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This time I will show another use for an old and useless keyboard. The most common use is to always turn the keys to the refrigerator magnets or glue them to a box to form a pencil holder, but this time I wanted to try something different and more striking, so I use the keys and rubber contacts to make a decorative lamp. I can not say that is actually functional as a lamp, because the light it gives is not too powerful, but it looks great and is excellent to decorate your "geek desktop"!

I did empirical way, without having much planned at first, plus I'm not very good with electronics, so the people who know about this will see some aberrations ... Like joining the wires with hot glue instead welding ... But I did what I knew to do it and I think that is a great proof that you do not have to have the greatest knowledge to do anything you want, hopefully that will be motivation for those who have not started their project for lack of knowledge. Just try, for sure you will learn more doing something than just staying in the same place.

Step 1: Tools and Materials That I Used

As the subtitle says, "That I used", that means that you could use anything you could find, because not every person will have the same spare parts from electronics, but obviously the keyboard is an important piece. So, what I used to make this project is:

  • Old Keyboard, be sure that the contacts are the same type showed on first photo.
  • Wire, small gauge.
  • Old data cables from a Printer or something like that.
  • 1 Styrofoam ball. 5 inches diameter.
  • Hot Glue bars and hot glue gun.
  • Popsicle sticks
  • A spoon.
  • A piece of cardboard, as big as the Styrofoam ball. A cereal box will be nice.
  • Round nose Pliers, or some pliers with small tips.
  • Something spherical and translucent, In my case I used a rubber water-filled ball from my nephew... I bought him a bigger one to compensate it!
  • Some Led's. I used 9 of them taken from broken flashlights.
  • A battery to power the Led's. I used a 9volt battery that was enough to power the 9 led's.
  • A switch, better if is small one, like the size of one of the keyboards keys.
  • X-acto Knife/Cutter

Step 2: Preparing the Keyboard

First at all, you need to open your keyboard and take all the keys. For do that you could use a round nose pliers or any kind of pliers with tiny points. If you look very close to the back of the keys, you will see a little pin, If you press it smoothly and the press to the front (push) the key, It will come out easily. Look the second picture to better understanding.

After you take all the keys and rubber contacts, you could wash them, surely if it's a old Keyboard, it will be very dirty. Just put them on a big bowl with some water and a little of soap, then stir vigorously. After a few seconds, just rinse them with clean water.

Step 3: Prepare the Base of the Lamp

Take you Styrofoam ball and divide it in two, right on the middle. Use a cutter to do it. If the cutter in not long enough to go all the way trough the Styrofoam ball, just take the both sides with your hands and rotate them. You will have to half pieces, or two "Domes".

Now, take a spoon and use it to help you take out almost all the inside part of one of the ball pieces. Be sure to left enough space to put inside the battery and some of the led lights.

After that, take your X-acto Knife and with the help of something circular (like the part that holds the CD's on a CD Driver), cut a hole on top of the dome. Save that piece that you've cut. It will help you to put the led.

Take you cardboard piece and put the dome on it, marks the edge of the dome on the cardboard and then cut it. That will be the bottom part and where you will put the battery and cables.

You can use the Popsicle sticks to make spaces for the battery and lights, like the last picture. The little piece of Styrofoam that you cut from the dome, will work as a soft base for the leds, so you can just place on it like it was playdough. In my case I used a 7 leds piece that came from a flashlight

Finally, take your dome and start glue in the keys from the keyboard. Don't forget to leave a hole for the switch. Be sure to put some keys that could work as "markers" for the place of the switch, so you don't forget where is it. A funny thing would be to make words with the keys!

Step 4: Making the Connections

The next, and almost the last step is to put all the connections.

We will need to cut two pieces of data cables, the take out all except two cables from inside. These two cables will be connected to the leds and battery. Now the cable will have some space to put inside the wire, it will be a little difficult but with the help of the pliers and some patience it can be done, left some of the wire out of the cable on each side, like 1 inch. That wire will provide straightness to the data cable and will help to place the tops (see last step).

Now place a led on each cable, don't forget where is the + and - side of the leds.

To make the switch, take on of the keys from keyboard and glue it with the switch, I put a little piece of Styrofoam to fill the inside of the key. Luckily my keyboard has a "Power" key =)

For the connections, you will need to make a serial circuit. You can see a diagram on the last picture. Is really easy to do it. Be sure to test it before you close the dome. And, in this part, you can glue the dome to the bottom part.

Step 5: Making the "tops" and Finishing

The last step!!

I just cut in half the rubber water-filled ball. The glue the rubber contacts on each half. I use some contacts from the multimedia keys, that have just the right shape to use on the very top of the dome.

Now, just place the dome on the wire tips that you left before, you can glue it or just place it carefully.

It's DONE!!

Enjoy you ultra geek decorative lamp!!


Final toughs:

Although the lamp is nice-looking as is, I would like to add something else. Maybe a tiny fan with changing lights! It will be even more cool! So I will start my search for a led that changes colors by itself, because as I said, I don't know anything about electronics, so It will be more easier. If I get it, I will update the Instructable to show the new design!

Thanks for view my Instructable and I hope you make nice comments and teach me something about any mistake that I made =)!

<p>Cool! I like how those rubber ball pieces look on the top :)</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: 24 years old, Paramedic and actually on my first year of Physiotherapy. I consider myself a very imaginative person, that likes to do new things ... More »
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