Introduction: Iron LED Chandelier
This is an iron chandelier I made that uses high brightness LEDs It is bright enough to light my whole room as well as my lamp. It is mainly constructed using 1/8" thick metal so it is easily shaped without heating. I tried to include alternatives on how to make one without having metal working equipment. You will need to have some basic shop tools though and most importantly be creative and "MacGyver" your way through it since you will not be using the same things as me. I also used 1/2" square bars to make the middle basket which did require heating in a forge, this is not required for this project. I will also show you how to wire the LEDs and go through some different ways the lights can be controlled including digitally using and Arduino Uno.
These are the items I used but you can use different sizes (your lengths will vary based on the objects you use to make your shapes)
-1/8" x 3/4" flat bar
-1/8" x 2" flat bar
-1/4" x 1/4" square bar
-White LED strip
-#14 jack chain
-22 AWG wire
Tools I used: (I tried to include alternatives whenever possible)
-Clamps(C-clamps, and vise grip c-clamps)
-MIG welding machine
-Old Brake drums to make circles
You will be working with shop tools and electricity. Please use:
-Eye protection when working with tools AND when soldering.
-Electrical safety - please use extreme caution anytime you work you work with electricity
if you are not familiar with working with electronics, take a couple minutes to read about
Step 1: Plan and Gather Supplies
I like to sketch out a quick design and make a 3d model before I start building. Of course this is not necessary but I find it very helpful. You can always do the ol' paper and pencil.
Gather your materials. You can buy 1/8" flat bar at any metal supply. Many hardware stores like Home Depot also carry metal. Find objects you can use as jigs to make your shapes, I used old brake drums. Anything solid that you can clamp the flat bars to will work. You can make your jigs out of wood too.
In the next step I will show you how to calculate how much metal you will need. For your circles
It is always a good idea to gather all the tools you will need so you don't waste time and momentum looking for tools once you start your project.
Step 2: Calculate How Much Metal You Will Need
Grade school geometry comes back to haunt you. I'm sure many of you thought you would never use this stuff but here you are. Circumference = Pi x diameter. in order to find how long of a bar you will need to make your circle you need to find the circumference of your object, then add the thickness of your material 2 times.
Let me explain:
To find the diameter of a circle, measure from one point to the opposite end. So if you have an object with a diameter of 15" and your metal is 1/8" thick, you multiply 1/8" x 2 which gives you 1/4". the diameter of your circle would be 15 1/4" so now we multiply that by Pi which I will round down to 3.14. 15.25 x 3.14 = 47.885. I would just go ahead and round this up to 48" so you would need a 48" bar to make a 15.25" circle. I highly recommend you add and extra 1/4" on top of that to make it easier to close the circle and remove it from your object.
Step 3: Shape the Circles
Refer to the video to see me doing this step if you don't understand.
1. Clamp one of end of your flat bar to your object
2. Bend about 1/4 of the way to start the shape (this will make it easier to close the circle)
3. Un-clamp it and clamp the other end the same way
4. Start bending all the way. The bar will try to spring back out of shape so you will have to place clamps in the middle to keep the circle tight.
5. Clamp down the opposite edge to close the circle
6. Tack weld the corners and remove from your object
7. Bead weld the inside and then the outside
9. There might be a "v" shape at the weld point so place it back on your object and hammer it to shape
If you don't have welding equipment, make your bar a couple inches longer so you can overlap one edge over another. You can now drill two holes and fasten with bolts and nuts.
Any time I weld something on this project you can use this technique, you might just have to get a little creative!
Step 4: Scrolls
I used a scroll jig to make my scrolls. If you already have these laying around I don't think I need to explain to you how to make these. If you absolutely need to have scrolls on your chandelier and don't know how to make them here are some suggestions:
1. Look for a local metal supplier. Many of them sell scrolls and other shapes
2. Shop online
3. Find a blacksmith shop and have them make them for you
4. Take old furniture apart (tables, garden art, etc.)
5. Do some research and learn how to make them
If you want to go with option 5 and need help let me know and I'll try to help you out or point you in the right direction.
Step 5: Weld Scrolls
1. Clam your scrolls on
2. Make sure they're space evenly
3. Make sure they are the same height
4. Tack weld and double check the positition
5. Bead weld on place
Remember that you can drill and fasten with bolts and nuts if you don't have welding equipment
Step 6: Put Chains On
I am using #14 jack chain. These can be bought at most hardware store. They are thin so they can easily be opened and closed using a vise or pliers.
