the wall. Mounting it to is very simple so there is not much to think about. The other 2 rows were a bit more complicated. I decided to hang them from ceiling on a chain which allows me to change the height of the lamp whenever I want.

The wall mounted LEDs are on a L shaped aluminum profile. One wall is housing the LED strip and other has holes for mounting.

The hanging part is just 2 flat profiles connected together to make them longer and they are then connected to third bar Using L shaped profile.

Step 3: Extending the Lamp

Picture of Extending the Lamp

Since I wanted my lamp to be 2 meter long and needed to connected 2 flat bard together. There are many way of doing this. I decided to cut little rectangle off of one flat bar. Next I cut 4 holes in each corners. I placed the 2 flat bars together touching the narrow side and placed the rectangle on the line where they meet. I traced out where the holes are and drilled them out. I was using 4 mm drill bit for all of them since I'm using M4 hardware.

This is going to result in the lamp being a bit shorter than 2 meters but I wasn't going for precision. Also 2 meters long and 2 mm thing the profile can flex a bit but don't worry about that. Were going to fix that in next step :)

Step 4: Angled Joint

Picture of Angled Joint

Next step is to connect our 2 meter and 1 meter bars together. I'm using L shaped profile to connect them together however since they are at an angle special cut needs to be made. First I have cut the L profile to two 35 cm long pieces since that's how far I wanted bars to be. Next on one end on each of the two pieces I have separated the 2 wall from each other so the profiles can be bend. Before bending I've used dremel to score a line where it would be bent. after bending the end of each profile to approximately 30 degrees(wasn't measured. just an angle that looked right) I have cut the other wall as with with dremel to have the same angle. Just look at the picture and it'll make sense.

With these 2 pieces I have just drilled holes on both ends and mounted that with M4 bolts and nut. This makes the entire construction quite rigid.

Step 5: 2 Chainz

Picture of 2 Chainz

It's time to hang the lamp. I actually got 4 meters of chain but needed less than 3 and the ceiling is like 2,20m so you should be good with that.

First problem with hanging this is that we can't run the chain to both end and be done with it will be tilting. Because of this I cut small about 40 cm long chain and I've them of the L shaped profile as seen on the picture. To connect the chain and frame I've used longer M4 bolt with washer. I wrapped the chain around washer and tied the and with zip ties. The chain is rated for 7 kg but the zip ties probably not. I'm sure there are better ways of doing this but since the lamp is really light zip ties are just fine.

After attaching the short chains it's time to add the long one. Before I attached anything however I first balanced the lamp in my hands holding it by the chains making sure it's leveled. I then marked where I was holding it. That's the place I attached the long chains.

Step 6: Wiring

Picture of Wiring

Before wiring anything the LED strip needs to be added. Almost all strips have adhesive back so it's just matter of peeling of the protective paper and placing the strip in place. When cutting the strip just make sure you're cutting in the designated area.

With all LEDs you just need to connected all positives together and do the same negative. There is not much into it. Just make sure each strip is connected with at least one other strip. After connecting the strips together you need to connect the to power supply. I'm using the power jack to do this. The center is usually positive and outer ring negative. You can connect the power jack anywhere on any strip. I connected my to one which is one the wall close to a socket so I can turn it on easily.

If you're feeling fancy you can have it connected if socket permanently and just install switch in series so it's even easier to turn on/off.

Step 7: Finishing

The lamp is pretty much. You just need to figure out where to run all the cables.

In my case I had to also remove all the bar codes which was surprisingly difficult and left residue behind :(

I know this isn't the prettiest lamp in the world but it took me just Friday and Saturday to build. On top of that it works really great. The light is very even throughout the entire table and there are almost no shadows which was one of the goal. I'll probably make an on/off switch too since connecting power jack is kind of annoying.

Let me know what you think about this and also please check the video for more details.

Comments

M F (author)2017-07-22

You did it right! By using lots of LEDs. Not only for no shadows, but more importantly: for Depth perseption.

Compared to standard glass light bulbs that give off full spectrum light,

LEDs give off a very thin light, which saves energy, but loses 3D perspective.

By this I mean, Depth Perseption.

expl. Take a single LED flashlight and try walking over rocks. Very scary,

Compared to a bright bulb or Halogen flashlight. I always tell people to buy flashlights or lamps with multiple LEDs. At least six, preferably more.

Now these are becoming popular.

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