Introduction: LED Fiber Optic Chandelier
Grand Prize in the
Make It Glow Contest
The chandelier was a fun project that I have always wanted to make so when the opportunity to make it came up, I incorporated it into my major project for my HSC of 2013 (final assessments of high school). I was so pleased with the results that I thought I would publish them for everyone to see. Sometimes the photos won't quite match or show exactly what is being described in the step since these photos are taken directly from my portfoilo I had to create along with the chandelier.
LED chandeliers do exist but I wanted to make one since commercially they start at about $2000 each. Mine cost about $200 to make and looks (and functions) much better! It is also remote control and capable of being used in a fundraising setting, within a cafe, hospital or supermarket to promote awareness about issues (specifically illnesses) that affect society:
My need is to create a chandelier that promotes awareness of multiple diseases through the use of colour changing LED technology which is symbolic of the many coloured ribbons, e.g. red for AIDS awareness and pink for breast cancer. Therefore one chandelier reaches a larger audience with little effort. This chandelier promotes equity, awareness and love.
Step 1: Equipment and Tools
Equipment / Parts:
- 50cm by 50cm sheet of 4 or 6mm black perspex - $45 Plastics shop
- 200 9/16 inch clear glass marbles - ~$30 Ebay
- 3 Watt RGB LED with remote - $5 Ebay
- Hobby Box - $5 Jaycar
- Heat Shrink Tubing - $4 Jaycar electronics
- IR Receiver - $6 Jaycar electronics
- Epoxy Glue - $6 Bunnings Warehouse
- Chain - $4 per meter - Bunnings
- Hose Fitting - $2 Woolworths
- 400 feet fibre optic cable - ~$40 FibreOpticsStore.com with shipping
- Sticky tape
- Black paint
- Screws - Lying around garage
- Electric socket - (Computer PS adapter - 3 prong)
- Eyelets and washers - Bunnings
- Screw in bulb housing - From old backyard spotlight
- Disc Sander
- Drill and Drill bits
- Hot glue gun
- Dremel with ball engraver attachment
- Lacquer and paint brush
- Hack saw
- Blu Tack
- Face maskfor when using jigsaw and disk sander
Step 2: Wooden Upper Base - Part 1
This step contains multiple steps to complete one part of the puzzle. They are:
Top wooden base plate:
1. A compass was extended so that it's length was 225mm (the radius of the circular base)and then this circle was etched in the wood.
2. This circle was cut out with a jigsaw (No photo).
3. The edges were sanded on a disc sander.
4. To complete the aesthetics, the top side (the non-etched side) was painted black with three coats of paint.
1. A hole is cut out just big enough for the power plug to slot into.
2. The plug is then screwed into the top of the base
3. Position the hobby box how it will finally be position ( ideally the end of the hobby box should be located near the centre of the top plate) and pre-drill the holes for four short (7mm) screws.
4. Connect the wires from the power adapter to the screw in bulb fixture.
In the photo ignore the fact that the lamp fixture is inside the hobby box as these photos were taken after the lamp was finished.
Step 3: Wooden Upper Base - Part 2
Chains / Hanging System: The chains form a very reliable support which allows the chandelier to be hung from the ceiling and can take the final weight safely.
1. Take the chain and cut three sections, each 25cm in length
2. In the top wooden plate, drill three pilot holes 20cm from the centre. These points, if connected, should create an equiangular triangle
3. Insert an eyelet (with a washer on the top and bottom) through each pilot hole and tighten with a nut
4. Put the end of a one piece of chain onto each eyelet
5. Put the opposite ends onto a carabina.
The chain assembly is now complete and it can be hung on a roof to complete the rest of the steps.
Support arms: these elevate the lower perspex plate.
