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For filmmaking purposes, controlling how much light comes into the lens is pretty basic. Opening or closing the iris (or aperture) of the camera can control the total amount of light, but what if you want to be more selective? You might need to control light sources individually and that's where a dimmer comes in.

Simply plug whatever light you wish to dim and crank down (or up) on this very handy gadget. Made easily and cheaply with hardware store parts, this little dimmer can handle any light up to 600 watts.

If you're not a filmmaker, this gadget will still handle most of your light controlling needs.

Step 1: Parts List

These parts can be found at any hardware store (Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace) or Wal-Mart. In my experience, Home Depot has the best prices, but Wally World is known for deals on stuff you didn't even think they had.

- 6' 2 prong power cord, $1
- "Old Work" PVC gang box, $0.72
- Lid for gang box, $0.54
- Rotary Dimmer, $5

<p>You can buy a dimmer for less than $1.50 on ebay. It is an online switch the takes a couple of minutes to attach to the lamp cord. You just need a philips screw driver and a razor blade to cut the wire. Comes in white and brown and you can put it anywhere on the cord. I have mine a couple of inches from the lamp so I don't have to search for it. </p>
<p>Although those are cheap, I believe they're only three position: High, Low, or Off.<br>The dimmer in this instructable is far more adjustable, however unsightly or bulky it may be.</p>
<p>Could I leave one wire in the chord uncut, and splice in the dimmer just breaking one of the wires in the pair? I would imagine that could eliminate 1 unneeded cut in the circuit.</p>
<p>does this control a soldering iron well?</p>
This also won't work nearly as well on LED or CFL bulbs unless they are rated to dim, and even then it's not as straight forward as incandescent bulbs.
This could be used to control a solder iron but I'd use a stranded socket, a double box, and a 3 wire cord to allow for an earth connection. My iron has one and I consider it an important safety feature.
Nice and straight forward Instructable. The only thing you don't mention is that using a dimmer will change the color temperature of the light produced by the bulb. The more you dim down the bulb, the lower the color temperature (more orange) the light will be. From an audio standpoint, dimmers also make bulbs hum a bit.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm a tinkering filmmaker who likes to build stuff for my films.
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