I'm going to show you how I went about designing and making an really neat lamp, a lamp that is small and dim for mood lighting, and tall and bright for practical lighting. It has an internal counterweighted scissor-lift mechanism, and a translucent paper shade.
The whole structure is made of old corrugated cardboard boxes and a few other fasteners from sustainable and recycled sources. It's low-impact stuff. The non-eco-neutral parts are the electrical bits, but these all stay discrete and complete enough that you can reuse them for other projects when you get tired of this.
One of the main purposes of this is to show how good corrugated cardboard is as a material - it excels as a free prototyping material (can often use instead of foam-core), can be easily sawn or cut with knives or sanded and is light and easy to handle, but is also strong enough to make certain kinds of finished product from. It isn't toxic and doesn't make dust when you cut it, so it doesn't need a workshop either. It lends a guilt-free disposability to a product, since it is intrinsically so easy to recycle (biodegradable even, if it never gets to the recycling centre), and by rescuing it from an early demise you've already extended it's lifespan considerably. It's free if you know where to look. Seriously, a lamp like this is what packing boxes dream
of being made into.
The vast majority of this lamp is paper-based, and paper is easily recycled and biodegradable. The board has already been recycled at least once. It's not a half-hour project to construct this lamp, but then, that's usually the way with re-use. Instead of the embodied energy going into running a giant machine to make an injection-moulded product in a factory thousands of miles away, and flying it here, the embodied energy come from your muscles and your brain, and is gradually injected into the product over the course of a few evenings of attention.
This project was something I did initially in a rudimentary way many years ago, and then have recently been developing further - spurred on by the promise of easy fabrication services (a la
). Because I've got the materials to detail the design process, I'll do that too and show how I arrived at the design using a few sketches and whathaveyou. If you just want the cold, hard facts, and none of my sparkling insight and shady drawings (I never was very good at the sketches), jump straight to the how-to on step 5.