If many of you didn't know, last week was August 17th and the anniversary of a very momentous, historic occasion that inevitably revolutionized animation and redefined the outlook on computer science. It was on August 17th, in 1986, that a small Bay Area computer graphics company led by Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, Bill Reeves, Tom Duff, Eben Ostby, Rob Cook, Loren Carpenter, and John Lasseter released an animated short film at SIGGRAPH which was instantly heralded as a modern day masterpiece. Well today, I'm paying honor to this film's 24th Birthday and presenting an Instructable to one of my most popular and requested PIXAR Builds. This is how to make PIXAR's most iconic character, Luxo Jr.
Editor's Note: This instructable was meant to be posted on Tuesday, on August 17, but due to schedule constraints it was posted at a later date.
Step 1: Abstract
Step 2: Materials
- Anglepoise Lamp (I got mine at Target for $25)
- Circular Lamp Base (depending on your type of anglepoise lamp you purchased, you might not need this. Since mine had a different base, I needed to buy another one at Goodwill)
- Plexiglass (for the different "V" shaped connectors. I prefer this over sheet metal since it's easier to cut)
- Long Screw (I used a 5'', I used a #10-32)
- 3 Medium Screws (ie 3'', #10-32)
- 4 Short Screw (ie 1 1/2'', #8-32)
- 9 Stainless Steel Flat Washers (#8)
- 4 Nylon Lock Nuts (#10-32)
- 4 Machine Screw Nuts (#8-32)
- Rectangular steel bar (has to be thicker than your lamp light's bars)
- Dremel Tool and drill bits
- Metal File
- Hacksaw and Power Saw
- Power Drill w/ drill bit (at least 9/64)
- Sheet Metal (not pictured)
- Wire Cutters
- Metal Vice
- Gorilla Glue (or unless you can weld)
- Aluminum Silver Paint (or Off White, depending on whether you want your Luxo to look like it did in the short or in the PIXAR title sequence, respectively)
- Computer Printer or Copier (with resize/scale function)
- Optional- Gray Power Outlet Cable
Step 3: Reference Images/ Grab Dimensions
The diameter of the head will always be used as the common denominator, when calculating the various size ratios.
For reference, The ratio from Head diameter to Body and Leg rods~ 5 in/ 3.15in
In order to make my lamp as film accurate as possible, I ended up doing a lot of research into Luxo Jr's specific dimensions and size. Also, apart from the head, I knew that the rest of his "legs" from my existing anglepoise lamp could be cut down to scale, in order to fit my needs. I found the below image from Flickr and it was perfect, since it gave a nice structured overlay for entire statue. I printed it out from my computer, did some basic ratios, and roughly estimated that my lamp would stand at around 1/30th the size standing at 1 foot tall.
Step 4: Disassemble the Lamp
Step 5: Rescale Straight Brackets
For reference, there will be three straight brackets that you will rescale (2 for the neck, one for the bottom). The Neck Sections (which connects the head to the body) will be cut from the existing lamp brackets, and the lower straight bracket (used to connect the body to the base) will be cut from the thick steel bar.
I used a hacksaw and a metal file to do my work.
Once you have finished, you will need to drill two holes (one at either end) into the cut bars. This will function as screw holes, in order to keep your lamp together and flexible.
Step 6: V-Shaped Hinges
You can download a larger version of the template from my Flickr site here.
Once you are finished scaling, cut the pieces out of plexiglass. I used an electric saw, but a dremel tool might also work. Then drill three holes into the plastic, which will function as screw holes.
Your lamp should already be starting to take shape!
Step 7: Z-Shaped Bar
Anyway, long story short, I did a lot of image searching and finally used this as the basic template for my image. It gave a really nice detail of that specific leg shape, so I was able to create a template from it on graph paper. I cut three individual metal parts from the remaining Straight Brackets, and filed them down to the specific angle.
The entire height of the bracket should be the same size as your 3 1/2'' straight brackets.
By the way, I don't know how to weld so I originally had no idea how I was going to attach this leg together. What I finally ended up doing was cutting out a Z shaped leg out of sheet metal and then attaching it to the back with some Gorilla Glue. That stuff is AMAZING for gluing metal.
Once you are gluing the pieces together, drill three holes into the bar (one at either end, and then one on the inner most side). Two will be for the Screw Holes, and the middle will be to hold the Metal Dowel, which connects the springs together. The metal bar separating the two Z Bars should be around 3'' across.
Step 8: Painting
Now, depending on what style you want your Luxo Jr. lamp to look like, you can either use White or Silver paint. In the original animated short, Luxo Jr. is painted aluminum silver, but as seen in the PIXAR logo he is distinctly white. I made mine silver, in honor of the short film, but you can do either one.
Just leave the parts up to dry when finished.
Step 9: The Springs
As an anglepoise lamp, he has four different springs. Two of them connect his Neck together to his upper Mid Joint, and his other two connect his Z bracket to his Leg Joints. Both are extension springs, meaning they are designed to stretch when Luxo Jr is flexed.
Now, to save money, I used the same extension springs as the one my lamp originally came with. I merely cut it into a smaller shape (1'' across for me) and bent a loop at the end using a pair of pliers. I made two of these for the straight bracket.
For the inner, shorter springs, which connects the Z bracket to the Leg Joints, I just used a rubber band. It was really small, so they worked the best.
Step 10: Assembling Luxo Jr.
Start by connecting the Head to the main Neck Joints. Attach the three short screws (1 1/2'', #8-32) as well as their corresponding screw nuts, through the Neck Joint's three screw holes. Once you have measured how long the screws should be, cut the excess using a hacksaw. Then connect the Straight Brackets to the Neck Joint (the bracket with the spring peg should be at the bottom).
Next, start by attaching the Mid Joint to the Straight Brackets and then to the Thick Steel Bar. You will need to use the Washers, in order to provide enough space between the regular straight brackets and the thick steel bar. Then, attach the Z Shaped Bracket, to either side of the Mid Joint. Connect this using the Medium Screws and Nylon Lock Nut .
Finally, connect the Leg Joint to the Base of the lamp, and feed the Long Screw through the Leg Joint at the bottom. Keep the Leg Joints in place using the four Nylon Nuts, and attach the Z Shaped Bar to the Leg Joint using rubber bands.
Wiring for the lamp definitely isn't difficult, if you want to use the lamps original wire. Attach the wire from the lamp's head and feed it through the straight bracket, and the thick steel bar until it gets to the bottom of the base. Then connect the two wires using two Wire Connectors.
However, I went a little further and decided to give Luxo Jr. the exact kind of round-ish cord that he had in the original short. I used a spare wire from an Extension Cord, in order to fit my needs.
Step 11: Finished!
Just don't leave any rubber balls lying around. That or any "I"s.
Editor's Note: By the way, if there's any PIXARians reading this instructable, I absolutely adore your films!