Introduction: THE ULTIMATE LIGHT BULB WALL HOOK

A few months ago while looking through some of the awesome Instructables, I came across the Concrete Light Bulb Wall Hook by Whamodyne. Ever since reading that Instructable, I've been literally... "hooked".

I decided to make my own version by improving upon the idea by making it as realistic as possible.

I've taken my old unused lightbulbs and turned them into something very unique, very useful, and very different than what Edison intended.

I think this makes a nice addition to the BEFORE & AFTER CONTEST.

I started a few months back with just an idea, not sure whether it would work out or not.

I do have this to say: this is the most difficult Instructable to date. I had almost given up a few times trying to figure it out - but persevered and finally reached my goal.

Hope you enjoy this Instructable!

Step 1: MATERIALS + TOOLS

Ok, the tools and materials you will use are:

1) Dremel tool

2) Diamond bits

3) Mixing cups

4) Painters tape

5) Plumbers torch (MAP gas)

6) Leather gloves

7) Safety glasses

8) 5/16" x 3" anchors bolts + nuts

9) Light bulbs

10) Epoxy resin

11) Respirator

12) Wet/dry sandpaper (800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 3000 grits) OPTIONAL

13) Liquid car wax

14) Disposable nitrile rubber gloves

Step 2: Let's Get Started...

#1 priority is safety at all times working with glass! Light bulb glass really wants to fly....BE CAREFUL!!

ALWAYS HAVE YOUR GLASSES ON AND WEAR YOUR LEATHER GLOVES!


Take your torch and slowly introduce the metal end of the light bulb into the orange part of the flame and rotate it.

(If you're too aggressive you will hear a "pop". This occasionally happens. The glass and metal cap break off together at the seam, making the bulb useless. Keep the metal cap if not wrecked and throw the other parts away. Try again with less flame).

When using your torch on the metal cap - you don't have to totally melt it, just soften it up. It's really soft pot metal and will soften very quickly.

Once it's soft, quickly grab your knife and put the tip into the seam of the metal cap - then cut it off. It will take a swipe or two from the knife.

After the metal cap is off, the glue underneath is still somewhat soft. You can now carefully cut or scrape it off with your knife.

Step 3: DREMEL TIME!

Make sure your have your safety glasses on!

Also - wear a dust mask or respirator.

Take your Dremel tool and attach a diamond coated cut off wheel.

Start cutting around the rim of the bulb. You want the top part to come off clean including the filament. (Put tape around the rim edge for extra support because the fragile glass will want to crack from the vibrations of the Dremel).

Once you cut through the top - carefully remove the filament from the bulb and set it aside for later.

Step 4: Clean Out the Bulb....

FIrst, find the capacity of your bulb by pouring water into it.

It's ~125 - 150ml. This is the amount of epoxy mix you will use.

Now that the empty bulb is ready to go - we first need to clean it out thoroughly.

I first clean it out with hot water, shaking it back and forth - then empty into the sink.

Now, use a hair dryer on the inside of the bulb to dry the water.

Once dry - I like to use Wax and Grease Remover to get rid of the remaining grime that the water never removed. (remember: oil and water doesn't mix) Pour it in the bulb, shake it up and then empty contents back into container.

Dry again with the hair dryer.

Now it is thoroughly clean and ready for the liquid wax. This is what prevents the epoxy from sticking to the glass.

Pour the Meguiare's wax into the bulb and shake it up good, holding your thumb over the top. Empty the wax back into the bottle it came from.

Now use the hair dryer again, and dry the wax inside the bulb. You will see there is a slight cloudiness once it dries. That's ok - it's a waxy film so your epoxy won't stick to the bulb!

Now it's tape time :~)

Step 5: Tape Up Your Bulb, Bub

Now you will tape up your bulb. The reason for this is because when the epoxy resin and hardener mix - it starts what is called and exothermic reaction = gives off heat. A lot of heat! This heat will want to cause the mix to expand and push outward on the glass. This will crack the glass and/or displace the glass somewhat and will make the epoxy dry uneven. This can be prevented with the tape.

