This ambient wall lamp is inspired by the beauty of nature and magic of light. It’s made with very common materials and simple tools. I wanted to make something that looks nice even when it’s not lit, and easy to change light bulbs also. This is my first time working with fiber optics, LEDs & circuits, it’s an experience of learning through doing, and there will be a lot of beginner’s discoveries shared here.
Step 1: Materials and tools
The following amount of materials will be enough to make a half sphere of 14” diameter. If you want to make a bigger sphere, consider that the surface area is calculated by the formula 4x3.14xRxR. Thus the amount of materials will increase proportionally.
• 300+ feet of 0.75mm end glow optical fibers: I ordered a sample pack of various sizes first. I find the 0.25mm too thin to work with, and the glow tips are really small. The 0.5mm and 0.75mm fibers are great for craft projects like this and star ceilings. When it gets to 1mm and up, the fibers get more rigid, although the glow tips gets bigger. This is the only material here that's not easily found in local stores. One way is to purchase it online from places like http://thefiberopticstore.com/, or buy 1 or 2 UFO lamps and cut the fibers off.
• 5mm LEDs in white, pink, & blue. (3) of each colors: I learned a lot about LEDs from this great instructable (thank you noahw!) http://www.instructables.com/id/LEDs-for-Beginners/ . A LED voltage varies by the color of the LED. Since these will be in a parallel circuit(more on it later) powered by (2) AA batteries , and they all happen to be 3.0v to 3.4v, there will be no need for resistors.
• Around (300) 9”drinking straws: I chose plastic straws because of their translucent quality. These happen to be bendable, but that’s not necessary.
• White card board, I used some ultra-rigid white mailers: this will be used to build the inner structure of the half sphere, and the enclosure of the circuit. White looks almost invisible behind the straws.
• (2) AA rechargeable or regular batteries, and a 2-AA battery holder wired in series: If you use a battery holder wired in parallel, it will still work here. The lights will be less bright.
• A SPST rocker switch : a simple on-off switch. SPST stands for ‘single pole, single throw’.
• 22 gauge hookup wire and pliers to strip the wires: 2 different colors make it easier to see the circuit
• Lead free solder and soldering iron: a really nice article here explaining lead free solder in detail- http://hackaday.com/2008/05/22/how-to-go-green-with-lead-free-solder/
• (4) 1” brass fasteners and (2) metal paper clips: I got inspired by this(thank you matt.e.jenkins!) http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Simple-Circuit-from-a-Pizza-Box-No-Solder/ and decided to try it by adding a switch to play with colors of the LEDs
• Electrical tape
• 3’ of 12 lb-test monofilament fishing line: for building the inner structure & hanging the lamp. It looks identical to the optical fibers, so keep them apart to avoid confusion
• A mini glue gun and 3 sticks of all purpose hot glue
• Scissors, box cutter or exacto knife, circle templates or compass, some clips, velcro, some white tape