1. Clamp the loop you want to open on a vise and pull it open
2. Measure how long you want your chain to be and open the opposite side
3. do this with as many chains as you need
4. Drill holes where you want to insert your chain into
5. Insert the chain into the hole
6. Use pliers to secure the chain in place
SAFETY NOTE: These chains are thin so don't put too much weight on them
Step 7: Top Section to Attach to Ceiling and Enclose Wires
The top section will be an enclosure for the wires, circuit board and it will be fastened to the ceiling.I improvised a pipe since I did not have any 2" pipe laying around. I recommend cutting a piece to 2" metal pipe and using that. You can also weld a square one out of scrap pieces. Remember, be creative! If you want to see how i made mine take a look at the video.
1. Cut two pieces of flat bar the diameter of your small circle
2. Weld it on
3. Weld your enclosure to on top of that
4. Drill a hole in the center to feed your wires from the LEDs into the enclosure.
You will need some way to attach the chandelier to the ceiling so here's the way I did it.
1. I measured a 3/4" flat bar to fit inside the pipe.
2. Bent it 90 degrees on a vise
3. Cut any excess
4. Make 3 others the same way
5. Weld them on VERY well. The entire weight of the chandelier will be hanging on this so make sure your welds are strong.
6. Drill holes, I drilled 1/4" holes
Step 8: Basket
Making a basket is out of the scope of this instructable so i'm not going to cover it. It is not necessary to make a chandelier but if you want one you can buy it at a metal supply store or online, just search for wrought iron basket. You can also find a blacksmith shop and have them make it for you. If you want to see how I made it refer to the video on the intro.
If it sparks an interest in blacksmith work I highly recommend you read Plain and Ornamental Forging by Ernst Schwarzkopf. You can read it for free on Google Play books. https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ernst_Schwarzkopf_Plain_and_Ornamental_Forging?id=zg4LAAAAIAAJ
Step 9: Prepare LEDs
I used an LED strip from Radio Shack. These can be found online. These use high brightness LEDs and run on 12 volts. You can buy 12 Volt power supplies for them online. All strips I've seen are wired in 3 LED sections
1. Cut into smaller strips (if you want to keep it all in one strip you could also do that, it's up to your design)
2. Remove the plastic around it. I'ts meant to keep the LED's waterproof which becomes useless as soon as you start cutting
3. Determine where you want to place the LED strips
4. Cut wires to connect the LEDs
5. Strip the edges of the wires so they can be soldered onto the strips
6. Once you have all your wires properly cut start soldering. If you don't know how to solder now is a great time to learn ;) there are great instructables on this site on the subject and there are some pretty inexpensive soldering kits you can buy to get you started
I separated my lights into 3 different sections. The ones outside the ring, the ones inside, and one inside the basket. I did this because I wanted to control each section separately. You can do this, more or even connect them all in series to have one switch control all of them (simplest). It's all up to you and whatever fits your designs needs.
Step 10: Paint
Hang the chandelier and paint it. I spray painted it. If you want really long lasting paint i recommend you take it to get powder coated. This is just a quick build for me so I will just spray paint it.
I decided to paint the LED strips and cables as well so they wouldn't stand out as much. If you decide to do this, I recommend using a brush so you don't paint over the light.
Step 11: Secure LED Strips and Wires
Now that your LED's are soldered and your chandelier is painted and dried it's time to secure them on. I chose to drill holes to run the wires to the front LED's. This was for cosmetic purposes and is not necessary. I used glue that claimed to adhere to metal and plastic.
1. Apply glue to the back of the strip
2. Tape the strip on place and let it dry
3. Run your wires up one of the chains and into the hole you drilled earlier into the wire enclosure
4. Once the glue dries, you can remove the tape
NOTE: I used hot glue to secure the cables in place. It ended up looking clunkier than i was hoping so it's up to you if you want to use it.
Step 12: Connect to Power Supply
I am going to leave this for a separate instructable.
There are different ways you can power your LED's. These LED strips are powered by 12 volts. You can buy these power supplies online. Here are a couple ways you can do it:
1. Plug/unplug. You can always wire the power supply directly and plug the power supply into the outlet whenever you want the lights on
2. Add a switch. You can put a switch between your lights and power supply, kind of like the one you use to control your house lights.
There is plenty of information on the internet on how to do this if you can't wait for my instructable!!!!
3. Digitally!!!- I am going to wire this to an atmega328 and control it using Arduino. With this I will be able to
-control the 3 sections i mad individually
-control it remotely using an IR remote
-attach a d PIR motion sensor to it ( I will use it so the lights will turn themselves off if they don't detect motion after a certain period of time)
-voice control it ("LIGHT-ON/ LIGHT-OFF) kind of thing.
and there are many other possibilities that you can accomplish with Arduino.
Once I have a functioning Arduino sketch I will do an instrucable on it and i will cover analog ways of controlling it too (switches)