You can go without the tape - but you will be doing a lot of hand sanding to smooth down the uneven surfaces.

In the above pics - you can see me dry fitting the filament into the bulb. Do so carefully to not bend the arms of the filament. Try it a few times to get the hang of it because you don't want any unsuspecting issues once you've poured the epoxy.

EPOXY TIME

Find a container big enough to hold your mixing cup. I used an old margarine container.

Fill it with hot water.

Put your rubber gloves on and your respirator too. Make sure you work in a well ventilated area like the garage.

Measure out your epoxy in a mixing cup and your hardener in another mixing cup. (follow the instructions from your epoxy manufacturer).

Place the mixing cup holding the epoxy, into the hot water container.

(this reduces the viscosity of the epoxy so well - it'll pour almost like water! This makes it very easy to work with).

Remove the epoxy from the hot water bath and pour the hardener into the epoxy cup.

Stir well but not too agressive. You don't want a lot of air bubbles.

After a minute or so of stirring and when the mix appears to be clear - pour the epoxy mixture into the empty light bulb. Leave a little bit of room at the top.

Wait 10 minutes for bubbles to rise, then use your torch to quickly pass over the bubbles to pop them.

Now take your filament, and carefully place it into the light bulb. When inserting the filament it will displace some of the epoxy - let it flow down the sides - it's ok.

Now you're done. Wait a few days then you can start removing all the tape from your bulb.


Step 6: Glass Removal

SAFETY FIRST! Wear your glasses and your leather gloves!

Ok, this is the fun part where you get to see your final product.

Stand or sit over a garbage can or bucket and carefully remove the glass.

Be very careful - this glass is very thin and wants to fly!

If you've waited long enough for the epoxy to set - the glass will easily come off there with no problems.

Step 7: Prep Your Cap and Bulb

SAFETY FIRST!

Ok, you now want to remove enough of the glass around the top rim of the bulb so your cap sits on there properly.

Take some of the different diamond bits and use them to clean up the inside of the cap.

Place your cap onto the bulb so it is centered over the hole.

I used a dab of Krazy glue to temporarily hold it.

Place a nut onto your anchor bolt and place into the hole. Adjust accordingly.

Once you're happy everything lines up - mark around the rim of the cap with a marker.

Now use a small dab of glue to hold the cap on.

Step 8: A Little Fun Before the End

I held a small LED in the bottom of the bulb to show the cool effects of this project.

Step 9: Now Install Your Anchor Bolt

Now we will install our anchor bolt and do the final pour of epoxy.

First, tape up your bulb to protect it from the epoxy.

Mix up a small amount of epoxy as per the instructions in the earlier steps.

Pour a small amount into the recessed opening of the filament - then place in your bolt.

Make sure everything is straight and square.

Let it stand for a few days.

Step 10: Final Finishing: Optional

There was some residual epoxy that I had to remove. Also, the black marker around the bottom of the cap seemed to get covered by the epoxy and was hard to remove. I initially thought I was just going to wipe it with acetone and it would be gone. Nope, it got covered a bit so I had to remove the epoxy first with acetone, the clean everything up with the razor. So, maybe try and find another method to mark the cap location.

Start at 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper and work your way up:

800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, then 3000 grit - then final polish.

YOUR DONE!

Step 11: The Ultimate Light Bulb Wall Hook

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and ask that you vote for me in the BEFORE & AFTER CONTEST

And that's it. Just remember...I didn't invent the light bulb, but I did make it cooler!


Craig Arges

Canada



Comments

author
Murry1900 (author)2016-10-22

I like it. Well done.

author
brreed (author)2015-11-20

Loved it! Very cool.

author
wcable (author)2015-08-01

Use salt with enough water to make it slushie for a much better cleaner then just rinse when done. Might be funny to keep original appearance without the bolt and short toss it to unsuspecting people who will jump trying to save a bulb from breaking

author
CraigRJess (author)wcable2015-08-02

I did use the salt rinse at first, but forgot to take pics.

