Introduction: Desk Lamp

Picture of Desk Lamp

If you spend a lot of hours behind your desk in the evenings, than good lighting is crucial. Make yourself this ecological and economical efficient desk lamp.

The total cost of the 10w led lamp plus dimmer plus power supply =  26 dollar. All the other parts were laying around in my garage.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools


  • Four bolts M3
  • Four bolts M6
  • Four screws
  • Wooden board approximately 9 cm x 324 cm
  • Four dowels
  • Heat sink
  • Aluminum disk 20 mm
  • Led dimmer (Velleman MK 187)
  • 10w high power led
  • 12v, 1 amp power supply 
  • Thermal paste
  • Electric wires



  • Wood glue
  • Wood wax
  • Jig saw
  • Screw driver
  • Sand paper
  • Wood clamps
  • Drill
  • Drill bit  2,5 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm,  10 mm, 32 mm
  • Router
  • Router bit 12 mm
  • Solder
  • Solder iron

Step 2: Sawing and Gluing

Picture of Sawing and Gluing

I got my scrap wood from the dumpster of a parquet company. No worries, I asked permission to do so, most people come here to collect the wood for their wood stove.

All the wood pieces have different sizes. For this project the wooden pieces have to be 9 cm wide.

I don't have a table saw, so I used my jig saw to saw the excess wood off. 

Glue the wooden pieces together 2 layers thick until you have a length of 108 cm.

Glue one layer of wooden pieces together until you have a length of 108 cm.

Saw these long pieces in to three lengths: 65 cm, 23 cm and  20 cm.

Step 3: Routing, Gluing and Drilling

Picture of Routing, Gluing and Drilling

Route a slot in every double layered piece.

On the double layered 23 cm piece draw a 8 cm by 4 cm rectangle  to fit the led dimmer. Use a jig saw to saw the rectangle out.  In the single layered piece drill a 6 mm hole for the led dimmers potentiometer. Glue these two pieces together.

On the double layered 20 cm piece draw a 6 cm by 9 cm rectangle (the size depends on your heat sink). Saw the rectangle out with a jig saw. Glue the double layered 20 cm piece onto the single layered 20 cm piece. Draw a cross in the rectangle and make a mark 1 cm from each corner. Drill a 6 mm hole in each mark and drill a 32 mm hole in the middle of the cross.

Measure 3 cm from one end of the 65 cm double layered piece and drill a 6 mm hole.

Glue the 65 cm single layered piece onto the 65 cm double layered piece. Saw a 45 degree corner off the 65 cm piece on the opposite end of the previous drilled hole.

Step 4: More Drilling and Gluing

Picture of More Drilling and Gluing

Take the 23 cm piece. On top of this piece make a mark 2 cm from each side. Drill a 10 mm hole 1 cm deep on these marks. Glue the dowels in it.

Do the same for the 20 cm piece.

Measure 24.45 cm from the straight cut end of the 65 cm piece and make a mark 2 cm from each side and one in the middle. Drill a 10 mm hole 1 cm deep on these three marks.

Step 5: Gluing Plus Wiring

Picture of Gluing Plus Wiring

Put the electric wires in place: one will lead to the power supply, the other will lead to the led. 

Glue the 23 cm piece and the 20 cm piece  to the 65 cm piece. Use wood clamps to hold it all  together while the wood glue dries. 

Step 6: Aluminum Work

Picture of Aluminum Work

Draw a cross on the heat sink which connects the corners and mark 1 cm from each corner. Drill a 5 mm hole on each mark.

Draw a 1,5 cm by 1,5 cm square in the middle of the heat sink. Drill a 2,5 mm hole in each corner of the square.

Drill a 5 mm hole in the middle of the aluminum disk. Screw a 1,5 cm piece of screw-thread in the hole. Sand the disk until it is smooth.

Step 7: Electronics Plus Installation

Picture of Electronics Plus Installation

Use the M3 bolts to bolt the led to the heat sink and put thermal paste in between for maximum heat transfer from led to heat sink. 

Solder the wires on top of the lamp to the led. Use M6 bolts to bolt the heat sink to the wood.

Connect the cables from the power supply and from the led to the led dimmer (check polarity). Screw the led dimmer in to place.

Screw the aluminum disk on top of the led dimmers potentiometer.

As finishing you can apply wood wax.   

Step 8: Enjoy.

Picture of Enjoy.

Enjoy reading under the light of your desk lamp. 


sypher (author)2015-07-24

looking for inspiration, that is gorgeous...

vishwadeeppaul (author)2015-05-17

nice i will definetly try it :D

Sasando_Rote (author)2015-01-23

like it

d.moskalyk (author)2013-08-26

Thanks for posting this. Worked out great for a puzzle building lamp for the wife. Not as complicated as yours, but works great.
It won't let me post a pic of it but if your curious here's a link.
Thanks again.

nwlaurie (author)2013-04-14

very elegant!

masmarius (author)2013-01-25

buddy, this is awesome... and the wooden box fan blew my mind too!

cabolero1993 (author)2011-12-14

In step 2, how thick should the boards be after you glue them together? That step confuses me just a little bit (first project), do you mind going in to more detail?

