Instructables
Picture of New Guard for a Trouble or Work Light
This is my trouble light, also known as a work light. It needed a new guard to protect the bulb. I decided to make my own, even though I could have ordered one. My local hardware store did not have one, even though their parent company's web site shows some of their stores stock them. I also noticed some things about the conventional design of trouble light guards that have presented minor difficulties in use, and I wanted to correct those.

Materials--
Sheet metal from the outer cover of an old washing machine
1/8 inch steel rod (from concrete reinforcement wire stubs)
2 #8-32 machine screws and nuts
An old speaker magnet

Tools--
Flux core wire feed welder
Angle grinder with a cutting wheel
Dremel tool with cutting wheels and grinding stones
Vise
Electric hand drill and bit
Grinding wheel
Screwdriver
 
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Step 1: The old guard

Picture of The old guard
My trouble light is a cheap plastic unit that still works well, except for the broken guard. The grill was plastic and broke many years ago. I used a piece of coat hanger wire to make a protector for the bulb, but it easily pushes away and is little help. The old guard is also badly cracked. I never liked the swivel hook, either. It has never broken, but a twist in the cord will cause the light to turn away from the direction I want it to shine.

Step 2: First step

First I cut a strip of sheet metal 5/8 inch wide by about 7 inches long, and cut this into two equal lengths. These would become straps to fit around the body of the trouble light. I bent them to the contour of the trouble light body and left a flat tab at each end. Here you can see the front strap attached to the trouble light. The old plastic strap in the foreground was used as a guide. One of these will be welded to the body of the guard. The other will simply attach with screws.
graydog1112 years ago
Nice job. You protected the bulb, now protect yourself. Adding a piece of aluminum foil behind the bulb will keep the metal cover cool so you don't burn yourself. Nearly all my car buddies have burned themselves some time or another, and I still have a burn scar on my arm from 20 years ago. The aluminum foil will also reflect more light.
Phil B (author)  graydog1112 years ago
Thank you for your concern born of personal experience. I may use some sheet aluminum and mount it with an airspace for insulating value. So far, I have always reached for the handle rather than the shield.
The problem is not "reaching for the handle", it is brushing your forearm against the shied while reaching into a tight place, like down to air conditioner or alternator on one of these newer cars where there is not much room. Mine was at least a second degree burn. Foil makes a tremendous difference.
drissel2 years ago
Great I-ble, fair warning to allow bulb change ... very ingenious hook widget
HNY,
Bill Drissel
Phil B (author)  drissel2 years ago
Thank you.
Another excellent instructable from you my friend.
I was just wondering if the inside had a more reflecting surface if that would have helped in any way, and maybe a low energy saving bulb.
Normally I don’t work with metal, but I was thinking how this could be done with wood which will be also more heat resistance. Just saying... like the challenge :)))
Thank you, Steli. I think it could be done with wood. My suggestion would be to make the wood guard a little oversize. Then get some sheet aluminum of a thin gauge, perhaps even from a soft drink or beer can. Mount it inside the guard as a reflector, but use spacers, like washers, to hold it off of the wooden surface about 5mm. Broad head screws could hold the aluminum and the washers to the wood. That would insulate the wood from the heat of the bulb and would also provide a reflector for more and better light.
prestux3 years ago
Nice!
Add an LED bulb and it would be perfect!

Well done Phil, (as usual).

Phil B (author)  prestux3 years ago
Thank you. I expect something LED could be added. Because LEDs are pretty durable, the sturdy guard could be pared down.
zazenergy3 years ago
Another great Instructable, Phil! Featured!
Phil B (author)  zazenergy3 years ago
Thank you.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Nice one, Phil!
My trouble light guard has seen some better days, it's never been the same since it was backed over with a car I was working on
Phil B (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Ouch! Thank you for looking.
embochner3 years ago
very cool great ideas
Phil B (author)  embochner3 years ago
Thank you.
rimar20003 years ago
Good work, Phil. I have still one of these work lamp, all yellow plastic. The worst thing of it was the switch, I had to change it. Then I added a reflector behind the bulb, that improved it a lot.
Phil B (author)  rimar20003 years ago
My switch is still good after all these years. I cannot imagine using one of these without a reflector. It would be very distracting and annoying.
russ_hensel3 years ago
For those of us who do not have welding equip. I would guess soldering with a big iron or plumbing torch would also work ( on steel ). Use an acid or similiar flux ( plumbing probably ok ) and wash off at the end.
Phil B (author)  russ_hensel3 years ago
Thank you for mentioning that. I thought a little about someone who does not have welding equipment or a friend who welds. I probably would use pop rivets in that situation. Pop rivets would require leaving some tabs to fold down for drilling a hole through both pieces to be joined. Soldering would require galvanized sheet metal as the metal used.
pfred23 years ago
I have/had a super old drop light that looked a lot like what you made. I say have/had because I haven't seen it in years now. I've sort of lost track of it in my junk collection. I got a fluorescent drop light that actually earns its name, as in I can drop it and the bulb doesn't break.

I've had rough service bulbs and they don't seem up for much more abuse than regular bulbs. Plus I've been burned by incandescent drop lights pretty good, I think that is why yours may have had a plastic shield. The metal shields get cooking hot!

I am wondering how a CFL bulb would perform in one of the old style holders. It might eliminate the delicate bulb syndrome, and would definitely stop the burn.

Now I want a cordless LED work light. I have some LED flashlights and I am impressed with how well they perform. I've seen LED work lights but haven't pulled the trigger on one yet, I should now though. There are some pretty tempting choices today. One of those would eliminate the last hassle with drop lights, the drop cord!

I like how you think though Phil, never let it die!
Phil B (author)  pfred23 years ago
Thank you, pfred. I put a rough service bulb into my light quite a few years ago and it has lasted very well. Regular bulbs often lasted only minutes before a bump took them out. Thanks, also, for the caution about heat build-up. I will have to try a compact fluorescent bulb in it, just to see what happens.