I thought going a step further with the degreaser would eliminate a micro bubble or two which seem to show up btw the resin and the glass. I figured the glass isn't 100% clean inside.

Ya short tossing it would be funny to do to people, but if they got hands of brick and it bounces off...I could be out a nice bulb from it crashing down.

author
jbrauer (author)2015-07-08

That is a seriously awesome idea! I really like West Systems epoxy, having used it to make boats, furniture, and to attach knife scales. But for something like this a clear casting resin might save a little on the material cost. And I built a vacuum chamber for degassing silicone and poly, one of those would work for drawing the small air bubbles out of the resin. I might have to make one of these. I cast some LEDs into clear resin about 20 years ago, but this looks way better.

author
CraigRJess (author)jbrauer2015-07-08

Thank you.

Have any brand in mind for the clear casting resin? Vacuum chamber, like vacuum bagging for carbon fiber parts? We'll have to chat later.

author
jbrauer (author)CraigRJess2015-07-08

It has been so long since I used clear casting resin, I don't know what is out there. I've got other dual component materials from smooth-on, they are good to work with and might have something that would work.

A vac chamber is is sort of like vacuum bagging, but a rigid container and an electric vacuum pump. I got a good vacuum pump from Harbor Freight. You want a two-stage, not the venturi. Your resin will set up before that venturi can suck all the air out. I've tried venturi pumps, and the hand pumps that come with a vacuum bag, and neither works all that well.

For the chamber, I welded ends on a pipe 12", but some people use paint pots or pressure cookers. Or if you search for vacuum chamber kit, you can get the pump and chamber all in one. These chambers are used to extract the solvent from solvent soaked reefer to make hash, so you will see some marketed to that application (they will work for degassing). I use mine for degassing silicone molds, degassing latex, and polyurethane.

author
CraigRJess (author)jbrauer2015-07-14

Ok, so after the help from everyone here and after doing some more research on the net - I see how simple and cheap it really is to degass.

Now, definitely degass B4 pouring into the bulb. But would I need to do that after pouring into the bulb as well? If so, then I would have to attach a funnel of some kind to the bulb for the epoxy to expand out of the bulb while degassing BUT this will also allow it to drop back in.

author
quas1mod (author)CraigRJess2015-07-09

By coincidence, I happened across this video today. It's a BJB advertisement of their commercial vacuum cart, but it is also a good demonstration of how and why to use a vacuum chamber to "de-gas" mixed polyurethanes, silicones and epoxy products prior to pouring (you can skip to about 1:15 or so to see the action):

author
CraigRJess (author)quas1mod2015-07-09

Thanks Quas1Mod - I'm gonna have to investigate this more.

So, you think degas the epoxy first then pour into bulb or after it is in the bulb?

author
quas1mod (author)CraigRJess2015-07-09

Degassing before the pour makes sense to me, but I don't have any idea what I'm talking about. I just happened to watch that video 5 minutes before I found this thread :D

One thing I did learn from BJB's "Droid Farmer" video, is that if you call the number on their website, they are happy to discuss weird projects and give expert advice.

author
lr10cent (author)quas1mod2015-07-10

At a job I had long ago, we used to take bubbles out of mixed polyurethane with a big bell jar. If I applied the vacuum too fast, it would froth up several inches and spill over the top of the container. We mixed by hand at first, but for some reason the urethane was FAR more critical than epoxy is. We went to a pneumatic gun that pushed the two components through a splitter nozzle. A large version of the mixing nozzle you sometimes see with epoxy at the hardware store.

So yes, degassing before the pour may be a good idea.

author
jbrauer (author)lr10cent2015-07-13

I made some pretty big messes until I learned to just fill my container about halfway full. I was degassing some MoldMax silicone and it foamed up like warm beer from a nearly empty keg.

author
lr10cent (author)jbrauer2015-07-13

Speaking of warm beer, I once mixed up some Gorilla Glue with a drop of water to make foam. There was already some amber colored epoxy in the bottom of the container. Overnight, the leftover GG continued to foam up. The result was a fairly convincing miniature beer that was impossible to drink.

