This is an Instructable on how to convert an old parking meter into a stylish lamp. Difficulty may vary depending on what shape/ kind of parking meter you choose. I was lucky in the fact that the meters that I acquired had no mechanical insert so I did not need a key. If you get a meter with the key this will actually be even easier! I have made a few variations of this already so many variations can be made that I will point out along the way.

Time: Dependant on type of lamp or base you have/ decide to create but generally they take me somewhere between 6-8 hours, a great weekend project.

Cost: Dependant on materials, the base costs me $100 to make at a metal shop. If I go with CF lights it will cost less than $10.00. In this project I will be using LED strips because my cousin wanted one where the color changes . You can get LED strip kits for about 50 bucks.

Skills needed: Basic soldering and electronics will be an asset. Welding if you choose to make your own base.

One of the most difficult parts of this project will be making a sturdy enough base so that it cant be knocked over easily (they are very heavy...). The ones I had came with a stand that was wallmounted at one point but I didn't want to use heavy hardware to attach them to the wall. I made a shorter lighter version and 2 taller "fullsize" versions that use some heavy steel. As for the rest of the project there is basic soldering for the lighting, cleaning, and getting everything to fit! if you have a key already you can skip the step where you disable the lock cylinders. The cylinders need to be disabled so you can easily access the bulbs if they need replacing and you can also get to the money compartment where I like to stash all of the wiring. It can also be a fancy hidden compartment!

Step 1: Take Apart Parking Meter

Chances are your parking meter may be extremely dirty and the glass very fogged. The ones that I found had the inserts gutted, signs drilled into them, and then 2 feet of snow left on top. This allowed alot of dirt and debris to get inside.
My fist step is to disable the locks on the inside so that I can open the top to get at the rest of it. its very tight and i have had varying success with using a socket with an elbow adapter but what I've found works best is to use a chisel/screwdriver against one of the corners of the nut and hit the top with a hammer. This should be enough to unscrew it slowly by poking at the nut.
Once you have your fist nut off you can remove the locking lever and push out the cylinder. This allows you to open the top and get at the rest of the screws. If you have a single meter congratulations you're pretty much done! if not then repeat for the other side.
With mine there was a a few levers with springs that can be removed in order to get at the screws that hold everything down. This allows for easier cleaning. After this step I don't put the front screws back in for easier removal later. Take out all 4 screws and repeat for the other side if needed. Once this is done you can pull everything up.
With mine there are 2 more screws that are attached (sometimes) to a plastic cone that collects the coins. I take these out at this point so it doesn't scratch or poke at anything when cleaning.
Once this is off you can get at the bottom point where all of the money is collected. Mine had a bolt at the bottom that can be removed if it is attached to a pole already. You may need to spray some WD-40 to get this loose its usually rusted up but not bad. There is also a door that has a lock to get at the money.
The door lock has 4 screws holding in the inside parts and one that holds the cylinder. After those are out you can remove the u plate and remove the door for easier access at the cylinder to remove it for disabling later.
<p>$100 seems like a lot for a project like this, Anyway, That is definitely a good re-use </p>
<p>It was BUT I've been able to reduce the cost quite a bit. I used much thinner metal for the base and can substitute all the metal if needed for PVC to reduce weight and cost. As for the electronics I've started using some thinner led bulbs in a 4 pack for 50 bucks and you need 2 so 25 bucks instead of 50 for the strip lights. Last one I made had a short base and cost maybe 60 bucks TOTAL. So short cuts can be taken. I'm thinking of trying a concrete base next with a curb haha.</p>
<p>What is a &quot;4 pack&quot;? 24 meters of LED strips?</p><p>You might want to try using <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/useful-10pcs-dc-9-12v-10w-white-smd-led-lamp-bead-bulb-chip-energy-saving/131579408867?hash=item1ea2be71e3">these</a> LED's</p>
<p>4 Pack of LED bulbs </p><p></p><p>They look like this the flatness of them allows them to fit where a normal bulb won't. Plus they are very bright, low wattage, and basically work without any special circiutry like most led strips do need.</p>
<p>Do you have the instructable of the &quot;easy and strong portable work space&quot;?</p>
<p>Though now I am thinking of it and am drawing up some plans. I will post it when it is finished!</p>
Nope it's just some offcuts of fake wood flooring that you snap together when you need it.
<p>My Very First thought when I saw this one was the Movie, Cool Hand Luke.</p><p>Make an Interesting walkway or driveway lighting system.</p>
<p>Yes this should be very easy to waterproof. I've been thinking of a way to maybe use solar charging.</p>
<p>How does one even get a parking meter?</p>
<p>Legally I would hope haha! Lots of places are upgrading from mechanical to digital or getting rid of them altogether in favor of one machine for one parking lot. EBay has some as well or something like Craig's list. An antique store maybe?</p>
I should have thought of ebay or Craig's list. Never thought to try them. I do look for weird things at antique stores all the time and never see any
I didnt get the whole jest of this project after looking at your photes I can figure if you created a mood lamp or a flood light and where would a lamp like this fit in? i have a parking meter and it weighs 80lbs not too easy to mount on the wall but if i was to put a light in it and make it work then i think that maybe worth doing. Right now i use my poarking meter for crank jokes i put it up in front of whoevers car and have some phony realiastic looking tickets i write out to go along with it. Its more fun than it sounds like writing about it took all the laughter out of it.
<p>When I used the CFL bulbs it wasn't all that bright and was more or less mood lighting yes. With the LED's however it can be quite bright. They work great in a living room setting as a replacement for a standing lamp as it would give off relatively the same light as a regular lamp with a shade. I have a smaller version of this one that is my bedside table lamp. Its great in the morning because its not as harsh on your eyes. These ones were actually originally wall mounted to cement walls I assume but they aren't near 80 lbs unless you include the stand itself. In theory it is wall mountable but you would need some serious TV hanging hardware to pull it off safely. Your other idea sounds good though lol a friend of mine used to have a handicapped parking sign and he did the same thing to his friends. It was also much lighter haha. If your parking meter still has all of its insides you might be able to retain them and add the LED strips inside to accent it a bit. </p>
<p>That's awesome. I've never ever seen one of these reused. :D</p>

About This Instructable


84 favorites


More by mrandle: Smart Watch Charging Stand Collapsable Hammock Stand Grass Hammock
Add instructable to: