Instructables
Do you have a painting or a photograph, that you want to illuminate? Why use an old, boring light bulb, when you can make a much more energy efficient illuminator, that is a piece of art by itself.

Copper is a really good looking metal. It's rarely used for domestic applications, such as light fixtures. Almost everything, that is made out of metal these days is made out of stainless steel. I'm tired of it, so I thought: why not make something different. Something unique.

This instructable will show you how to make a very energy efficient and unique light fixture for illuminating your paintings or photographs.

I will also show you how you can make it light sensitive, so that it automatically turns on at night.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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Here is an overview of all the parts, you need to make your very own Copper style LED Painting Illuminator:

  • A copper tube. These are widely available. You can get them at Home Depot and other stores that sells plumbing supplies. They're available in many different diameters. Try not to get one, that is too thin, as it will make it difficult to wire up the LEDs. The one I used was 1.5 centimetres (0.59 inches) in diameter, and I don't recommend using a smaller diameter than that.
  • LEDs. For this type of project, you'll definately want warm white LEDs. The normal white or cool white LEDs will often be more bluish in their light, and you don't want a bluish light on your painting or photograph. In the next step, I'll show you some of the many LED possibilities. The quantity depends on your needs and the length of the tube. I used 9.
  • Some enemaled copper wire a.k.a. magnet wire. It's a good idea to use two different diameters, so you can easily identify the polarity.
  • Resistors. The quantity and value depends on the type of LEDs and how many you use. I will show you how to calculate the value of the resistors in step 3.
  • Two screws for mounting your fixture on a wall. Brass screws are the preferred ones for this project, because they almost have the same color as the copper tube.
  • Some hookup wire to connect it to your power supply.
  • Some thinner hookup wire to connect the two ends of the tube together.
  • Heat shrink tubing. You'll need different diameters of it.
  • A sheet of ordinary paper.
spyler035 years ago
One question. How many volts did you use to power this?
It looks like 12v... it said that somewhere... You can use a number of voltages... according to the resister you use.
Oh... Youre right in Step 3 it says it. Thanks
starmoon1255 years ago
我喜欢画,我画了一些画,等我有了家,我会用这招的! I like painting and painted a lot pictures.When I get married,I'll get this idea.Very great!
Cool. If you want, you can post some pictures of it, when it's done.
我结婚还早着呢,哈哈。你是第一个在这个网站和我讲话的人,我们会成为好朋友的。 OK,But It has so long time till I get married. You are the first person talking to me when I join into this web site.We'll be friends.
OK, but when you get married, have a really nice wedding.
Thank you very much.
Plus.I'm a student of Art Department in a college of China.And I saw lots of great ideas in here.So intelligent and different mode of thinking were not like Chinese. Anyway,I like them.
Coodude265 years ago
The setup for the light-adjusted switch seems a little overly complicated. Why nor just connect the photoresistor to the + supply and the collector of an ordinary NPN transistor? It would trigger when the photoresistor limits the current below the threshold of the transistor. I don't know if you said somewhere what voltage you were using, but you could still use a pot inbetween the photoresistor and the supply to make it less sensetive. Last thing, you might want to aim them a bit lower so the bottom is also illuminated. Also, I'm pretty sure they make photoTRANSistors. That would simplify the whole thing...
Yes. The light sensor could probably have been done in a simpler way, but the reason why I used an opamp is that has a "cleaner" way of switching over the circuit that you mentioned, because it is either on or off, whereas the simpler circuit will limit the power going to the base of the transistor too much, so you might not get the full brightness.
Don't transistors use digital logic? IE, above 5v = on, less than 5v = off?
Transistors are usually used to switch or amplify small signals. A single transistor doesn't measure the voltage, and switch a larger current if the base voltage is over a certain threshold. Some extra components are required in order to do that.
AAAGGHHH oh my gosh. why in the world can't I get a simple explanation of how a transistor works. my brother is an electrical engineer at U of I and he can't explain it to me. can you give me a simple rundown of how a transistor would be "triggered" or how it's switched or whatever and what that triggers or sets in motion? Pleeeeeeeeassseee?
Maybe because your question is flawed? There have been several different kinds of transistors developed. They mostly all work differently from each other too. I've even heard tale told that some of them are quantum tunneling these days!

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=quantum+tunneling+transistor&aq=f&oq=&aqi=&fp=F2LdvTVQwLA

Me, I'm more the old fashioned bipolar type though :) Those work on PN junctions and migrating electrons and holes. Just wait until you're checking out characteristic curve traces of those puppies. Switching is pretty dull stuff. Yawn, I'm all about analog myself.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=transistor+curve+tracer&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g1&fp=F2LdvTVQwLA

Then there are different ways of using a transistor in a circuit.
One way:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_collector

Short answer to a screwy question though a small current controls a larger current flow.
I guess, it's one of those things that are hard to explain in a simple and understandable way. Try to google "how transistors work" and see what you get.
kemper5 years ago
I love the amazing painting! hah
Artificial Intelligence (author)  kemper5 years ago
Yeah. The painting rocks!
gjm5 years ago
Nice instructable; very well written with lots of photos. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Artificial Intelligence (author)  gjm5 years ago
Thanks.
Artificial Intelligence (author) 5 years ago
New and better pictures of it has been added.
jay ess5 years ago
looks great! but how much should it cost? or did i miss that part?

jay ess

http://importantless.com
It's hard to tell how much it cost me to make it, because the price of the materials varies a lot depending on where you buy them, and I already had some of the parts.

The LEDs that I used has a cost of 11.49$ for a pack of ten (they're cheaper if you buy them in larger quantities)

The auto turn-on switch cost around 10$ to make in parts (not shure, since I already had most of the parts)

Resistors 1.5$

I don't know the price for the rest of the parts, since they were purchased a while ago, but they aren't overly expensive.
sdallesasse5 years ago
It's like art illuminating art.
Yes. I tried to avoid making it too traditional like using a light bulb or something like that.
very neat, I'll have to try something like this
ChrysN5 years ago
NIce job! This looks really stylish.