Introduction: Lamp Made From Translucent 45 Records

I salvaged a few thousand 45 records from the landfill a few months back. The radio station had tried giving them away but it seems that nobody really wanted a huge pile of mostly country 45s. I went through the pile of them with my friend Earl (who tipped me off to the pile of records) and we pulled out all of the music we were interested in listening to. We also pulled out a stack of different color translucent records. What to do with a bunch of blue, green red and yellow 45s? Well, they reminded me of the lamps i have seen made out of compact discs so that's what i went for.

A few things...

Please, if you are going to mention this project in print or other sites please give a nod and link to www.zieak.com as well as instructables.

Also, these records served a very long life at a public radio station. I understand that they did everything they could to find them a good home. I salvaged them from the baling facility where they would have been compacted into a bale and shipped to a landfill. Don't hate me for doing this to a record. I have a large collection of LPs but these artists and songs have no interest to me. But if they ever do - i didn't drill through the audio part - just the label - so they can still be played!

Step 1: Materials

To do this project you'll need a number of things...

50-75 translucent records plus a few that don't need to be translucent
a light bulb, fixture, switch and cord
a base
threaded rod, washers, fender washers, nuts and acorn nuts

Step 2: Tools

I used a LOT of tools for this project. Depending on your base and the light you use you could use a lot less than this...

Square, marker, pencil
Chop saw
Soldering iron, solder, wire, wire cutters and strippers
Electric stapler, wood glue, right angle clamps
Clamps
Bolt cutters
Wrenches, sockets, pliers
Drill, drill bits
Hot glue gun

Step 3: Clamp and Drill

I stacked up the records in a somewhat random color pattern. I looked at it a few times and moved a few around if there were too many of one color together.

I just eyeballed the location for the three holes on one of the non-translucent 45s. It would be better to do this with an equilateral triangle and a drill press with a jig of some sort to ensure every hole is in the proper spot. I'm not that together, don't have a drill press, and figured out that might have been way better after some frustration.

Put your template on one end and a few other non-translucent 45s on the other end of the stack. When you're pushing the drill bit through it is possible the last few might crack.

By pushing the stack on its side against the fridge i was able to clamp them together.

I then drilled through the stack with an extra long drill bit that was just a bit larger than the threaded rod. The reason this is the first step is because it will take a long time. The drill bit gets hot and starts to melt the vinyl. I think i averaged about a quarter inch each time. Then i would let the bit cool while working on the base or the light.

So drill a little, work on part of the next step, drill a little, go back to what you were doing... repeat.

Step 4: Lamp Base

I had originally planned on using an old record player for the lamp base. But i'm getting old and need to make my projects look a little more like an old person made them.

That and i didn't have a spare record player to gut at the time. I have had two in the past but nothing now. Besides - most record players are designed to hold a larger record so i thought the base might look a little strange.

I used some oak that i had around.

I made a top piece that was seven and a half inches square and cut four trim pieces for the perimeter.

I glues and tacked the frame together and did my best to take photos that hide my errors. I'm no carpenter. I'm also not an electrician which you will soon see...

Step 5: Light

You probably live somewhere with a hardware store with a decent assortment of light fixtures and bulbs and can probably just buy something that will work and you won't have to mess around with as much as i did. But figuring out stuff like this really is part of the fun of making something.

I bought a few switched light sockets and plugs. I used a push button with a stainless button from an old stereo i took apart. And for my lights i wanted the lamp to be energy efficient so i used these LED lights used for emergency exit lights. (A search for "emergency exit LED retrofit" should give some results. Shop around - prices vary greatly!) I calculate that running this light will cost me just a few cents a day if i left it on for 24 hours. Because i knew my lamp would be taller than just one (and because i blew the fluorescent bulb that i tried first) i broke them apart (also necessary to fit inside the 45s) and soldered two in series. I used part of a pen to glue the two lights together.

I removed the switch on the cord. I don't really like those and thought the stainless button on oak would look nice. I soldered one end of the socket wiring to the switch and one from the outlet to the other side of the switch. I covered the terminals with some hot glue to prevent a short or me from hurting myself.

If you notice a change in the wires it is because i somehow killed one of the lights. I think i held the soldering iron on too long and burned a component. I was stumped for a while.

You should calculate the center of the base and drill a hole large enough for your light fixture now.

