Introduction: 3D Printed Ikea Hack Lamp

About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in Portland, OR. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fabr…

Ikea is full of objects that are just begging to be repurposed. I made this lamp using their generic hanging socket fixture, drawer pulls, and a 3D printed universal bracket that connects them.

I designed everything in Fusion 360 and printed the parts on a Makerbot Replicator 2.

Fusion 360 is free for students and hobbyists, and there's a ton of educational support on it. If you want to learn to 3D model the kind of work I do, I think this is the best choice on the market. Click the links below to sign up:



Step 1: Tools + Materials

Såtta drawer handles (6 pack): $3 EA.

These make the enclosure for the bulb and socket.

Thermochrome color changing PLA filament: $68

This PLA filament goes from dark gray to translucent white with heat. It's a cool effect!

Makerbot Replicator 2: $2,200

There's nothing special about this 3D printer for this project, it's just what we had available at the workshop. You could easily do this project with a much smaller and cheaper 3D printer. I designed the bracket in separate parts so that people can make the project on any size 3D printer bed.

4-40 socket cap screws- 3/8" (100 pack): $4

These are used to connect the drawer handle sockets to each other.

4-40 socket cap screws- 7/16" (100 pack): $4

These are used to connect the light socket bracket to the ring of assembled drawer handle sockets.

M3 socket cap screws- 12mm (100 pack): $4

These screws attach the drawer handles to the 3D printed sockets. The ones that come in the kit are too long to work with this design.

4-40 hex nuts (100 pack): $2

The drawer handle sockets have receivers for these nuts integrated into the model for easy assembly- no wrenches necessary!

Step 2: Go Shopping

I started this project know I wanted to make a lamp with stuff from Ikea and 3D printing. Browsing around the store, I was struck by the abundance of drawer handles, pull knobs, shelf brackets, etc. I thought it would be fun to play on the ridiculous abundance of small parts like this by making the lamp out of multiples of a single object.

The drawer handles seemed like an easy part to repeat and make some kind of enclosure with, so I bought several packs of them for less than $20.

Step 3: Measure the Drawer Handles

Using calipers, I measured a drawer handle to make a 3D model of it. Already having an idea of what I was going to make, I needed a 3D model of the handles to move around and integrate with the new part. The model for the drawer handle is in the next step with the rest of the 3D models.

Step 4: Design

I used Fusion 360 for the design because it's a great solid modeling tool. Fusion 360 is FREE indefinitely with a "startup" license option after the 30 day free trial.

Step 5: 3D Print

The .thing file attached here has the whole assembly laid out on a Makerbot Replicator 2, but you can move these parts around for different makerbot models. The important thing here is that the out-facing parts of the sockets face up on the printer bed and that the flat side of the bulb bracket faces down.

The sockets need to face up because that's the part of the model that will be exposed. If this part is facing up, there won't be any support structures to clean off. The Bracket needs the flat part to be on the bed because this will eliminate the need for support structures on this part altogether.

Step 6: Cleanup

The printing process is set up with support structures, which are necessary to build the socket parts. I also used rafts because I seemed to get better results this way. Without the rafts, the first layer of printing didn't want to hold. I found that using rafts created a layer of plastic that made the extruded plastic stay in place more consistently, which I suppose is their purpose.

Cleanup for the printed models consists of breaking off support structures with a combination of pliers, a pocket knife, and a flat-head screwdriver. I could have spent more time erasing the traces of support structures with sandpaper, but I didn't bother because these parts of the sockets wouldn't be visible in the final build.

Step 7: Assembly

Assembly is really simple. Here are the steps:

  1. The sockets only work together one way- it forces the socket holes to face out from the ring. To attach two of the sockets, insert a nut into the nut receiver on the bottom of a bracket, then fit it to the bracket that will be adjacent. The adjacent bracket has a round recess for the socket cap of the screw. Insert the screw and tighten it, using the nut receiver on the bottom to hold the nut in place.
  2. Repeat this step with 4 sockets in 3 sections. There are 24 drawer handles (2 per socket), which means there are 12 sockets. The Bulb Bracket has three equidistant posts that attach to the screw holes shared by each socket, so each section of the enclosure is made of 4 sockets. It's important to leave the 3 sections separate because it's the only way you'll have room to screw the drawer handles in place.
  3. When the 3 sections are together, screw in the drawer handles using the M3 bolts. I attached mine so that they tilt inwards and make a football-ish shape, but you could also rotate them the other way so that they slant out, making more of a yo-yo shape.
  4. Once the drawer handles are tightly in place, connect the empty screw holes of the sections, then screw in the bulb bracket piece. Use the 7/16" long 4-40 screws for this part.
  5. insert the bulb socket and tighten the plastic nut, and you're done!

Step 8: Plug It In

That's pretty much all there is to it! I opted for a cool vintage style filament incandescent bulb because I like the way they look, but since I used the color-changing filament to make the parts, the compact fluorescent Ikea bulb didn't produce enough heat to make the effect work, so it serves that purpose too.

If you're not using color-changing filament, just use a CFL- they produce less heat because they're WAY more efficient.