Stacked Glass LED Light

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Posted in WorkshopLighting

Introduction: Stacked Glass LED Light

The base for this project was in a box of old boat stuff and was the inspiration for this light.  You could make a similar base using .060 copper sheet, notching the corners, forming the copper over a piece of wood and soldering the corners.  It might even look cool to just make a 1" cut at each corner then form the base and lap the "flap" over the corner and then solder it up.

Step 1: Whatcha Gonna Need

50 pcs. .250" thick X 3" square.
One (1) copper base 3.625" square X 1" deep.
One (1) 110V AC to 12V DC  generic power supply. 
One (1) female 12V plug to match above male plug
One (1) Ultra-bright cyn (color) Luxeon star LED
One (1) High Power LED driver  (Velleman K8078)
Some 16ga. copper wire
Silicone glue

Step 2: The Glass

The glass is simply 1/4" scrap glass cut into 3" squares.  The light used 50 pcs. so it is 12 1/2" tall plus the 1"+ base for an overall height of about 13 1/2".  The glass must be very clean and dried with acetone.  The edges are raw so watch your fingers cuz they are super sharp and can cut you.

Step 3: The Base

Here we see the raw base as well as a shot of the hole for the LED and the female electrical plug.  The holes are drilled and the electrical plug hole was hand filed.  Be carefull drilling copper, it will "grab" the bit and the whole damn thing can get away from you in an instant.

Step 4: The Electronics

A high intensity cyn (color) Luxeon Star LED was used and driven by a Velleman K8071 1W/3W power LED driver.  A heat sink was attached to the back of the LED but that may be overkill because the mass of the copper is sufficient to dissipate any heat.   The driver costs 16 bucks! and is in kit form.  There maybe a cheaper and easier way to drive this LED and it would be great if someone out there in cyber space could fill us in???????  Anyway, all these electrical goodies came from All Electronics in Van Nuys, California.  www.allelectronics.com

Step 5: Assembly of Base

It's kinda hard to see but the original base had holes in all four sides, one of them was turned into the female plug but the other three looked pretty ugly so some little copper wire snails were hand formed and soldered over the holes.  Finally the LED, the driver, and the female plug were put in place with silicone glue.

Step 6: A Stack of Glass

You may be thinking;  "shouldn't the glass pieces be glued together?"  This opens up a BIG can of worms.  First of all just stacking the glass up works perfectly fine and how often are you going to move it anyway?  To dust it you simply remove the top piece and clean it.  Sadly it is not easy to glue the pieces together because you get bubbles in the glass which ruins the look of the light.  Many types of glass glue as well as transparent silicon were tried along with several methods of clamping, nothing really worked.  There is a way but it involves the building of a special containment cage as well as a specalized UV curing glass.  You may even want to design some sort of copper wire containment cage or ?????  This light has been in use for 4 months without incedent but we have not have an earthquake either.   

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    127 Comments

    Really beautiful lamp, great idea. I imagine it looks even better in the dark, do you have any night time photos? Ah, imagine......

    Imagine there's no children or unhelpful commentators,
    It's easy if you try,
    No troublesome grabbing hands or knit-picking,
    Around us potentially unsafe and fun Instructibles,
    Imagine all the people,
    Living life in peace and building interesting Stacked Glass LED Lamps.

    You may say that I'm a dreamer,
    But I'm not the only one

    1 reply

    Pure poetry.

    If you have children in your house - not even your own children - anyone's children then you will figure out a way to stop 1ft of glass shards from doing some serious damage.

    Personally I'd build a cage around the glass - perhaps out of copper like the base - or maybe steel and then copper plate the steel. Copper plating is ludicrously easy with copper sulphate, though it won't be shiny or flat

    17 replies

    if it's tempered glass, the edges wouldn't be terribly sharp in the first place, walking on tempered glass shards barefoot is pretty similar to walking on crushed stone, feels terrible, but won't do any real damage.

    there's glue, that would keep it stuck together, even if it were beaten on with an iron pipe, heck, even plain silicone caulking would do that. like someone said, the edges of non-tempered glass could be heat ablated(blowtorch on the edges), but it wouldn't look as nice, or be that much safer.

    what i would go for, is different shapes... maybe spacers of different materials or sizes, a small blowtorch and vacuum vessel could be used to holes for an led stick to go through, for brighter light. with a hole through, a rod could be put through to make it a hanging lamp.

    then there's the possibility of using a glass cutting hole saw, use an abrasive circular saw to cut squares with curved L shaped cuts inside, add wedge shaped spacers, a pot lid with a hole, perhaps a glass one. make two round ones, fit them together, face to face, put a circular fluorescent tube inside, rough the glass lid for frosting.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v413/sKaar/invention/ringlamp-glassstack01.png banged together something... and it looks sooo retro... if i could figure out how to put the lights inside, it'd glow, but, nogo.

    There are reasonably priced diamond edged hole saws that cut through glass. i use them to install protein skimmers in glass Aquariums. Buy one, go slow, use lots of oil and it cuts through very nicely'

    As a suggestion! Place a Quartz Crystal Rock under the stack, hang a green, red or blue laser directly overhead down the center of the stack so it is dispersed through out the stack by the refraction of the quartz crystals. Internal lighting that originates from outside the stack! I'll bet the light would dance all over the room! The color of the tempered glass should nullify the damaging wave length of the laser light!

    Have you read what there has been written in that picture - this means it is rendered by some kinda software - seems not to be real.

    you mean the link to the one i made in sketchup?

    A solution for this problem would be to take a gas burner to round the edges

    (... is this proper english?)

    yes, but is the burner supposed to melt the edges together?

    it's worth a try :-)
    when you burn the edges the whole thing could stick together

    but you have to consider the tension of the glass when it's cooling down

    You trying building the stack in a mould and pouring an epoxy resin around it

    what if you spread a very thin layer of epoxy between the layers as you build?

    hmmm... why epoxy, i think the adhesion of oil (I dont know how fast water evaporates between two layers of glass) would do it, too

    could somebody try it? i dont have enough glass tiles at home and I dont want to break a window ^^

    Any glass shop should have lots of used glass laying around. We got ours for free and although there is a learning curve involved in cutting it, it is not rocket science. You need a firm but not white knuckle even stroke. Never go back over the line again. We just finished another nice glass project and will be posting it soon. On another note, remember that glass is a liquid and will melt together given enough time. Saludos

    The contention that glass really never solidifies, and us still flowing centuries later has been debunked To suggest that the glass in these plates in time would flow together takes the old wives tale to another level.

    I'm fairly certain the driver for these kind of LED Pulse Width Modulate the current sent to the LED. A quick use of google leads to circuit example. Even one here at instructables, but why would anybody be surprised yo learn that? :)

    In the event one could fie polish the cut edges, and maintain tight 90 decree corners. brass angle iron or wood corner trim could be used to keep the stacked plates in place. An original idea AFIK, I agree with the other commenter a nighttime photo of the lamp lit would be a nice addition the instructable.

    Another choice would be to drill a hole though each glass sheet expect the top one which you could counter sink and fill with adhesive.