The foam is much like the usual polyurethane foam that you get from one of those two part foam kits.

author
CraigRJess (author)lr10cent2015-07-11

Good to know - will have to give it a try :~)

author
lr10cent (author)lr10cent2015-07-10

Come to think of it, you could have a line of the light bulb coat hooks, but make one out of soft polyurethane. The last person might have a really hard time hanging their coat!

author
CraigRJess (author)lr10cent2015-07-11

LOL, that would be funny to watch the drunks at a party.

author
CraigRJess (author)quas1mod2015-07-10

I will have to investigate a bit more. Thanks for the help :~)

author
Jobar007 (author)2015-07-08

Epoxy, while strong, isn't all that UV resistant. Instead of polishing it through subsequent sandings, you could sand it down to 200 grit and then coat it in varnish. You could dip coat it for the first several layers and then brush (or spray) the last coat to get a flawless finish.

Alternatively, you could use polyester resin or a UV resistant clear casting resin.

Neat idea and great execution.

author
CraigRJess (author)Jobar0072015-07-10

Thanks - glad you like it.

No resin is UV resistant. But as you can see from the golden color of the bulb - I don't think anyone would really notice it yellowing. I did intend on clear coating it to prevent that though. Using a 2K (2 part) clear coat for cars or Epifanes - will prevent the yellowing - but there is a lot of extra work involved.

Sand it down to 200 grit? Notice the pics where I used the 800 grit - see how rough it is and you cant even see through it. If 800 grit did that to it - the 200 grit would ruin it for sure. If you touch it with sandpaper - you have to work your way up through the grits. THe bulb does come out fine really - it's just the little imperfections I wanted to get rid of. Most people would be happy with the first result - I just wanted to take it a step further.

author
Jobar007 (author)CraigRJess2015-07-13

Exactly. 200 grit for varnishing. Sanding epoxy down for boat finishing, you sand it to an even 200 grit coat. Then you varnish. Sand and recoat with varnish. "Instant" gloss since the varnish bridges the sanding ridges. Granted for real protection would you need to go with more than just a couple of coats.

If you didn't want to varnish it, work your way up to a polishing compound like you show.

author
CraigRJess (author)Jobar0072015-07-14

Ok, I got you now.

So, if leaving the bulb unfinished - work up in the grits, then final polish.

If clear coating - 200-240 grit alone is all that is needed, then clear coat. (1500 grit in btw clear coatings to reduce orange peel).

author
acoleman3 (author)2015-07-09

"The reason for this is because when the epoxy resin and hardener mix - it starts what is called and exothermic reaction....This heat will want to cause the mix to expand and push outward on the glass."

if you use actual casting resin, you may not run into this problem. especially since it's formulated for pouring in volume and not as an adhesive like standard 2 part is.

author
CraigRJess (author)acoleman32015-07-09

Good to know - thank you.

I will give it a try next.

C, I went with West System cuz of the clear hardener for coating things (bar tops) where they formulate it for the clarity - I did try a cheaper epoxy from the Michaels art store - it never got even close to the clarity of the West Systems one.

So in short - I'd get more volume/epoxy to pour for my buck by using the casting resin over the 2 part?

I'll have to look into that. Thanks.

author
acoleman3 (author)CraigRJess2015-07-12

well, not sure about the cheapest alternative, but at michael's they also have a floral setting resin under the name of "castin' craft". it's crystal clear when it hardens and you can get a pint for $23...minus tax of course. they also have finely ground glass called "diamond dust" for $9 that would add an amazing sparkle to your end product.

author
CraigRJess (author)acoleman32015-07-13

I think Michaels is as cheap as you can get, esp. when they have the 40% coupon sales. This is where I was getting my epoxy years ago when I first started using it.

