You might have seen pipe lamps online for hundreds of dollars and thought "I could do that." If you did, you were right. It is dead simple to make a pipe lamp. It does not require any fancy parts or much advanced knowledge of electronics. My version is just an example of how to make one, and you are free to get creative and make whatever pipe lamp you wish. My only requirement for this project is that you wire up a light bulb such that it is able to turn on.
To learn more about wiring lamps check out the Lamps Class, or if you have an interest in how electricity and light bulbs work, check out the LEDs and Lighting class.
If you want to follow along exactly with this project at home you will need:
Lamp Parts and Embellishments:
For the base:
(x3) 3/4" T-connector
(x4) 3/4" L-connectors
(x2) 6" pipe
(x4) 5" pipe
For the center column:
(x2) 3/4" - 1/2" T-connector (where the base of the T is 1/2")
(x1) 3/4" threaded coupling
(x1) 3/4" x 4' threaded pipe
For the top:
(x1) 3/4" T-connector
(x1) 3/4" - 1/2" L-connector
(x3) 3/4" x 6" pipes
To begin, I simply twisted all of the pipes and fittings for each section together. However, I did not yet connect the sections to one another because that would have made it near impossible to thread the power cord through.
To thread the power cord, I first passed it through one of the barbs towards the the threading.
I then passed it all the way through the central column and then through another barb (from the threading out).
Once the cord was through the center pipe, I twist both barbs into the T-connectors of the central column.
Next I pass the cord through another barb towards its threading, and then up through the L-connector in the top.
From there I continued to pass the cord through until it came out the other end.
I pulled out some slack, and passed it through faucet. Once the cord was all the way through, I twisted the barb and faucet firmly to the pipe assembly.
Finally, I twisted the central column onto the floor base.
While this all may seem complicated, you can pretty much figure it out by looking at the pictures. It is fairly intuitive.
Once the lamp cord is fully threaded through, it is time to wire up the socket for the light bulb.
To begin, take the socket apart and find the screw terminals.
Peel back an inch of fabric cord to expose the inner wires, and then strip half an inch or insulation off of each wire.
Before you attach any wire, slide the socket cable onto the power cable.
Next, wrap the exposed metal clockwise around each of the screw terminals, and then tighten them firmly in place to make electrical contact. Also, notice that while I was doing this I also wrapped a little piece of tape around the end of the fabric cord to keep it from fraying.
Finally, reassemble the socket.
On the other end of the cord, we need to attach the plug.
Take the plug apart, and slide the protective cover onto the cable.
Again, peel back a little of the fabric covering, and strip half inch of insulation of each wire.
Attach the metal wire to each screw terminal by wrapping it clockwise and tightening it in place.
Finally, complete the plug by reassembling the cover.
Once the plug and socket are all wired up, simply twist the light bulb into the socket to complete the lamp.
Now that all is said and done, it is simply time to plug in your new lamp, turn it on, and enjoy.