Picture of Work Light And Cord Reel From PVC Tubing
I saw this Husky work lamp at Home Depot and really liked the design. Being an avid intructabler (is that a word?), I thought I could improve on it and only spend about half ($35) of what it cost at HD. I wanted to stay away from the tripod legs that are bound to brake off and go with a pedestal design where the base doubled as a cord reel. I like to keep things compact and self contained.

Anywhere I can, I like to design things with multiple uses.

Please checkout this new instructable and rate it.


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Step 1: Assemble The Parts

Picture of Assemble The Parts
I used:
1-piece of 48" x 4" black PVC drain pipe
1-piece of 24" x 3" black PVC drain pipe
2-3" pipe caps
1-4" pipe coupler
2-plastic screw-in lamp bases
2-100 watt fluro bulbs
3' of lamp cord
3" of appliance cord with molded plug
1-1/4"x1" loop
1-2 plug receptacle
1-2 plug receptacle cover
2-pieces of 3/4" x 18" square plywood
Various misc screws

Step 2: Make The Lamp Bases

Picture of Make The Lamp Bases
The idea here is to mount the lamp bases on 3/4" plywood and reduce their circumference to fit inside the 3" tubing. You'll need to be careful and cut a hole on the bottom for the wire connectors and a slot in the edge to slide the connector wire from the other lamp base.

This will only work with plastic bases, you can't cut the ceramic ones.

Also, it's easier if you put solder-less connectors on the ends of the wires for hooking them up.

thetoolman (author) 2 years ago
Here's a followup comment. After using this light for a while, I find I don't need to add any sort of clear cover for the bulbs. The lack of a cover helps cool the bulb area as well.

Thanks to all of you who viewed and commented.
rashoot2 years ago
Hey! Its not PVC pipe you are using Its called ABS
mturner123 years ago
Only thing that might be a drawback is that the power going through the cord holder might heat up if you use this for too long and cause it to melt all together. Voice of Had a cord in a commercial reel holder and had it plugged into a light and there is a thing called "Electrical Magnetic Reflux" from power running through the wire and it causes heat as the power goes through. The plastic covering can take that heat if it is unrolled, but rolled there isn't anywhere for that heat to go so it melts and causes a huge short. I am going to built the light for myself for sure. Great instructable!
mjd4 years ago
How about covering it with some welded wire fabric or chicken wire? You could just bend it to the correct radius and screw it to the PVC.
mjbird4 years ago
I understand why you don't like the tripod base, but that limits the application to only flat, level surfaces. I have a quite hilly backyard, and if I need to work on something (like cleaning up a tree that fell) I need a tripod (with extensible legs) for something like this. Hmm.. that gives me some ideas...
rocks work, or anything strong enough. i used to work for telco and use ladders all the time, Many of the back yyard runs were not level, and we rarely had the safety ladder levelers in stock. all safety films would say that rocks werent safe, but they would say they were out or budget was closed. a big flat rock , hustle up and belt into the strand, funny how the belts were just belts,nothing like a climbing harness where if you turned upside down , you would probably not fall out.
thetoolman (author)  mjbird4 years ago
In your situation I agree, but I would just strap the lower tube against a tree or spike I driven in the ground. I think your example is the exception not the rule. Thanks for bringing it up.
patron_zero4 years ago
The absolute best reflective material I've used in lighting projects is 3M™ Daylighting Film DF2000MA, this stuff is amazing, is 99% reflective and works amazing well with enhancing LED sourced illumination.

Posting a link to this material.

anyplace in the usa that sells this? that was an india resource and the usa 3m doest , it i haven't doesn't a link on where i could buy it and how much it cost
thetoolman (author)  patron_zero4 years ago
No worries, also placing a Fresnel lens (flexible magnifier) can assist in improving light output.
Eye Poker4 years ago
Those aren't lights they are Transport Pattern Enhancers.
Cervantes4 years ago
That is an awesome build. I knew there were thousands of uses for discarded reels that can be snagged by the truckload behind my local Graybar.
bo88y4 years ago
To the best of my knowledge, the black plastic drain pipe is ABS, not PVC.
bassdale4 years ago
I like your lamp and would recomend white Reflective Tape as my experience with it is once stuck it dose not come off.
thetoolman (author)  bassdale4 years ago
Yep, I'm going to try it. Thanks.
Serious work light, solid design and clean build.  This is great quick patio light, backyard light, garage lamp or clean up the design a bit, paint the bottom, point the light into a corner and make a great indirect 'art form' lamp for a different sort of room light (like in a TV or media room!)

You have a winner here.
thetoolman (author)  trike road poet4 years ago
Thanks for the compliment, I like the uses.
KeBaNeMoS5 years ago
I think you should add a cover to those bulbs as they might be cool to touch but they are not shock resistant.
Bending plexiglass is not all that hard if you have a heat gun . as seen here. Just take a piece of tubing and bend it against that and you should have perfect shape. 
thetoolman (author)  KeBaNeMoS4 years ago
Well maybe. I'm not sold on the clear cover concept. I know they are not shock proof but I think most "workmen" will have good sense not to use it in the wrong conditions. If I went commercial with it, I'd have to have a cover. Thanks for the reminder.
richms5 years ago
Excelent. Have you tried other reflector materials? When I tried alu foil it was much dimmer than white card was.
thetoolman (author)  richms4 years ago
I used this bright aluminum tape that they use to seal ducting. I like the idea of a white reflective background. I'm going to test this theory. Thanks.
That would be cool to have a shop heater like this.
thetoolman (author)  Yerboogieman4 years ago
I like the idea.
rsoneill215 years ago

Cool job man. That really looks good. Keep up the good instructables you are making "instrucatabler".

thetoolman (author)  rsoneill214 years ago
Thanks for the compliment.
mawi5 years ago
Great Idea & design..... many thanks!
thetoolman (author)  mawi4 years ago
Brilliant! Thank you!
thetoolman (author)  MechanicalMashup4 years ago
theRIAA5 years ago
awesome job!
thetoolman (author)  theRIAA4 years ago