Picture of DIY Cold Cathode Lamp
The Ultimate lamp for any die hard computer user. This is a pretty simple process to build and I was really satisfied with my end product.

Now like any computer mod project I do have a worklog posted here so you might find any questions you need already answered here..
DIY Cathode Worlog

Step 1: Supplies and the first steps

Picture of Supplies and the first steps
The material
- 3/4 inch Dowel
- Wood, I used 1x6
- Cathode and inverter
- CDs - preferably some economy ones with reflective layers on both sides.
- Acrylic tubing. Link here
- plexi glass
- PSU micro atx is preferable

below is the general prototype of what we're aiming for

First step is to cut your wood. You can cut this to any real length you want. I ended up making my box about 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 so make sure you cut all of your wood to fit which ever size you want. You will have three pieces the same because these will be the top and bottom of your base as well as the top piece of the lamp. Then you will have two pieces for the sides, and one piece for the back.
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wilbster4 years ago
I know this is an old post, but instead of using a power supply couldn't you use a small power inverter? The lamp does output at 12 volts, right? I am only curious, because I am thinking about building one.
faceless105 (author)  wilbster4 years ago
Yeah that's correct. I forget where but somewhere in the responses I explained the reason for the PSU. This was built largely from scrap laying around and I had an ancient PC laying around that had a micro power supply, so I took the PSU out from that. It's a bit of overkill, but it also make the project free, lol

yeah, an inverter would do the trick, and the cathode does run on 12v.
whats a psu?
Power Supply Unit
pmilg8 years ago
I have well over 1500 AOL CD's any ideas what I can make with that many?
ReCreate pmilg6 years ago
Make an Exploding EPIC Tesla TURBINE! :P If you spin them at 22000 RPMS It Explodes! Plastic AOL Cd Shards everywhere!
A search on a site called instructables.com might give you some ideas.
neotom666 pmilg7 years ago
send them back!
ARVash pmilg8 years ago
a small tent
a RICK rhombus. :-)
Kataze pmilg7 years ago
You could make the exact same number of any of the following items: Frisbees Shurikens Otherwise deadly spinning object Broken CDs Pocket Mirror XD
Shut Up Now6 years ago
OMG!! Computer Geeks using power tools!! i see TROUBLE!!!
faceless105 (author)  Shut Up Now6 years ago
lol it's all the rage. You'd be surprised to see what's out there, mine was a bit of a weekend hack project, but (and I warn you this isn't intended as a plug) I run a computer modding site, http://www.fusionmods.net, and I'd bet money that 90% of the users have a dremel of their own.

liek I said, mine was a weekend project, if you wanna see some real works of tech art, here's a link to the case ranking page, http://www.fusionmods.net/index.php?theCase=casevote

a lot of them have actually had magazine features :)
tbird450397 years ago
it would be easier to just use a 12 volt dc power suply. than craming that psu in there
His way's cheaper.
faceless105 (author)  tbird450397 years ago
I actually agree with you on this. The only reason I decided to go with the PSU was because I wanted to do this on the cheap. Everything used in this project was from parts laying around the house. It's actually mentioned in the comments that a PSU might be overkill, and really just about any power source is for something as small as a cathode, but this Micro PSU is only 120watts and was scrapped from and ancient eMachines computers. The spacing wasn't to bad though since it's a bit smaller then the diameter of a CD. If i do this again, theres a few things I'd do differently, but overall, I've been really pleased with the results.
Oh man... this just gave me a great idea! Change the cathode to a UV cathode, swap out the CD's for hard drive platters, wire them up to a transformer, and you have yourself a DIY bug zapper! For the circuit, every other HD platter should be + and - so if something comes between any two plates, the circuit can arc through the object to complete the circuit. Two sets of coils, one heavy gauge surrounding a light gauge, with an AC pulse on the large coil, should induce a very high amp pulse into the smaller coil which is wired to the platters. If the platters come close enough, or something is placed in between them, an arc will occur. Someone more qualified with electronics could verifiy this and/or suggest an alternative
Unfortunately that wont work for a few reasons: 1) UV light doesn't attract the types of bugs you want to zap (a mosquito will fly right by UV light without landing) 2) Bug zappers have two grids and the bug comes between them and completes the circuit. If you were to make each of the platters charged positively or negatively, then you would need some very high voltage. Unfortunately, you would have to worry about corona leakage, and the wires leading to each platter would have to have about 2 inches of insulation on them because high voltage jumps right through normal insulated wire. 3) Other than that (solvable problems), it would cost less to go out and buy a conventional bug zapper than to make one from this lamp.
Sombody better post an instructable on that...
i broke my Cathodes while camping, but, just the filament, not the casing, anything i could do with those?
inside glowey thing?
I didn't thing cold cathode tubes had filaments, Just my 2 cents, i'll check it out now
You sure the 'filament' is on the inside, mind taking a picture?
yep the light emitter.
But they look like they still work?
thats when they did work..:-(
can u take a pic of them now?
my dad brought his truck home, they're in his car.
has he got his car now?
there they are, thats my old bike, i posted pictures of what happened to it, my neighbor gave me a new bike, so i piecing this one for parts and putting them on that one, same style frame, different brand.
BTW, what type of battery did u use to power them?
duracell ultra alkaline
Hehe i thought u used a small SLA battery
Sealed Lead Acid, Like a car battery but are smaller
ajmontag7 years ago
its not properly grounded, as the metal casing of a PSU is added ground protection, i have used PSUs for a 12v power source, and chopped off a female molex (4 pin) connectior and ran wires off of that from the PSU, leaving the PSU untouched, just jumping the purple (?) and ground wires to get pwr. let me know if you want better details.
Green to any ground wire.
UberPug7 years ago
i have an insect killing thing that looks exactly like that
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