For some high resolution images showing the detail of the base check out these photos.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zieak/3775901200/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zieak/3775901316/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zieak/3775095503/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zieak/3775901536/sizes/o/

Step 6: Stacking the Records

Here's where things are a little tricky. Chances are that you didn't manage to drill exactly parallel holes through the records. That's ok as long as you're close. And as long as you don't let the records freely spin around. The order and orientation of the records is important to retain. I kept my drill bit in one hole and started with the bottom of the stack. I had a bottom to my stack because, amidst all the 45s was one translucent small diameter 33. Odd indeed - i'll assume you won't be so lucky and that you'll need something to cover up the larger opening of the 45 on top. I suggest an adapter stuck or glued into place.

Before we get there we need to drill holes in the base. I started with the threaded rod and acorn nuts all in the three holes drilled through the stack. Once you have that you can remove the clamps.

Mark where the holes need to be on the base. I suggest using a considerably larger bit for this hole. It won't be noticeable under the record and will make threading all the records on a bit easier.

Now move one threaded rod from the stack to the base. switch the acorn nut for a fender washer and a hex nut. Put the drill bit back in that empty hole. Remove the other two threaded rods and put them in the base. keeping your stack of records oriented take one, and flip it over and onto the rods. Put washers on the rods and then take a next and flip it over before putting it on. Keep doing that until you are out of records, you are tall enough for your light bulb, or you like the look of it.

Put the acorn nuts on and gently work the rods back down into the base. Tighten the hex nuts and then use the bolt cutters or a hacksaw to trim any excess threaded rod.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Thank you Instructables for having another contest to get one more of my projects from concept to completed!

Comments

author
M3G (author)2013-06-13

Awesome!

author
andybuda (author)2011-04-16

for the black vinyl project
im thinking spacers between each vinyl
something like frosted perspex if moneys no object
would be abit retro, black n white
maybe 2 ft tube. low heat and could hide transformer in the base. i did see some coloured covers on ebay for tubes so any desired colour

this is a banksy canvas i got and put a tube behind, its crappy neon light that give off next to no heat so no fire.

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author
kelvinmead (author)andybuda2012-12-18

if you just got one largish piece of perspex, then cut into squares larger than the light in the centre, you would get the space, and the look, without the full cost of loads of 12" circles.

author
mechaninja (author)2011-05-14

You do understand that you're completely ignorant for using actual records, people pay good money for those.

author
kelvinmead (author)mechaninja2012-12-18

i have 20000 records, you can have them...

...all you have to do is collect them..

author
agis68 (author)2011-11-11

very cool...i have about 1200lps but none is red or blue....anyway.....my question is for the led lamp you used....please give us a link to find it or the exact type of it

thanks

author
LesB (author)2011-09-05

This could be done too with all black 45's. Then you'd have light coming out of the slits. It would be a different lamp, but still quite cool.
Another thing, you could put a motor to rotate the records, then add a tone arm and cartridge and have a turntable that would play the top record. That top record better be something you reallllly like!

author
kz1 (author)2011-09-04

Nice lamp! I like that you retained the original functionality of the records to boot. Back in the day I passed by a local radio station that had cleaned out their archives; stacking literally hundreds of colored & black vinyl records on the curb.

We were just kids but went home, got our wagons, and returned to haul those treasures home. This was before the Frisbee was even thought of (or so they thought)....the air was alive with flying vinyl for many months thereafter. :>)

Thought about stacking CD's with copper spacers but hadn't decided on a light source just yet. Nice work.

author
taoybb-TH (author)2011-04-10

AHHHHHH! I feel deplore a vinyl record........

author
brandoedmo (author)2011-01-06

Nice work.... any chance you have some more of those records you'd be willing to sell or would you be willing to make me one?? Also, nice ETSY store... LOVE the mustache pacifiers, I'm gonna have to buy a couple of those!

author
zieak (author)brandoedmo2011-01-06

I only have maybe 8-10 more of these kicking around. I was thinking about making one with black 45s to see how that turns out. I also am considering selling this lamp because it really doesn't fit the decor anywhere in the house anymore.

Thanks for the props on the pacifier mustaches!

author
brandoedmo (author)zieak2011-01-10

I would be interested in buying it if you put it for sale online, that is if no one you know is interested.... What would you want for it??

author
Green_Primus (author)2009-07-29

love this idea, but a want to scale it down a bit, aka CD/DVD's (more importantly, FAILED burning CD/DVD's) some glue/epoxy them together (& clap duh) and run a "rope light" through them. The disks are clear have a reflective side (awesome) and by NOT bolting them you can get wavy designs in there if you want. Now im just in the process of collecting enough disks, I'm considering hitting up used cd stores with a discard "fail burn's box."

