Picture of Dieselpunk USB Lamp
lamp at work 3.jpg
lamp and keyboard 2.jpg
This Instructable will show you how to take a plain USB LED computer lamp, and turn it into an original Dieselpunk accessory for your Dieselpunk or Steampunk keyboard or laptop.

You may be wondering: What is Dieselpunk? Dieselpunk is a lesser known offshoot of the Steampunk phenomenon. As Steampunk harkens back to the Victorian era, or the "Age of Steam," Dieselpunk pays tribute to the era loosely bookmarked by the First and Second World Wars, or the "Machine Age."

For a very thorough analysis of the Steampunk and Dieselpunk movements, peruse some of the back-issues of the fine web periodical, Gatehouse Gazette.

For more about Dieselpunk, take a trip to the retro-futurist website

Why is this USB lamp Dieselpunk? In creating this device, I was envisioning a ceiling light, with a lonely bare bulb, hanging over the otherwise dimly lit office of a chain smoking Film Noir gumshoe, just before the beautiful high-heeled dame in distress walks through the door that has his name written backwards on the glass. Out of respect for this genre, I made sure to use a few vintage lamp parts, which would have been common in a "Machine Age" ceiling light or fan, to give it that authentic retro look and feel.

All comments, and ratings are appreciated!

Now, onto the Instructable!

• USB LED Lamp (Or USB cable, LED bulb and hanger)
• Shoe lace
• Lamp socket shell base
• Assorted lamp/light fixture parts
• Assorted brass pieces
* Altoids tin
• Heat shrink wire wrap (large and small)

• Rotary tool
• Needle-nose pliers
• Lineman's pliers
• Sharpie
• Scissors
• Razor
• Lighter
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carlyn1 year ago
Thank you for your Instructable. I made one! I lucked out in that the one I was moding had small-bore steal conduit for its wire sheath.
Winged Fist (author)  carlyn1 year ago
Hey Carlyn - That's a great looking lamp;-) Thanks very much for the shout out on the Crashspace blog, and for posting the link!
RF19112 years ago
i used a red christmas light solderd on cut up a usb cord then did the shoe lace and socket parts as well i added a peice oc 14/2 wire taped to the usb wire to make it stand up well conected. great project
Winged Fist (author)  RF19112 years ago
Colt1911 - Sounds nice! Could you post a pic or two here?
(removed by author or community request)
RF1911 RF19112 years ago
Winged Fist (author)  RF19112 years ago
Great job Colt1911! And thanks for sharing... I've been waiting a year now for someone to replicate one of my projects and post a photo... You're the first... And now I know what they mean when they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery;-)
Rastlosen2 years ago
I found these lights at Dollartree here in the US, but it seems that the wire inside the tubing is not nearly strong enough to support the extra weight. I found that copper refrigerator tubing is the perfect size and flexible enough for my liking, but it puts too much weight on the usb port of the machine I am building it for. I tried running a thicker wire within the tubing (trying to achieve stronger support) but it shredded the 26 Gage flimsy wire inside... Any Ideas on how to get these upright with the extra weight.
Winged Fist (author)  Rastlosen2 years ago
Rastlosen- The usb light I used for this project also had a wire running through, about the same as a coat hanger, which is sufficient to hold the weight of the aluminum "light shade" and keep the shape I bend the light to. (You might want to try a piece of coat hanger...)

The problem I have is that the heavy gauge wire doesn't seem to connect to the usb plug, and as a result, the lamp falls to one side or the other. My solution to this has been to bend the lamp in a letter "G" shape, so that the lamp rests on the table, and not just the usb port. (See the final photos in this Instructable).

If this solution doesn't work for your needs, you might try constructing a lamp with a bit of coat hanger running through it, and actually soldering the hanger to the usb plug, and then adding the wires for the bulb, and finally the lace... You might also consider a lighter weight material for the shade, like maybe half a ping-pong ball;-)

Good luck, and please post a photo when your done;-)
polerix3 years ago
i'm considering using the 8 light from a stubby flashlight, whose body was donated for another project. Could also use just 1 brighter led, seems the cheap version of the light i picked up isn't very bright ( I match with it :) ). any idea what's the max that can be pulled through safely without borking the usb port?
Winged Fist (author)  polerix3 years ago
Polerix – I don't know the exact answer to your question, but here's some information that might be helpful: I do know that a standard USB port outputs 5 volts, so your bulbs can't exceed that requirement. At one point during this build, I had wires crossed, and my Mac told me that the port had exceeded the maximum power requirements, and the port was being deactivated, (not fried). I also know that there are USB laptop lamps that use up to 13 led bulbs, so that's hopeful.

If you have a wall charger with a usb cable attachment (I have one for my phone, and one for my Magic Wand scanner), you might consider testing with that, if you're worried about frying your USB port. Beyond that, you might want to check with your friendly neighborhood electrician to find out how many LED bulbs would exceed 5 volts;-)

Good luck, and if you do build one, please post pictures!
Sabinbp3 years ago
awesome!!!! is there a lamp with only aa batteries on instructables too?
Winged Fist (author)  Sabinbp3 years ago
Thanks Sabinbp! I know there are oodles of lamp projects on Instructables, and I'm sure many that run on batteries. Here's an elegant one that runs on two double aa's, from my Steampunk compatriot, Junophor: Steampunk Outdoor Lamp.
Thanks man but I need something like a book reading lamp I wanted to do something like a flat surface with a book reading lamp with pockets for paper holding and place to put pens and to hold a 1/4 sheet of pad paper for notes
What would you call that? It would be also good if I can steampunk it
again Great project man
Winged Fist (author)  Sabinbp3 years ago
I can't exactly picture what you are describing, but I know what to call it: "Sabinbp's Steampunk Book Light!;-)" Can't wait to see your Instructable!
Hi Sabinbp
Hi Winged Fist

Thanks for supporting;-))

You can also build such a lamp with one LED by using the Joule Thief circuit! So you only need a nearly dead AA or AAA batterie or LR 2303(3,0Volts, see LED throwies!). There are a lot of instructables to find
Yours AeonJunophor

Tobita3 years ago
I was half hoping this instructable detailed the making of lamp out of a glowplug. None the less I am FAR from disappointed. Good job :).
Winged Fist (author)  Tobita3 years ago
Thanks Tobita! I'm sure you can find an Instructable for making a lamp out of a glow plug... If not maybe you can be the first to write one!;-)
What a gorgeous project. Very easy and well described; an excellent instructable. I absolutely love the shoelace over the wire to make the old fashioned cable look... genius. 5*
Winged Fist (author)  KaptinScarlet3 years ago
Thanks very much Kaptin Scarlet...And thanks for rating this project!
And yes, it is just about as easy as it looks;-)
Junophor3 years ago
Hi Winged Fist

Very coool your project!!
I´d like to do it in my way too. Not only the steampunk but also dieselpunk is one of my interests!!
My favorite movie is Sky captain...;-))))

Keep it up, you got a good style with it
Yours Aeon Junophor
Winged Fist (author)  Junophor3 years ago
Thanks Junophor! And thanks for being the first to comment on my new project. It means a lot coming from a Steampunk light master-craftsman like yourself!;-) I thoroughly enjoyed Sky Captain myself. In fact my next project is a keyboard mod that would not look out of place in Sky Captain... Stay tuned!;-)