Instructables

USB Powered LED Articulating Lamp

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I designed this lamp as part of my senior thesis exhibition in college. It is a small-scale version of a classic articulating desk lamp that is powered by a standard USB port. 
The lamp can be plugged directly into a laptop to act as a keyboard light or it can be placed in a base and powered via a USB extension cable. 
I cut the parts out of 1/8 inch masonite with an Epilog laser engraver that was available at my university. I designed the parts to be layered and glued together to form three-dimensional components that could then be screwed and pinned together to create a fully functioning articulating lamp. 


I hope you enjoy my work!
 
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Step 1: What you'll need

Materials:
-14 gauge steel wire
-small machine screws and nuts (I used the smallest size I could find in my hardware store, you may have to adjust the hole sizes for the screws you can find). You'll need 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1 inch long screws.
-small screw eyes
-rubber bands (4 regular sized)
-tar paper (or any black paper or thin plastic sheet)
-white fabric (synthetic is best because the edges get cauterized by the laser when cutting)
-1/8 inch masonite
-small gauge magnet wire
-good super glue
-Inexpensive USB LED computer light - for parts

Tools:
-soldering iron/ solder
-wire cutters
-multimeter
-snap-off razor
-lighter
-fine grain sand paper
-drill with a bit small enough to drill pilot holes for the screw eyes
-access to a laser engraver/cutter (I was able to use an Epilog 40 watt machine)
Your files simply dont down load which is a great shame. Lamp is lovely though!
Alderin1 year ago
Very nice work! The only part I don't like is the dangly wire, a more protected route for it would be nice (especially for those of us with laptop fascinated cats!). Not easily added to the design, but a material 1/3 thinner, then laminated together with epoxy, could provide a protected channel for the wire. Might even be easier for the laser to work.
Still, very nice job!
mattpshaw (author)  Alderin1 year ago
I did consider this, but the issue that arises is the swiveling base and the other joints... there would still have to be some slack at those points, though admittedly it would be less attractive to a curious cat :)
zolfox1 year ago
CURF -> see wiktionary listing
Kerf and similar can mean: kerf, the width of a cut Kerf, a poetry collection by Peter Sanger "The Kerf" a poetry publication of the College of the Redwoods, Del Norte Center for Writing in Crescent City, California Kerala E.N.T. Research Foundation (KERF), a hospital at Kollam in Kerala in India
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kerf
mattpshaw (author)  zolfox1 year ago
ah... thank you, very informative. Correction made :)
gomibakou1 year ago
i see a problem if you use it directly attached to your laptop, the usb connector on the mobo will suffer much mechanical stress and surely will broken sooner or later. I have seen some of them cracking by the surface pads. Try to place something to free the load.
mattpshaw (author)  gomibakou1 year ago
Thanks for your input, I agree with you. My solution is the little stand that holds the lamp:) I did try adding an extra layer of masonite to the underside as a shim, and that works well for relieving the stress. But I do like the free-floating appearance if only for the photos
ugly1 year ago
Very nice. I want to do a re-mix cut my own plug, board, etc. The arm is great. Thanks
mattpshaw (author)  ugly1 year ago
no problem!
I would love to see what you come up with. Please just credit my idea :)
pghjim1 year ago
Stick a magnifying glass in there for my aging eyes and I'm there!
I prefer your version that stands on its own base. I've shorted too many laptop USB ports by putting too much strain on them.
Very practivle instructable. Nice job.
TheGreatS1 year ago
Wow. I've got to make this.
osh1141 year ago
How much does it weigh? Can it work while the PC is asleep?
mattpshaw (author)  osh1141 year ago
The lamp alone weighs about 44 grams. With the base it weighs about 66 grams.
You'll have to check to see if power is supplied to your USB ports while your PC is asleep. It depends entirely on your model of PC. You could try charging a phone or iPod as a test.
It works on my macbook and lenovo while they're asleep.
Another solution that I utilized while the lamps were on display in a gallery was simply using an AC power adapter for the USB power, eliminating the computer all together.

cheers
Luidi1 year ago
where is the pdf file that you can print or other assemble structure?
mattpshaw (author)  Luidi1 year ago
adobe illustrator files:
http://www.mattphillipsshaw.com/usb-articulating-lamp.html
Jcrooks041 year ago
I went to your website and tried to download the parts but nothing is coming up once I click on them.
mattpshaw (author)  Jcrooks041 year ago
I'm not sure why, I just double checked the files on the site and I was able to download them no problem. Maybe your browser is blocking the downloads.
hertzgamma1 year ago
WOW. Nice work! Can you post a picture to see it how it lights the space around?
mattpshaw (author)  hertzgamma1 year ago
sure, I'll take a couple photos and post as soon as I get a chance
WhiteTech1 year ago
This one was awesome! I think I just might have to make one
I like the diffuser :-)
Thumbs Up!
Will definitely make it after i make my laser cnc.