I will have a look and give it a try. Diamond dust sounds cool too! Thanks, will give that a try too :~)

author
acoleman3 (author)CraigRJess2015-07-13

oh hey, not a problem! glad you approve of the idea.

author
sidofan4 (author)2015-07-13

That would be fun to do with florescent bulbs, especially the compact ones. If only they were safe/environmentally friendly to take apart!

author
gravityisweak (author)2015-07-13

Had to throw a vote your way, as I'm sure this is going to be a winner in the before and after contest.

author
CraigRJess (author)gravityisweak2015-07-13

Well thank you. IDK, there are a lot of great Ibles on here....some tough competition.

author
woodNfish (author)2015-07-09

Nice instructable, but a shame to waste those perfectly good and inexpensive light bulbs.

author
CraigRJess (author)woodNfish2015-07-09

Incandescent bulbs are no more, here in Canada. They've been outlawed for my safety.

Is that not the same where you are?

author
gravityisweak (author)CraigRJess2015-07-13

I didn't realize Canada had outlawed them. Here in the states they are still sold. Let us know if you need some lightbulbs smuggled in lol.

author
CraigRJess (author)gravityisweak2015-07-13

Yep, last year or before that, if I recall. But, you can still get them at the dollar store ;~)

In todays news, Craig and Gravityis weak were swept up in an international cross border light bulb smuggling ring.....lmao

author
gravityisweak (author)woodNfish2015-07-09

In all fairness, they get more expensive when you DO use them. I think this is a better use for them.

author
CraigRJess (author)gravityisweak2015-07-09

Thanks - they've also got ride of them here - replaced with led etc.

author
0miker0 (author)2015-07-08

Awesome project. It should be possible to have the filament light up if you swap it out with low voltage led filament: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1PCS-LED-Bulb-Dimma...

It's just super tiny little leds

author
CraigRJess (author)0miker02015-07-08

Thank you.

Great link - now Im gonna have to brainstorm some more.....

author
gravityisweak (author)CraigRJess2015-07-09

I agree, that type of bulb looks like it has awesome potential for something like this. It doesn't take many watts but its still 120V which is dangerous. I bet there is a better way in which you could power each of those filaments separately with much smaller voltage. I bet those bulbs have some fancy circuitry inside that steps down the 120V. Remove that and you could probably power each one directly. If done right, the results could be awesome. Sign me up for some testing!

author
CraigRJess (author)gravityisweak2015-07-09

I have a few ideas - or I should say a lot of them.

The hard part is the "wall hook" aspect. If you want to keep it a "wall hook" and have it light up - that's gonna take a lot expertise to shrink it all into that small package.

Keep in mind though - do you really want to "light up" the wall hook that will be covered anyway or most of the time? I was thinking of lighting one up with out the anchor bolt for an upcoming project - but it was going to be "ambient/mood" light - like in the pics.

Much more thought now....

author
gravityisweak (author)CraigRJess2015-07-13

That's very true, the light up portion would not do well as a wall hook. I did see someone mention on here that they wanted to use it for a cane topper, which would be awesome to light up. Another option would be ambient lighted wall hooks that could be lit when not in use but could have a sensor that would turn the light off if something like a coat was blocking all the light.

author
pnosko (author)CraigRJess2015-07-09

These are super-cool. But the coolness factor would go through the roof if you could insert battery-operated LEDs into the cap and used the basement-style ceramic bases as mounts, having the pull-chain turn them on. In a foyer, they would double as night lights!

author
CraigRJess (author)pnosko2015-07-09

That's a cool idea! I was going to create a coat rack, and have those bases on the ends of the rack hooks - then I can stuff the led goods inside. Wire the 5 of them down the shaft to a switch and voila' - cool ambient coat rack!!!

author
pnosko (author)CraigRJess2015-07-09

P.S. You got my vote!

author
CraigRJess (author)pnosko2015-07-09

Thank you pnosko :~)

author
confu (author)2015-07-09

Very cool `ible and results! The title pretty much nails it.

Had two suggestions, making a casting mold and using LED filaments, but those were already mentioned.

Making a two part mold out of plaster is done in almost no time and if you use the intact glass body as a pre-form your cast will have its exact dimensions perfectly matching the metal thread.
Or maybe use the whole intact bulb as a form and just wrap (or press) some 0.2 mm aluminum sheet/foil around the cast to mimic the metal part / thread of the bulb.
Think you will find a way for implementing fake filament parts, too.

