Picture of Gearbox Lamp
Check out the video to see how the gears move to turn the light on/off and also acts as the dimmer.

This was a result of a need for me to create an example GCSE Engineering project for my students and I really wanted to make something from scrap engine parts I bought of ebay.......Somehow I ended up with this, I am soooooooooooooo pleased with the outcome I thought I would share the joy :)

The project took me 4 days and cost less than £20......... best 20quid I ever spent :)    I also like the fact that most of the main components are reused (gears, bearings, acrylic etc...) this keeps the cost down and encourages creative thinking.

I bought the following
Gears + crank + conrods + bearings - £2
Dimmer switch - £4
Braided flexi hose - £2
Transformer + bulb + holder £4
Bolts £3

Acrylic - from a storage unit
Aluminium - offcuts donated to my school from local engineering company
Steel tube - offcuts from our scrap bin
Old speaker wire
Old 240v plug and double insulated wire

The more components you can harvest the better, look in junk yards / boot sales / garage sales / or even look for instructables treasure in your own garage......you will be surprised what you can find, we all keep stuff as one day it might be useful.....guess what this is that day :)

Please note this instructable's dimensions and working drawings are based around the gear box I used (from an FJ 1200) its likely you will have different components and will have to tweak the dims/drawings/design to fit your materials.


Step 1: Important Components

Picture of Important Components
You need the following components:

Dimmer switch
Braided flexi-hose
12v Halogen transformer
MR16 bulb holder
MR16 12v Halogen bulb 20w
240v plug + double insulated mains cable
Old wire....speaker wire is ideal
Terminal block
Selection of materials to make the base etc....

Moxlonibus3 years ago
That is too cool. I recently cleaned the emissions on our 1986 Mazda Pick Up and found some cool parts on the system. Might look into building this from some of the old parts.
jonnyd55 (author)  Moxlonibus3 years ago
Good idea, old bits from vehicles can look cool, i have a pair of beautiful cast iron axel jacks from 1942, im taking my time to decide what to do with them as they are from the 2nd world war and need to be treated with maximum Instructables respect....... I would love to see what you end up making, dont be afraid to ask if you need any help / advice on design or fabrication :) ....... jonny

Duddy55 I have no lathe either and I live on a iceberg and need a light to hunt seals at night could you please shed a few tears for me and send me one. I will always be your friend with such a big chesty bond "wife beater" on. Bit of a worry a teacher of your standing having a smoke coming out of your gob!

duddy I like to watch what you are doing. long break since 2011. Andy says that you have gone soft and you should read your emails


buck22172 months ago

This is definitely going into the sometime very soon pile, Awesome love it.

makeosaurus5 months ago
Did you ever finish the lathe-free version because this looks amazing
mganpate3 years ago
its very aswoom work kindly share the pdf on mahesh.gan.143@gmail.com
amorarun3 years ago
I liked the project so much but anyway I'm not at home so no plans for building one yet.
Regarding your lathe free version, I'd love to see LED lighting integrated to it :)
bertus52x113 years ago
This is very geeky (but cool)!
I like this
what's not to like about it?? :D

I think it's AWESOME!!!

my GF will think I'm nuts but who cares? she's not the first & won't be the last.... :)
jonnyd55 (author)  SIRJAMES093 years ago
Dont worry bout other people, my family & wife have always thought i was a bit strange :)

Its easier to make than it looks, do you have access to a lathe?
No Sir I do not....and I know of no place or person that has one that would lathe any parts for me... :(

Drills, saws, etc., I either have or know a place that will do the work for me...but a lathe I do not have access to....i do not even know how to work a lathe.

Always wanted one, but money has always been the issue.
jonnyd55 (author)  SIRJAMES093 years ago
Hmm, you will struggle to make the above design without one :( your story has upset me to such a level I am going to create a similar lamp.....lathe free version! It will only require a pillar drill, mallet, saws and a few other basic hand tools......but of course it will be done in true jonnyd55 style ............ QUALITY, THAT WORKS WELL. watch this space......its going to take a month or two to make. Please feel free to share any ideas you have.

You're amazing Sir!!

I think I may have found a new friend. :)

I'll keep watching. :)
jonnyd55 (author)  SIRJAMES093 years ago
Start looking for some old gear boxes

SIRJAMES093 years ago
this lamp has me all pumped! :) I love it!
SIRJAMES093 years ago
OMG!!! that is just too cool!!!!!!

I just have to try & build that....

I think it's a wee bit out of my league, but I want to give it a go ..

Jonny, you're amazing!!
action pig3 years ago
Hey, where did you pull those gears from? Very nice project, by the way, I'd love to try it myself.
specifically, i believe he said that all of the engine/tranny bits came out of a Yamaha FJ 1200. good luck with your project ap :)

very nice work, jonny. i absolutely love the look of it, and the fact that you also made it function in the way that it does makes it all the more fantastic. keep it up.

jonnyd55 (author)  amateurvisionary3 years ago
Thanks for your kind words :)
jonnyd55 (author)  action pig3 years ago
Hi, pleased you are considering having a go :) the gears are from a motorbike engine....... however any gearbox will do.... jonny
Gstv.Inc3 years ago
Amazing idea
ZoDo3 years ago
cool looking lamp.Congrats.
jonnyd55 (author)  ZoDo3 years ago
Thank you for the nice comm :)
Muscpro3 years ago
Great luv it man but hope it won't grind a hole thru ma wooden desktop huh?
jonnyd55 (author)  Muscpro3 years ago
Easy to add rubber feet :)
Is this the style called "dieselpunk"?
jonnyd55 (author)  throbscottle3 years ago
Not sure if there is such a category? perhaps there should be :)
iamjtg3 years ago
Awesome. Very gritty.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
I love the look of this, great work!
jonnyd55 (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Many thanks :)