1. Take an offcut of your plywood and cut a strip with the saw that is the same width as it's thickness
(e.g. 1.5cm thick, therefore the width marked is 1.5cm to make a square column)
2. Use the plane and sandpaper to make it smooth and even
3. Apply lacquer to the support pieces to protect them
4. Mark every 7cm for a total of 42cm, then cut these out to make six 7cm supports arms.
Now line place the six support arms in a hexagon shape over the perspex plate in between rings 3 and 4 (last picture... ignore the fibre for now)
5. Take one of these supports and line it over a hole in the perspex plate then drill a pilot hole.
6. Secure the support in place with a screw.
7. Repeat for the other 5 arms
8. Line up the top wooden base plate and drill pilot holes directly over the support arms but don't put a screw in yet.
The last photo is the only picture that I have which accurately shows how all the supports should look in the end.
Step 4: Perspex Bottom Plate - Part 1
This is the method on making the bottom perspex base plate. It also shows how to space out the holes where the fibres will emerge in all their beauty where they will join with the marbles.
1. A compass is set to a radius of 225mm
2. The compass is used to etch the circle in the perspex
3. Use the jigsaw (CAREFULLY!) to cut out this circle and use the disk sander to take down to the line (does this sound similar? :D)
Now we must put the five rings in. They are equally separated and give the chandelier it's cascading, tiered levels. The approach (in last picture):
1. Open the compass to 205mm (to make a 410mm circle), etch lightly, then draw the circle on with pencil,
2. Reduce the compass to 160mm (to make a 320mm circle), etch lightly, then draw the circle on with pencil,
3. Decrease compass to 115mm (to make a 230mm circle), etch lightly, then draw the circle on with pencil
4. Open the compass to 70mm (to make a 140mm circle), etch lightly, then draw the circle on with pencil
5. Open the compass to 50mm (to make a 410mm circle), etch lightly, then draw the circle on with pencil
Basically from the centre, the radius of the next ring is increasing in diameter of and extra 45mm until ring 5 when there is a 20mm gap between it and the edge.
Step 5: Perspex Bottom Plate - Part 2
For the first ring:diameter of 5cm x π = 15.7cm circumference. (Round this down to avoid any error from tools).
Diameter of each marble is 1.7cm; therefore: 15.0 / 1.7 = 8-ish. I will use 7 to leave small gap between each marble.
Repeat for each other ring making sure to take 1 or 2 marbles off.
It is now time to make the markings on the rings where each marble will be. To do this (I will use ring 1 as an example):
1. Take 7 marbles and blu tack them down evenly on the pencil line of the ring
2. Make a perpendicular mark on the ring line which will make an "X" where you will drill at the intersecting lines
3. Put the marbles back in the bag after you are done
4. Repeat this for the four other rings.
5. Once all markings have been made, use a 0.5mm drill bit to drill a hole at the intersections.
Step 6: The Light Box
The source of the light and the junction where all the fibres meet is contained inside a project box. Again, not many photos...
1. Mark the centre of both ends of the hobby box
2. Drill out a hole the same size as the diameter of the lightbulb fitting
3. Remove the screw on cap for the hose fitting and the inside diameter is what you want to cut out of the opposite end of the hobby box
4. Install the hose fitting (the cap is put back on and grips to the hobby box, how convenient :) ), the lamp fitting.
Now we have to attach another IR sensor onto the pre existing terminals since the remote won't work.
(Sorry no photos)
1. Cut three lengths of wire 20cm long each
2. Strip all ends
3. Open the led lamp and locate the IR sensor
4. Attach one wire to one lead on the pre-existing IR sensor
5. Cover with heat shrink tubing and then twirl the wire (no soldering required)
6. Attach the corresponding wires onto the new IR sensor and apply heat shrink tubing
Finally: Install the lamp into the light box and close it. You can now screw the light box onto the wooden base plate using screws and the pilot holes you made earlier.
Step 7: Marble Preparation
---I did not get enough photos for this step---
This step requires you to use the Dremel with the ball tip attachment.
1. I made a jig that holds the marbles (two clamps attached to a block of wood). This holds the marble steady as you cut it and keeps your hand free to spray it with water to keep the marble cool.
2. Cut out a notch from a marble. I find holding the tool on one spot and circling my hand (while keeping the engraver at one point) promotes a fast and effective way to cut the notch
3. Repeat another 180 times!!! Yes I know this takes the most time but be patient, even when some of them break...
Step 8: Cutting Out the Fibres
The main attraction of this project, the fibre optics!! Since there are 5 tiers of fibres, different measurements are used to avoid wastage and have maximum yield of fibre.
