Introduction: Helix Spiral Lolly Stick Lamp (USB Powered)

Picture of Helix Spiral Lolly Stick Lamp (USB Powered)

Welcome to another project from Cairdy Crafts!

This week, we're turning a pile of lolly sticks, 9 LEDs and an old USB cable into a Helix Spiral lolly stick lamp!

Check out the video for the video guide and read on for the step by step instructions!

Cost

  • Lolly sticks ~£3
  • Old USB cable (free)
  • LEDs (~50p)
  • Hot glue (~£1)

Time

  • ~1-2 hours

Difficulty

  • Patient crafter, introductory solderer!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

For this project, you'll need:

Tools

  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Drill with 5mm drill bit
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Materials

  • Lolly sticks
  • Hot glue sticks or PVA glue
  • 9 x 5mm white LEDs
  • Sheet of white paper
  • Roll of 5mm wide copper tape or 2mm copper wire
  • Old USB cable

Step 2: Making Trapeziums

Picture of Making Trapeziums

First up, lay a pair of lolly sticks in parallel.

Then, add a further pair on top of the first pair to make a rhombus (like a square squashed sideways). This completes ones layer.

The ends of 2 opposite corners should overlap perfectly and the other 2 opposite corners should overlap by about 1cm (or the round end of a lolly stick)).

Add a dab of glue where the lolly sticks overlap and press them together until set.

Now, make a whole load of these rhombuses! I made around 30-40 of them for my lamp. The more you make, the higher the lamp will be.

Step 3: Stack Your Layers

Picture of Stack Your Layers

Next up, glue the layers on top of each other, open tip to open tip.

Keep gluing them layer on layer until your lamp's frame is complete.

Step 4: Cut the Short Pieces to Top It Off

Picture of Cut the Short Pieces to Top It Off

Next up, hold a lolly stick between the top-most pair of lolly sticks and mark a line on the stick so it'll fit between the longer pair.

Repeat once more for the other side and use a pair of scissors to cut the sticks.

Step 5: Finishing the Top

Picture of Finishing the Top

Next up, take your piece of paper and cut it so it sits snugly on top of the square you've just made with the 2 smaller pieces.

Glue the square of paper in place and add a pair of lolly sticks over the top, with the 2 shorter lolly stick between them.

Finally, snip the ends off the lolly sticks sticking out (no pun intended).

See photos for a better idea!

Grab 11 uncut lolly sticks and head off to start drilling!

Step 6: Drill the Holes for the LEDs

Picture of Drill the Holes for the LEDs

Use your ruler to mark at 3cm, 5.5cm and 8cm.

Optionally, you can clamp down your lolly stick to stop it swivelling.

Grab your drill and drill through into a piece of old wood.

Oddly, I find that a metal drill bit works better than a wood bit for this! Possibly due to the width and thickness of the wood.

Step 7: Solder Resistors Onto LEDs

Picture of Solder Resistors Onto LEDs

Next up, you'll want to solder one resistor onto the positive leg of each LED.

Wrap one resistor leg around the long, positive leg of each LED.

Then, add a dab of solder over the joined wires for each LED and you're ready to rock and roll!

Step 8: Glue the Base Sticks in Place

Picture of Glue the Base Sticks in Place

Next up, glue the lolly sticks onto the base.

You'll want to glue each lolly stick with holes between a pair of plain lolly sticks.

After gluing the lolly sticks in place, you should have a square of lolly sticks with the holes roughly equal distance apart!

Step 9: Sketching Your Circuit

Picture of Sketching Your Circuit

Next up, it's helpful to sketch out your circuit. Draw common paths in two colours to make it easier to track.

Join up your positive tracks leading to a common positive track. Repeat with the negative tracks and run it next to the positive track.

Grab a couple of felt tip pens and mark your tracks on the lolly stick base.

Step 10: Glue the LEDs in Place

Picture of Glue the LEDs in Place

Next up, press the LEDs into the holes. Make sure the positive legs (the ones with the resistors attached) point towards your positive track - in my case, the pink one!

Now, grab your hot glue gun and glue over the the LEDs in the holes to hold them in place.

Step 11: Running the Circuit Tracks

Picture of Running the Circuit Tracks

Now comes a mildly fiddly bit!

Bend down all the LED legs so they line up flat with the coloured tracks. The flatter you can make them, the easier it'll be to lay the copper tape.

If you're using copper tape, I suggest using a ruler to measure out the length of each straight piece of track you drew on the lolly sticks.

Peel off the sticky back and lay it down over the LED legs, smoothing the copper tape down.

Repeat with all the pieces of tape you need to complete the circuit, making sure you overlap each piece at the corners.

Step 12: Solder All Your Joins

Picture of Solder All Your Joins

Just like the title suggests, it's time to bust out the soldering iron and solder where every piece of copper tape touches either copper tape, LED leg or resistor leg.

Once you're done, you should have a fully functioning electrical circuit!

Step 13: Prepare Your USB Cable

Picture of Prepare Your USB Cable

Now comes a whole host of snipping and stripping. A whole load better than you might be thinking...

First up, snip off the smaller end use the scissors or a pair of wire strippers to strip off the rubber cladding.

Separate the wires inside and snip off the white and green data wires.

Carefully, strip off around 1cm of cladding off the end of the red (positive) and black (negative) cables and twist the copper wires inside together.

Use your soldering iron to tin the ends to make them solder more easily onto your copper tape.

Step 14: Test Your Circuit

Picture of Test Your Circuit

Plug in your USB cable into a USB port (laptop or iPod charger works fine) and touch the red wire to positive copper track and the black wire to the negative copper track.

Hopefully, you should see all 9 LEDs light up brightly. If one of the LEDs is duller than the rest or isn't turning on, retouch the solder connections and try again.

If you have a whole line of dull LEDs, you may need to retouch the solder where the copper tape ends touch.

Once you have 9 bright LEDs, you're done!

Step 15: Optional Step: Tidy Up the USB Cable

Picture of Optional Step: Tidy Up the USB Cable

To help the LED cable hold firmly in place, tuck it under the base and between 2 of the lolly sticks.

Hold the USB cable in place and hot glue it to hold it there.

Flip the lamp over and plug it back in to make sure the circuit lights up just as well.

You should see a brightly glowing white top!

Step 16: Stand Back and Admire Your Handiwork!

Picture of Stand Back and Admire Your Handiwork!

Congratulations, you're done!

Turn off the main lights and plug in your lamp. I found there was enough light to read a book by and the uplight was strong enough to give my bedside a nice white glow!

Well, thanks very much for checking out my instructable and do check out the video guide if you want to try making one yourself :)

Comments

dougdemille (author)2015-04-16

what size resistors

Hi! Sorry for the late reply; I only just noticed your comment! The resistors were 68 ohms. That said, LEDs vary in their forward voltage and forward current so you could use this site to check the resistor you need: http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz

FariidaY (author)2015-03-31

This looks fun to make, thanks :-)

Cairdy Crafts (author)FariidaY2015-04-01

You're welcome :) Do you think you'll try to make it?

FariidaY (author)Cairdy Crafts2015-04-01

Yes, hopefully I'll find some time to do it.

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