Sugru Rocker Switch to Toggle Switch Conversion

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Introduction: Sugru Rocker Switch to Toggle Switch Conversion

My cheap desk lamp has a small rocker switch on the base to turn it on and off. Being a bit budget, the lamp's not particularly heavy and has a tendency to scoot across the desk if you use the lamp from any direction other than head on.

This quick hack uses Sugru to change the rocker switch into a toggle switch, allowing the switch to be flicked without moving the lamp around.

While just a simple idea for a badly designed lamp, this could be used to greatly benefit those with reduced dexterity, either on similar lamps, inline rocker switches or to change wall mounted light switches into toggle switches.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Sugru. That's it.

A small 5g sachet is enough to do two small rocker switches (mine measures 12x7mm).

Step 2: Preparation

The sugru will stick to the switch best if it's dust and grease free. I removed any dust first using a damp cloth then allowed it to dry before continuing.

Clean hands are a must, the Sugru will collect all the dirt off them if you don't wash them first. You can see in the picture below the dirt it gathered from mine having forgot to clean them first! I had to roll it around lots to mix it in leaving my sugru duller than before.

The large foil pack of the "Smart Hacks Super Pack" that I got free from Instructables makes a great play mat. Unlike my desk it doesn't soak up the Sugru, plus it's easy to clean afterward, also unlike my desk.

Step 3: Pre-fab

Roll the Sugru from a ball into a short fat cylinder the same diameter as the longest side of your switch.


Step 4: Sticking

Squish one end of the cylinder to be rectangular, the same shape as the switch you're going to stick it to.

For best grip, the switch must be clean, this is your last chance to give it a quick wipe if you forgot earlier!

Press the rectangular end against the switch and press down well, firming around the edges to make it as neat as you can.

At this point it will look really ugly. The Sugru's still too soft to support its own weight and any attempt to lengthen it will result in it drooping over under its own weight (I know, I tried!).

Leave it to cure for 5 minutes, it will start to get a little firmer.


Step 5: Forming

Over the next 20 minutes as it starts to harden and set you can manipulate it to make it look much nicer.

As it cured I rounded the square edges and made the top more spherical as well as pulling it out to make it look a wee bit more elegant.

Towards the end of its workable time it holds its own weight well. I propped it up with a tin for the next hour to make sure it didn't droop while I wasn't watching.

Now leave it for 24 hours (or longer since it's such a thick lump) to cure.

Step 6: Results and Pictures

Here are some pictures of the finished hack.

If you like this idea and try it yourself, please post some photos of your own effort. I'll even send you a patch!

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    24 Comments

    That is really great, in my line of work subtle things like what you've demonstrated is of great importance. I bet ideas like this come to you easy, but they don't to most people. Think about becoming an occupational therapist (think OT) Five stars by the way...

    It would be a poor rocker switch if it didn't Mr Ears.

    Thanks. Perhaps you could use gloves when using it, then paint in a clear laquer after it has set?

    Wouldn't that kind of defeat the purpose of it? I thought it was supposed to be rubbery and grippy.

    Be sure to write an instructable about the process if you do it :) "Beating Sugru Allergies"

    I think I'll leve that to you. or not...

    I could make one out of clay or playdoh and glue it on...

    Don't give me another reason to make you mopey :p

    Hehe, I'll be more mopey when I use up the rest of my sugru, but then that would give me a reason to get more :P

    This is great, but I think you should add a picture of what the rocker switch looked liked before you put the sugru on it.

    3 replies

    But you can see it underneath, we all have them, I'm gong to change mine for sure.

    Good idea Robot Lover, I forgot to take a picture of my plain boring lamp before starting, perhaps Ninzerbean could take a picture of hers before she starts? Or is it too late for that now? :)

    Yes, I will, let me get some coffee first.

    I'm interested in the bond between the button face and the sugru. The button has a smooth(ish) finish, would it have helped to score the surface prior to bonding, or is the sugru just that strong and scoring not required?

    Nice hack Jay, I'm not a fan of the rocker switches on lamps either because of the "scoot "factor. This instructable could spawn a few more  ideas with different designs for different style lamp switches (twist-style, pull chain, foot pedal..)

    1 reply

    That sounds like it would be worth experimenting with. When I run out of ideas of things to make I'll test the bond strength of sugru for a square centimeter of bond area on aluminium, steel, acrylic with no surface prep, clean surface, scored surface, bead blasted surface. Plan?

    user

    Why didn't you wait for the contest?