This step is simple, use a measuring tape and scissors to cut out the fibre according to the table:
7x - 75cm strands + 10cm = 85cm each
21x - 60cm strands + 15cm = 75cm each
35x - 45cm strands + 20cm = 65cm each
50x - 30cm strands + 25cm = 55cm each
64x - 15cm strands + 30cm = 45cm each
CAUTION!: This is the length of each fibre from perspex to marble. To ensure that each fibre can connect to the light box you must add extra so it will reach from the perspex to the hose fitting.
Step 9: Putting the Fibres Into the Base
There are two parts to this step:
1. Now that we have:
7x - 85cm strands
21x - 75cm strands
35x - 65cm strands
50x - 55cm strands
64x - 45cm strands
Now get each bunch, for example, the 7x 85cm or the 50x 55cm and put some heat shrink tubing at the end to keep it together. Repeat for all other groups. This just keeps things tidy for the next part.
1. Take the 7x 85cm strands and thread each strand through a hole in the inner ring of the perspex bottom plate.
2. Repeat this for ring two and so on until all fibres have been threaded (picture 5).
Once done, you should put a larger piece of heat shrink tubing around every strand to make it very neat and tidy as one major bunch. (No picture sorry).
Part 2: IMPORTANT STEP!
You must melt all the strands into one! This allows MUCH better transmission of light, keeps strands tidy and allows you to better insert the bunch into the light box enclosure.
To do this, heat a cement spatula with the blowtorch until it is hot enough the melt the fibres. The slice off stray fibres and shape the bunch by pushing the flat side directly onto the strand bunch to sort of mushroom them.
Step 10: Attaching the Marbles to the Fibres
Ok so this step will take along time since the fail rate is about 20% - 40% of the marbles and can get quite frustrating. You MUST use epoxy and NOT super glue. It is also a good idea to hang the chandelier from the ceiling when doing this step.
1. Pour a small amount of epoxy part A and part B separately at the top of a piece of paper
2. Use the toothpick to mix enough of the two parts that will fill the hole in the marble and push it in
3. Place a piece of sticky tape that will go around the bottom of the marble and extend upwards to have protruding flaps
4. Put the fibre in the hole and pinch the tape together to make a little cradle the marble will dry in. The flaps should "hug" the fibre and take the weight off and allow the glue to dry. I recommend a second tape layer to avoid the high chance of the tape loosing it's grip and the marble falling off.
The final effect is that you can not see the glue spot, the fibre magically touches the marble when looking from below and side on (picture one).
Step 11: Base Decorations
My school had surplus little perspex squares which I was allowed to use. They were exactly 303mm in length so when I divided them into 3 and cut with a band saw, they were exactly 30mm in width, perfect for my project. After dividing the circumference of my wooden base by 3, it worked out I needed 47 of these little "fingers" with a millimeter or two short which will allow for the slight errors in measurement and machine error.
1. Divide the squares into 3 equal sections
2. Use a bandsaw to cut these rectangles out
3. Peel off the perspex paper
4. Attach each finger onto the wooden base by putting a drop of superglue onto the wood plate and holding the finger to the wood, if you want you can use a set square to maintain accurate alignment
5. Repeat for all 47 pieces.
This is the way I personally chose to complete my project, however feel free to experiment with this part. I would have liked to wrap one long length of perspex around the base but that would be too hard and expensive, plus I don't know how to do that :D
Step 12: Finishing Adjustments
The final step is to simple put the two plates together and insert the fibre bundle into the hose fitting.
1. Hang the top plate from the roof
2. Insert the fibre bundle into the hose fitting
3. Hold bottom plate and line up the holes in it with the support arms
4. Screw the perspex plate to the support arms
Step 13: Conclusion and Final Product
This is my first chandelier like this and in the future I hope to create more! If this was to be produced for fundraising, a larger model would be created to be more visible in public places such as outdoors, or in large shopping complexes.
I am very happy with the final design and hope you really enjoyed my instructable!
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