I was going to take some nice pictures of my electronics projects for other instructables when I discovered, to my horror, that all of the pictures looked dark. They were too dark to see the stuff I was working on in detail. I realized quickly that it wasn't the low-quality camera, it was the lack of light in my dim work space. Although the low-quality probably didn't help.
The problem: Not enough light!
The solution: tape a light bulb to the wall?
There's got to be a better way!
I began rummaging around through boxes of crap looking for a lamp or something I could use in the workshop.
Christmas lights? Those could work.
Plug-in disco ball? Hell, why not? It would spice up the workshop but it probably won't solve my problem.
Aha! An old Ikea light of some kind. It probably mounted straight to the wall, but it has a nice bendable neck, perfect for the workshop. A broken fold-out camera tripod to go with it? Perfect combination. The complex design began to unfold in my head: take the lamp and glue it straight to the top of the tripod. Brilliant!
It was so brilliantly stupid that I might as well show you how I built it. Be warned: a few of these photographs were hastily taken with a phone camera. They aren't the 4k polished images you are used to seeing around here.
Step 1: Supplies and Tools
To build a tripod lamp, you'll need two key ingredients:
1. A tripod, I prefer the kind with three legs
2. A lamp, though a freestanding light bulb will do. Anything that emits light but isn't a fire hazard will work.
1. A drill, to make a piece that will connect the tripod and the lamp
2. Some scrap metal or wood, to make a piece that will connect the tripod and the lamp
3. industrial-strength adhesive, to make a piece that will connect the tripod and the lamp
-I used JB WELD because it's fantastic.
-this Instructable is not sponsored in any way by the makers of JB WELD.
4. You might need a screwdriver to take the lamp apart, but telekinesis or physcokinetic thought works too.
Step 2: Dismantle the Base
Take apart the bottom of the lamp by unscrewing the base with a screwdriver (or telekinesis, whatever works for you). Keep all the screws! My lamp only had one :)
Start thinking about how you are going to attach the bottom of the lamp to the top of the tripod, and keep in mind that excessive amounts of glue, although that may work, is not always the best option.
Step 3: Drill Some Metal
I started by cutting a little chunk of scrap aluminum into a rectangle no more than an inch wide. This will be used to connect the top of the tripod to the bottom of the lamp. It shouldn't be too large, but it will need room for holes to screw into the base and a nut to attach to the tripod.
After cutting the piece, I sanded down the edges and the surface. It doesn't look too pretty, but it'll work for this project. Drill some holes to match the screws and stuff on the base of the lamp. I drilled two: one for the screw hole and the other for the little post that sticks out from the bottom of the base (see the notes on the picture)
Step 4: Get Gluing
For this step, you'll need a nut that matches the screw on the top of the tripod. I've heard that those are a standard size, but I'm not sure what that size is and I'm too lazy to look it up. Just find a nut that matches the tripod.
Mix up some JB WELD epoxy by stirring together equal amounts of the black and white goop from the two tubes. It is ready to use when the mixture is a uniform grey color. If it is not mixed evenly, it will not hold! You do not have to use JB WELD, but you do need to use a glue that can stick to different kinds of metals. The metal plate is made of aluminum and the nut is likely made of steel. Make sure the nut goes on the under side of the metal plate (I almost messed that up). It'll take a few hours to fully set and cure and all that, so I recommend doing this in the afternoon or evening and then letting it harden over night.
Step 5: Plug and Play
When the glue is finally dry, your very own tripod lamp is ready to test! Simply screw the metal plate into the bottom of the lamp, and then screw that to the top of the tripod. Amazing! If it's not working, try plugging it in (it happens to the best of us).
This super versatile little lamp can shed light on practically anything. It doubles as a reading light in areas with terrible lighting. Bend the neck upwards to shed light on the ceiling and admire the cobwebs, bend it sideways to light up something interesting on the wall, or bend it towards a desk or something important if you actually want it to do something useful. Tell me what you think in the comments below!
Now that I have a tripod lamp I can begin writing instructables for my various electronic endeavors.
I hope you enjoyed this luminous little adventure, stay tuned for adventures into the world of science, electronics, magnets, the dark arts, etc.