Maybe a way to skip all that fiddly work on the glass bulb (as a lost mold) and a step forward to production in bulk ;)

author
CraigRJess (author)confu2015-07-10

Thank Confu :~)

Use plaster over silicon? Advantages of each?

The epoxt gets real hot - it won't melt the plaster will it?

How would you get the bulb out - I mean you would have to make a 2 piece mold, split down the length correct? You still need to do a bit of hand sanding to clean up the line where the 2 have meet though right?

Do you have a lot of experience working with that? We will have to chat some more about it then....

author
confu (author)CraigRJess2015-07-10

Plaster (gypsum) is dirt-cheap compared to casting silicone, it´s pretty heat resistant (if cured and dried) (maybe even suitable for casting metals, but I never tried that yet) you can easily modify its viscosity and for less complex forms without indentations you don´t really need a flexible mold.
Plus, it´s easy to post-treat and cures fast.
Working with silicone can get really messy and expensive.

See pic for my suggestion of an easy 2 part mold;

Build a frame out of coated plywood which is easy to unscrew (purple). Cover inside with release agent. Fill halfways with a runny plaster mixture (gray). A little shaking or vibration will get you rid of bubbles. Add a funnel preform to the bulb with modelling clay (green), cover both with release agent. Press those into the liquid plaster to exactly half (lengthwise) of the bulb, maybe mark it first.
Press in some marbels (or whatever) covered with release agent almost halfways to get alignment marks.
Let the plaster cure. Remove only the "markers" and cover the cured plaster layer with release agent.
Now mix up another runny plaster mixture and fill up the frame to top. A little shaking or vibration will get you rid of bubbles again.
Let it cure. After that remove the frame and the bulb and there you have your 2 part mold.

Maybe do a little finishing and your ready to cast with resin (after applying release agent again). You can use it within the frame, or just put some rubber bands around it.

Maybe plaster molds are not as durable as silicone molds, they tend to wear out after a few casts, but are really cheap and easy to make. If you bought casting silicone for 1 mold and 50 $ and you mess sth. up, it´s pretty frustrating.
If you mess up a plaster mold it´s cents worth of wasted material and you just start over again, this time a little wiser ;)

Regards

bulb mold.jpg
author
CraigRJess (author)confu2015-07-11

Thanks Confu. That makes sense now.

Could I use liquid cement crack filler which would be more permanent and last longer? There is no aggregate in it and will dry smooth.

See the good thing about the glass, is that the epoxy will dry to a mirror finish of the material it is up against. Therefore, I would probably have to hand sand the mold to a smoother finish or hand finish the bulb. I will have to try your method with the gysum and judge the results.

I see you have a lot of experience doing 2d-3d modelling. Can the program you're using be used for CNC woodworking?

author
confu (author)CraigRJess2015-07-11

I have no experience with cement crack filler. Might work. You might as well use pure cement (portland cement) and maybe add very fine fillers like silica flours or alike. This should result in an almost mirror finish of the mold.

Gypsum gives a very smooth finish depending on the material it is up against, too. I think the bigger problem is getting rid of air bubbles (-> vibration and a runny mixture is the key to avoid that) and the smoothness of the release agent coating when casting the resin.
I suggest epoxy would stick to gypsum if you´re not using some kind of release agent, but I have no idea if it would stick to a very smooth (aka almost glass-like finish) cement based mold.
If you are using a wax as release agent you might try to slightly heat it up with a torch after applying for a better finish of the resulting cast (?! just a suggestion).

Both solutions are mineral based and pretty heat resistant, so you don´t have to worry much about the exothermic curing of the resin.

The program I used for that quick sketch is "Rhinoceros" (www.rhino3d.com). Sure it can be used for exporting data for CNC or 3D printing.
It´s a comparatively cheap (especially if your a student, teacher or lecturer) and pretty versatile CAD solution. You can download a 90 day trial version for free on their website.
(Hmm, can I post this on an Autodesk website? Well, competition stimulates business ;D and this is not meant as an ad, just my personal preference.)

Regards

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