Introduction: The Slat Lamp
This lamp was made for about £50 and contains a touch sensitive power button and dimmer. The lamp is 33cm tall and 17cm wide.
To make this lamp, the materials you will need are:
- 1x sheet of iron on Veneer
-1x plank of 11mm Sapele Wood
-1x sheet of 3mm MDF
-1x touch sensitive button (amazon link)
-1x 5m Led strip (I used warm white)
-1x Battery box for 8 AA batteries
-8x 25mm angle brackets
-18x 12mm Countersink screws (make sure they can hold the angle brackets)
-4x Rubber feet
-1x Sheet of 3mm frosted acrylic
-1x Sheet of 2mm corrugated cardboard (for jigs)
The tools and equipment you will need:
-Laser cutter (optional)
-Sand paper/Sanding machine
-22x Mini clamps/1x long weight (I used a concrete lintel)
Step 1: Before Making
Use a laser cutter /3d printer to print out the jigs. Two jigs are needed for aligning the legs with the slats correctly. If you don't have access to these machines a band saw could be used however this machine is not as accurate as CNC machines. I would recommend using a service such as 3dhubs to get the part accurately 3d printed.
Step 2: The JIGS
The JIG for aligning the legs
In total, two of these jigs will be needed and are used for lining the legs up perfectly parallel to each other. It is also used for adding the first slats to the ends of the legs which are used with the second JIG to add all of the other slats.
To make this JIG use a laser cutter to cut out 5 copies of the piece number one from the pictures. Then also laser cut 1 copy of piece number two from the picture. Then push the pieces against a right angle and glue the layers with PVA together with piece two being at the top. Use 2mm corrugated cardboard for the jig or other off-cut 2mm thick material.
Alternatively, use a 3d printer and the .stl file from this link: (.STL FILE)
The JIG for adding all the slots
Only one of these is needed and can be made of any material but I would recommend 2mm corrugated cardboard as the material of choice because its cheap and can be bent so it can easily be removed. A laser cutter can be used or a 3D printer with the .stl file from this link: (.STL FILE) Use the images to create this jig
Step 3: Laser Cutting
The lid, the base and the Slatting
These pieces are made of 3mm MDF and iron-on veneer. I used the laser cutter at my school to cut the these pieces out, but if access to this machine isn't available, I would recommend a band saw.
Before cutting, lay the veneer sheet onto the MDF sheet and use a piece of paper between the iron and the veneer to prevent burn marks. The iron is used to melt the glue on the veneer and to push it down. Sometimes, after laser cutting, the veneer will lift up at the edges as the laser melts the glue slightly, just repeat the veneering process and it should be ok. You want to be careful when veneering the MDF that the veneer isn't bent as this will lead to bumps or cracks in the veneer when ironing.
These pieces are made of frosted acrylic. Frosted acrylic is needed as it softens the light from the lamp as well as hiding the internals. Use a laser cutter or band saw to cut out the pieces with the dimensions that can be found in the images. If brown edges appear on the acrylic after laser cutting them, don't worry as the edges will be hidden later.
Step 4: The Legs
8 of these legs will be needed in total and they are made of sapele. They are 20x11x330mm in size and have a 3mm slot in each side for the frosted acrylic sheets to slide into.
Construction of the legs
First, using a band saw, cut the Sapele into strips 33cm in length and 2cm wide. Then, using a slotting machine, cut a 3mm thick slot 5mm deep into each side of the sapele 8mm away from the edge like shown in the Photo. Use sand paper afterwards to remove the left over shards in the slot. That is leg completed.
Step 5: Construction of the Walls
Adding the slats to the legs
Use the jig as shown in the photo. This jig aligns the legs parallel to one another and allows you to stick on one of the slats at each end. Once the legs are added to the jig like shown in the photo (gold represents legs and grey represents the jigs) stick the slats on at the end of the legs with PVA glue. The small extra height at the top of the jigs is used to place the slat in the right place.
The second jig is used for adding the rest of the slats. The bridge between the two cut out slats is exactly 11mm. Once the jigs used at the start are taken off, place jig 2 on the legs with the slat placed in one of the holes. Then add another slat to the other hole cut out in the jig and glue with PVA. Then carefully remove the jig and repeat until the whole wall is done.
After that, add a weight or clamps to hold the slats down whilst they dry overnight for a total of 24 hours. Repeat the process for all 4 walls.
Adding the acrylic
The 4 larger acrylic pieces made before can now be added between the slots on the legs. If they do not fit in the legs smoothly (don't slide in smoothly) sand the edges of the acrylic pieces down and then use a mallet to force the acrylic pieces between the legs.
