Instructables

Make a Craft Stand from a Swing-Arm Lamp

My wife has picked up a new craft, bead-weaving. You will see some of her work on Etsy. She has been working with her loom propped on her lap or a lap desk, but it's not the most ergonomic way of working. She expressed an interest in an adjustable stand which could hold a loom or an embroidery hoop (she also does counted cross-stitch) and I began searching for designs right away. This will be her Christmas present this year. Since she admires thrift, I'm trying to do it as inexpensively as possible.

Materials:
Swing-arm lamp
Clamp-on 360° swivel hobby vise
3" spring clamp
2x2 lumber
2x4 lumber
Scrap plywood
Pipe nipple
Screws and other hardware

Tools:
Drill
Dremel
Hacksaw
Screwdrivers
Allen wrench
Pliers
 
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Step 1: Research and Planning

The manufactured stand I liked the look of was the FA Edmunds Universal Craft Stand. I had plenty of dimensional lumber lying around, so I could conceivably have replicated it. The trouble was that I didn't have the tools to easily cut and shape wood to the tolerances needed to assemble one. Also, it's been my experience that hardware like the bolts, washers, hand nuts, etc. gets expensive fast. The Edmunds stand costs less than $25 on Amazon, and I could easily spend that in specialty hardware.

I kept coming back to the idea of the classic swing-arm lamp that clamps to a desk or drafting table. Using one of those as the core of my project would take a lot of the mechanical fiddling out of the process. I was concerned that it wouldn't have the juice to hold up the work, though, so I went searching through instructables to find other folks who had re-purposed these mechanisms.

That turned out to be surprisingly tricky. At first I thought I was looking for "Tensor" lamps, but that is a completely different technology. The lamps I was picturing were usually called "swing-arm lamps", but non-US 'iblers more often called them "Anglepoise lamps". I also saw people calling them "balanced-arm" and "floating-arm" lamps.

In the end, I created a Guide to pull all of these projects together, so you don't have to. You're welcome. :-)

I determined that one of these lamp arms would probably hold a bead loom or mid-sized embroidery hoop with no trouble. The Edmunds model is heavier-duty, but people use those to hold big embroidery frames loaded with a yard or more of fabric. My wife doesn't do anything like that. At least, not yet.

I also knew I would need a means to adjust the angle at the end of the arm. I decided to keep my options open, but I liked the look of this multi-directional hobby vise. The whole thing would be too heavy for my purpose, but I thought I could cannibalize it for the ball-and-socket joint. 
Eh Lie Us!3 days ago

Great ideas here. I'm making something similar but to hold my wife's iPad. How will you compensate for heavy items that your wife might load on that? Tighter screws? Counterbalance?