The masification of new information storage media have pretty much rendered obsolete CD and their variants (DVD, etc.). There are a lot of projects out there that use this durable, reflective material in different ways, and well.. this is another one of those. Using parts of upcycled or recycled CDs, 24 LEDs and some variable lenghts of fiber optic cable, this lamp permits some experimentation with the lighting effects produced by this combination of materials.
project duration: 4.5 hours roughly [that´s how long it took me to do it the first time around anyways]
- at least three CDs, DVDs or other data storage media
- light switch
- LED strip 24 diodes
- transformer 9v depending on the LED strip
- luminous fiber optic cable 2meters roughly
- EVA foam 2mm thickness roughly
- box cutter
- wire cutter
- dremel and accesories
- silicon glue
- masking tape
- soldering iron
Step 1: Cutting the Lamp Base
The first thing I did was to to cut the CD´s according to the printed out templates I generated which you can download at the end of this instructable or get them here*.
I used a box cutter since i´m pretty comfortable with that tool, but you could also use a dremel or with some care maybe a miter saw of some sort, although you might want to watch out, since each CD is composed of layers, too much vibration during the cutting process may result in the CD splitting completely, something to keep in mind for another project maybe...
Step 2: Cut and Paste EVA Foam Base
since i printed out two copies of the template, i was able to use the second one to trace (using a box cutter) the pattern for the "anti slip" pad that i later glued onto the bottom of the lamp base... although i hadn´t orginally considered it to be more than an aesthetic detail, the pad surface actually does help firm up the base a little bit more...
if you want to save the extra sheet of paper, you could also use the actual base for the lamp as a template to cut around...
Step 3: Cutting the Exterior Walls
To cut the exterior walls of the lamp, first I separated the patterns from the template sheet and stuck them to one of the CDs using masking tape. Make sure that the CD lines up with the pattern before fixing it in place with the masking tape. Then i cut the CD in half with the box cutter, scoring the line several times as not to exert too much pressure on the disc. Once you have both halves, choose one to make the front wall and past it onto the pattern that looks like it has a window in it.
Flipping the disc over, i cut out the window that´ll get filling in later with another piece of EVA foam. This part is a little trickier and could also be done with a dremel probably.
Step 4: Closing the Window
Using the leftover piece of CD i traced around the shape on the leftover EVA foam to make the window cover. I left roughly 1cm of margin around the edges to make taping it to the inside easier. I chose masking tape to attach the window to the first exterior wall to prevent light leaking through once the whole thing was assembled.
Step 5: Drilling Holes in the Back Wall
The back wall of the lamp is the left over half CD from step 3. Paste it onto the pattern and with a dremel or other drill make the indicated perforations. Since the dremel heats up the plastic as it drills through, there may be some buildup around the edges of the holes, you can break them off pretty easily just rubbing you fingers across them or use the box cutter in the cases where the build up doesn´t just fall away. Once you´re done making all the holes, check to make sure the fiber optic cable is a tight fit. I used 3mm thick fiber optic cable.
Step 6: Cutting the Interior Wall
This wall goes between the other two and serves as a support for the string of LED bulbs. Take the corresponding template and paste it to another CD. Cut out the exterior profile, you don´t really have to take too much care on this part since it´ll be hidden on the inside of the lamp anyway.
Step 7: Drilling Holes in the Interior Wall
Once you have the outer shape cut out, then you can start drilling the holes into this piece as well. The diameter of the holes matches the LED string and turned out to be roughly 5mm. Fortunately i had an old worn out dremel bit that fit perfectly, but i´m pretty sure you could do the same thing with some other tool. In this case there was a lot of built up plastic around the edges of the perforations, easy enough to get rid of by breaking them off with a fingernail or box cutter just like before.
Step 8: Drilling Holes in the LED Strip
Here i drilled holes into the rubberish coating on the LED string to plug the fiber optic cable into in a later step. I left the holes pretty small so that the fibers would fit tightly into them making sure that the LED bulbs are in direct contact with the fibers allowing for better light transmission.
Step 9: Insert LED Strip in Interior Wall
Once the holes were drilled into LED strip i bent it around enough to force the bulbs through the holes in the interior wall made earlier in steps 6-7. Since the wall is pretty thin, the LED strip actually bent it a bit out of shape which didn´t end up causing any problems. There was a corner that broke off though, because in some places the perforations come pretty close to the edge, so be carefull not to squeeze the strip into the holes with too much force. You may need to enlarge some holes so that the strip fits in easly but not so much that its loose. At this point it might be a good idea to test the light to make sure its in working order before glueing it into place.
Step 10: Preparing the Fibers
This is really just a detail, but since i used a wire cutter to cut the fibers the length i wanted, some of the edges weren´t flat, some quick sanding took care of that. I varied the length of the fibers between 20 and 12cm roughly as you´ll see in the next step.
Step 11: Insert Fibers Into LED Strip
Once you´ve cut the fibers to the desired length you can start plugging them into the LED strip holes you made in step 8.
Step 12: Slide Back Wall Over Fibers
This part was a little tricky as well, having plugged in all the fibers into their corresponding LED "sockets" take the back wall, the one with all the tiny holes drilled into it, and start feeding the fibers through it, making sure that fiber you chose matches the placement of the hole on the interior wall.
Since i used three different lengths of cable, i did it in stages, first the longest ones, then the medium ones and at the end the long ones. It took me a couple of tries to get it right since I wove some of the fibers throught the wrong holes, so i had to undo it a bit and reorganize them so that when i slid the back wall all the way down near the interior wall they matched pretty perfectly.
Step 13: Connect Wire Leads
Now that you´ve got the interior wall and back wall done, its time to add the light switch. When you strip the wire ends on the LED strip, you´ll notice (at least in my case) that they´re a different color which is important when attaching it later on to the transformer. Since the wires are pretty thin i cut a little strip of EVA foam to place at each end of the switch to make pulling them out by accident more difficult.
Step 14: Glue Into Place and Test
Then glue the light switch base into the cutout on the interior wall with silicon glue. I imagine that a glue gun would also work in this case, but you´d have to be carefull no to melt any of the plastic parts. Also i had to file down some of the edges to make for an easier fit, with the dremel that´s a sinch. Once that was in place i tested out the connection again before closing it up completely. If the test is successfull then go ahead and glue the interior and back walls down onto the base with more silicon glue. The switch should fit tightly between the two walls.
Step 15: Fitting the Highlight Element
One of the final touches to the lamp is adding a strip of EVA foam between the exterior walls to hide all the interior components. I cut a hole into the strip using the cover of the light switch as a template to allow the button to come through. When the strip is in place I used some left over lengths of fiber optic cable to connect the front and back exterior walls. With a soldering iron i melted the short fibers, roughly 3cm long, on one end, the slid it through the holes on the front and back and then melted the other end of the fiber, squeezing the two walls together a bit in the process so that its a tight fit.
Step 16: Finishing Touches
This is the last step. Pull the cable through on one end and attach it to the transformer. and you´re done.
Step 17: Conclusion
just some leftover bits that i don´t know what i´m going to do with yet...
you can see some more pictures here: