Introduction: Silent Dorm Heater 250 Watt
Good morning. This is a simple design to give a more stable platform to the common "brooder clamp" light, for people who want a warm (literally and with regards to the color spectrum) light to get going on cold mornings when days are shorter. For people who have "seasonal affective disorder" or just need some more light to be happy, this is something that can be made with common materials. (It is made of a cheap brooder clamp light, milk crate, metal zip ties or pieces of metal wire.)
Step 1: Simple Construction
Please find a milk crate the honest way. I got some when I worked as a truck driver, when I delivered to milk companies. They had many that were damaged in some way or so dirty it wasn't worth their time to clean them, and they let me have a few for asking. You can also buy them at WM dept stores, craft stores, Amazon or Ebay, or sometimes a gas station will give you one if you ask nicely.
To summarize this instructable, suspend the clamp light inside the milk crate, by anchoring the clamp light deflector at 4 points, preventing any contact with the ceramic lamp base, and protecting the cord by zip-tying or taping it to the crate.
To make this product, first remove the wing-nut clamp and save it in case you want to use the clamp light another way later. Now, simply run the power cable through one of the lattice holes on the side, near the bottom. You can remove the wire "guard" that normally comes with the clamp light (which inserts into the four holes on the lamp shell/deflector). This will give you four holes to mount it with. I recommend removing the bulb, and drilling four new holes opposite the original holes, in about the same size. Then you can leave the guard intact. The guard can become very hot, but may prevent something from falling against the bulb. (Chicken clamp lights have well-known fire hazards. Do not neglect to study them and secure your device.) With four mounting holes in the shell, you can use steel or aluminum wire, or even copper wire if it's not stranded wire, to attach the shell to the milk crate. You can attach it to the handles, or "catty corner" to the lattice holes. Be sure the shell is suspended so the lamp base does not touch the cord or the milk cube. With a 250 watt heat lamp bulb, mine stays cool enough I can hold the lamp base in my hand, as long as the light is directed sideways, or upward. If the light is suspended with the bulb hanging downward, the lamp base will get very very hot (could burn to touch).
Step 2: Use and Cautionary Warnings
This lamp is very versatile. I like putting it on the floor in my laundry room, with the lamp facing up, while putting up laundry. (make sure nothing falls on it) It adds gentle heat and a nice light almost like a fireplace, without needing any other lights. I like to put this in a safe place while I sit and eat breakfast, so I get some rays while having my coffee and reading a book or checking the news.
If you just want it for a work light, you can save the heat lamp bulb and replace it with a 40 watt "globe" style bathroom bulb, a 60 watt generic bulb, or a 75 watt "garage light" or "utility" bulb. These have built in reflectors and bright white light, and also do create noticeable heat in a cool room. With an LED bulb, this can be a pretty efficient work light and much safer (much lower heat). There are some LED household and porch bulbs for $10-20 that can blast light! I have a "100 watt" equivalent LED with a heat sink, and it shines the whole yard!
Heat lamps create heat, through infrared waves. The heat they create builds cumulatively, and can ignite paper or curtains, or your pants if you sit too close for too long. If you can use a toaster oven, you can use this. :-) Don't use around babies or pets, same with all clamp lights.
Don't suspend over bedding or carpets, and don't leave unattended.
With a 40 watt bulb, or even a CFL or LED bulb, you can use this in your yard, with an extension cord, strapped to a tree or something secure, as a remote porch light or camping light, to draw annoying bugs away from your doorway. Make sure the bugs can fall out of the reflector if they die in there, so they don't plug it up or burn.