Step 6: Attaching the Walls to Each Other
Creating the box like structure
You will need to be very patient with this step as it can be difficult and is hard to explain. I would also like to say this step is very unrefined so if you can think of another way, I would probably recommend that. An idea I have now thought of is the use of mitre clamps, however I don't have assess to mitre clamps so haven't tried this method.
For the construction of the box-like structure, label each wall A,B,C and D to make this step easier to explain. Wall A will meet wall C at a right angle and wall B will meet wall A at a right angle.
Lay walls A and B next to each other so that wall B can be used to hold wall C at the correct height when marking the hole to drill in. Place 2 angle brackets on wall A, one inline with the 2nd slat from the top and one inline with the 2nd slat from the bottom. This is so the angle brackets can't be seen from the outside once assembled. Then push the angle brackets against wall C when its in the correct area on wall A so that wall C is at 90 degrees to wall A, then mark dots where the angle brackets are to drill holes in. Drill a small a hole and then screw in the angle brackets. Now with that made, lay wall B down again and run the 2 spare slats against the edge of it again just to hold wall B up at the correct height. Repeat the process of attaching wall C to wall A for the attaching of wall B to wall A.
Now place the structure onto wall B and run the two slats down the open edge of wall B so that wall D is held at the right height. Now place the angle brackets on wall B again inline with the 2nd slats from the top and from the bottom. Push wall D against the slats so it is held up at 90 degrees and mark the dots to drill on both wall B and Wall D. Repeat this process but placing the structure on wall C and ensuring you don't draw the dots on the same side as before. Now drill the holes with a small drill bit and also drill a hole 17mm wide on the bottom slat of wall D for the button to go in. It doesn't matter where the hole is but I believe near the edge is the best place. Now screw wall D into place. The 4 walls should now all be in the right place.
Step 7: The Electronics
The LED strips
Get the light strips and cut them into strips of about 30 cm (give or take to the nearest cut line). You will need 8 of these strips. Now get this strips and using the self-adhesive backing, glue them up each leg. If you want you can use a better glue but not a hot glue gun as the heat of the glue can damage the lights.
The battery to button electronics
Get your 8xAA battery box and your button. Push the button into the hole drilled into your wall ensuring all cable has gone through as well. Strip the wire at the end of each cable and then wrap the red wire of the battery box around the positive wire of the battery input and also attach the black cable of the battery box to the negative wire of the battery input. Then solder where the piece are wrapped around each other ensuring a full connection. I would also use heat shrink around the joints but this is optional. Now solder your negative output wire from the button to the negative pad on one of the light strips. Then solder the positive output wire to the positive pad on the same light strip on the same side. TEST IF THE LIGHT STRIP TURN ON.
Now go to the other end of that light strip and solder the positive pad to the negative pad of another strip and the negative pad to the positive pad of the same strip light. TEST IF THE LIGHT STRIPS TURN ON. In the photo I used some light strip connectors however these were terrible and I wouldn't recommend them. You can see I used a cable tie just so it would make a good connection. Repeat this process for all the strips but ensuring YOU TEST EACH STRIP EVERYTIME YOU SOLDER THEM.
Step 8: Adding the Roof and the Base
The roof can simply be glued on to the legs at the top of the lamp. This will make a strong enough adhesion as the roof isn't structural in any way. Before gluing, add the corner acrylic piece that goes on to the button. Shorten the acrylic piece so that when added it is flush with the legs at the top. The edge of the acrylic piece may also need to be shortened for it to run in the slot made before.
To add the base you need to cut out the corners of the mini-squares at each corner to just pass the diagonal line from corner to corner of the mini-squares. This is so the corner acrylic pieces can slide in and so the base still has enough friction to stay in place. Glue the battery box to the base and now push the base up to the angle brackets ensuring all of the wiring from the LED strips and the button are also pushed up and hidden.
The spare slats also act as a clamp for the battery box as the weight of 8 batteries can pull the base down. For the clamp, place the two spare slats onto the legs so that they bridge across the adjacent side. The slats should be perfectly inline with the legs. Now drill a small hole into the slats and legs so they can be screwed in. Screw them in. At this point the slats should be clamping the battery box in but the screws are still sticking out. Unscrew the screws and use a countersink drill bit to make the screws flush. Much better. If you ever need access to the insides of the lamp or battery box, the slats can be unscrewed and the base can be pulled out. Finally add the rubber pads on the slats at the bottom next to the screws, but not covering them
Congratulations, the lamp is now finished!
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