author

also, you can use free 'internet disks' (duno the real name but they're basicaly like sorta demos for different service providers) - they used to have them all free by the doors at PC World

author
TechDante (author)drummonkey922010-12-30

a pc cold cathode tube will fit nicley down the centre of a stack of cd's, you hust need to find a way of powering it from a 12v sourse

author
BunnyMacSteam (author)2010-08-16

maybe if your a lil creatif with convertions you can make an actual record player of it .??? just put the recordplayer in the wouden shell and run an axe trough the center whole , and convert the needle and needlearm to a longer arm and you can let it maken a sound to :p lol greetzzzz

author
=SMART= (author)2009-12-12

Awesome !

author
Re-design (author)2009-09-11

I did this using unwanted cd's and dvd's. Ran a thing flores. tube down the middle after drilling them out to make the center hole larger. Made a great desk lamp.

author
justinhyp (author)2009-08-07

Nice!

author
79spitfire (author)2009-07-30

The large washers are commonly called "fender washers". Calling them that will make them easier to find.

author
strangebike (author)79spitfire2009-08-04

in England they are sometimes called repair washers or penny washers. but if you ask then you will find what you are looking for.

author
zieak (author)79spitfire2009-07-31

Thanks! I'll make that edit.

author
porcupinemamma (author)2009-07-29

Now this is Wayyyyyyyy COOL!!!! I can't hink of anywhere I could access coloured records. Any other suggestions besides a land fill!

author
zieak (author)porcupinemamma2009-07-29

I checked eBay for "45 colored lot" and was really surprised at the amount people wanted for just a dozen. Some thrift stores perhaps?

author
porcupinemamma (author)zieak2009-07-29

Geee. Thanks a lot for checking-I kinda thought they'd be pricey. I'll just have to keep looking at your beautiful creation :0)

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-29

where the heck is that

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-29

what time will u have them done esatern time

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-29

Check your PM inbox...

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-29

can u get led lights that are blue

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-29

Absolutely. I'm sure you can get them online. You probably can get them at a local store too.

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-29

can u make pictures of the bottom and how to do all that wire stuff

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-29

Sure can... I'll do that tonight.

author
PresidentAnybody (author)2009-07-28

should put it on like a post/ pole, make it more lamplike

author
zieak (author)PresidentAnybody2009-07-28

Not a bad idea. I have a lot of floor lamps already though so this was the most practical for me.

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-28

so could i just use a normal lightbulb

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-28

I do not think that would be a good idea. Only use a bulb that you can safely handle even after it has been on for a while. If it gets too hot it would be a fire hazard.

author
Tommyhzy (author)zieak2009-07-28

RBG automatically colour-changing LEDs! (But after about 2 minutes all the colours of each LED is misaligned, some change faster, some slower, but it'll add a nice effect!) :) But I don't have enough of these or CDs or anything to make one... ):

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-28

do u think that blue would work?can you make some more clear pictures

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-28

what could i use as spacers?

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-28

You could use nuts that are larger then the threaded rod, perhaps cutting sections from cheap pens or other round tubing that is slipped over the threads...

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-28

is there a way that you can change the color of the lamp?

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-28

If you used a white light bulb that would give a better set of colors off the vinyl. You should definitely make sure you use something very cool (as in temperature) though. Browse your hardware lighting section or look for something online. I initially planned on a fluorescent bulb but couldn't find a fixture in town to use it with. Incandescent bulbs will get too hot for certain - as would halogen i believe. There are some neat LED products that change color that you could probably modify to work with it.

author
Sean_Voodoo (author)2009-07-28

zieak do u have to use that many records

author
zieak (author)Sean_Voodoo2009-07-28

No - you could either make the lamp shorter or put more space between the records which would allow more light through.

author
Fridge Gnome (author)2009-07-28

Would this work with CDs?

author
zieak (author)Fridge Gnome2009-07-28

Do a Google image search for CD lamp and you'll see where my inspiration came from.

author
BuhlMan (author)2009-07-28

This looks so cool!!! It would be better if you had the records spin around to make some good lighting affects. You should also show the radio station this lamp and they might give you a free t-shirt.

author
noahh (author)2009-07-28

This is great. I am always on the lookout for records of unusual color, but most record stores keep them in the windows or on the walls as decoration rather than selling them. So, I just root through Goodwill, (where I have found some pretty good records) garage sales and anywhere else. I would love to make this.

author

What you could have done was if you chose to put them on a record player put 3 LED's on the part that spins and mount the stack slightly above it but not so it spins and when you plug in the record player the LED's spin and through the records it will make some groovy colours!

author
ChrysN (author)2009-07-27

That turned out really cool, nicely done. Who'd of thought you could turn country music into something beautiful!

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Bio: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!
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