HHarry (author)cabolero19932011-12-16

Each wooden board is 9 mm thick, so 2 layers equals 18 mm and the total thickness (3 layers) equals 27 mm.

acoleman3 (author)2011-11-22

if anyone wants an outlet for leds and drivers, thecustomsabershop has what you need i believe.

newbeatle (author)2011-11-21

hi so nice the design of the lamp, congratulations !! i like the minimalist concept of the lamp, and also that wooden detail to avoid the "coldness" of the strict minimalist things.. i oly have a disappoint , and is that you can do you own dimmer!! i have not so much time to post how to build one, but if someone makes a google search about pwm circuits ( i have found one that seems to me so simple to build, but i dont know if its ok to post it here, but google it and its the second) and that can do the job for the dimmer. instead of a motor, you can put the led , just bear in mind that you need a resistor for current control .
again , nice design

salutes from mexico

acoleman3 (author)2011-11-20

oh wow....this would be the perfect lamp for the desk in my scriptorium. i say 5* mate.

HHarry (author)acoleman32011-11-21


paulstaf (author)2011-11-20

Great, but where did you get the LED, and where did you get the dimmer.


HHarry (author)paulstaf2011-11-21

The 10w led is from ebay (just type 10w led) . The led dimmer i got from a local electronic store, it is a velleman MK187 kit http://

Klister (author)2011-11-21

I've never worked with an LED before, so it would be nice to know exactly what parts you used. But here is my real question. Does a 10 W fixture really need a heat sink? I know its in wood, but the residual heat has to be minor. Most of the electricity from the 10 W goes to light and only amount not converted to light becomes heat, or are these fixtures not as efficient as they claim?

HHarry (author)Klister2011-11-21

You would be surprised how much heat this led creates. The created heat is not a problem but the fact that the 10w led cant handle the heat is. If i would power the led without the heat sink the led will burn down after approximately 45 seconds. The bigger the heat sink the longer the lifespan. The commercial available heat sinks for the 10w led are even bigger than my CPU heat sink. If you don't like the big heat sink you can choose for cob leds they have better heat dissipation properties. The 10w led is from ebay (just type 10w led) . The led dimmer i got from a local electronic store, it is a velleman MK187 kit http://

chelliot (author)2011-11-21

Which LED dimmer/driver did you use?

nmasoud (author)2011-11-20

really great design.
simple and elegant.

billgeo (author)2011-11-20

That is simple, effective, flowing design. Just plain beautiful.

But, I think it need a wider "base" structure.
It's tall and a bit top-heavy.
You should add weight to the bottom or a wider base (or both)

Other than that it's a great idea and a nice build

sreeci (author)billgeo2011-11-20

Yes, Correct. The weight is more on top.
The base structure may also be cut 45 Degrees so as to get more footing and one kilo of weight added into the triangle base. That may keep the lamp steady.

Since the advent of LED modules and dimmers, the imagination is the limit to create LED lights.

FYI, all the incandescent lights at my home has been replaced with LEDS that give more illumination than the counterparts, less the energy consumption.

Bravo good design. Thanks Harry.

DIYhelen (author)2011-11-20

love the lamp and the fact you use items you find around the house, a true craftperson!

0_Nvd_0 (author)2011-11-20

Beautiful and simple. I agree, the heat sink can be shrinked. Make some convection holes as those will assist in the heat dissipation.

clazman (author)2011-11-20

One commenter didn't like the screws holding the light.

May I suggest flat head phillips brass screws. I use them a lot in wood projects the brass goes very nicely with most woods. The flat head gives a very clean look.

Another nice looking screw would be the "blackened flat head socket screw. It looks better with the darker woods.

As to the heat sink, be careful when reducing or shrouding the heat sink fins. Air "MUST" be allowed to circulate around and between them.

Another possibility would to design your own heat dissipation system. A large flat plate positioned slightly above the wood, using standoffs, might suffice.

The wax is a very nice idea.

I've use a product from "Watco". It is an oil based product. I learned many years ago to wet sand it into the wood using 220 grit. With a little effort it produces a very nice "feel" to the wood while imparting a nice subtle color. Watco also has a product called Satin Wax that would be applied over the oil finish. This system would be more durable than using just wax. You could apply your wax over that for even a more lustrous finish. Oh, Watco also handles a "natural" finish.

All in all though, a very nice piece of work!

sarawelder (author)2011-11-20

Beautiful lamp. Great instructions.. wish I knew how to do the electrical stuff..

batonas (author)2011-11-18

its just so minimal and i like that, I think you should call it lambda lamp because of its shape

HHarry (author)batonas2011-11-20

Thanks! But i am not sure to name it the lambda lamp :)

ChrysN (author)2011-11-17

Nice design, it looks really sharp.

HHarry (author)ChrysN2011-11-20


asoo (author)2011-11-17

Wow! Simplicity at the best!

HHarry (author)asoo2011-11-20

Thanks! Simplicity was my goal.

jessyratfink (author)2011-11-17

Great photos! I love the design of the lamp, too. I like that you just waxed the wood!

HHarry (author)jessyratfink2011-11-20

Thanks! I Just have a lot of wood wax and it is easy to apply.

MisterHay (author)2011-11-20

Very nice. You could also use this design to make a document camera, using a webcam instead of the lamp.

joearkay (author)2011-11-18

I second that comment that you should call it the "lambda lamp"

dimtick (author)2011-11-17

Nice project. I really like the simple clean lines.

only comments are that it would be nice if you could cut down the heat sink so that it doesn't protude so much. if it could be entirely withtin the thickness of the wood that would be best but i don't know if that's possible. i think if you widened the heat sink recess and used insulated washers so that the heat sink doesn't come in direct contact with the wood, then you could cut back the heat sink. heat rises so you should still get good heat dissopation.
it would also be nice if you could mount the light differenlty so you don't have the 4 exposed screws. i love how clean the knob is and would like the light to have the same simplicity.

nice job!

About This Instructable




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