Introduction: Beer Tap Flow Lamp

About: I love the design and ambition of vintage technology, and the usability and potential of new - my passion is bringing the two together.

Fibre optic beer! This beer tap lamp gives a nice flow effect and cost less than £3 to make!

Step 1: Bits Lying Around

I can never resist a bargain, and this lamp was built cheaply and easily with items I've not been able to resist at sales.

First the colour-changing LED fibre optic lamp - you see a lot of these at secondhand sales, this one was obviously very basic and cost 50p

A few months earlier I picked up a beer tap at the same sale for £2, the kind that clips onto a barrel I think - there's lots of cheap breweriana out there that could be used in this way.

My initial tinker was to convert the lamp to USB instead of AAA power, which was just a quick solder job (an old Nokia pop-port usb cable was sacrificed - I'll regret it one day), - then testing the lamp lying on its side it reminded me of water flowing from a hose or tap - hang on I have a tap right here!

Step 2: Stripping Down

Being of cheap construction the lamp assembly practically fell apart on its own. exposing a small PCB housing the LEDs, and not much else.

The fibre optic part just lifted out of the lamp base, and the narrow end turned out to be the same width as the tap connector - they were coupled together with a short length of clear plastic tube.

The tap was a bit trickier. Working the tap handle controlled a moving ball as a valve inside, which had to be removed to allow the light from the LEDs to shine down the pipe and through the fibre optic strands. Some seal-cutting and frenzied screwdriver-poking later the ball pinged out never to be seen again.

Step 3: Testing

Thanks to the tinyness of the circuit board it was easily mounted onto the back of the beer tap, hotglued finally but seen here in blutac!

On the inner rim of the tap rear you can see the lugs where it would connect to the barrel - this is how the tap hangs on the wall, it's quite heavy and rests comfortably on a screw under its own weight.

Step 4: On the Wall

Flowing out of the wall!

The lamp looks great hanging up, plugged into the PC so it lights up as the power is turned on.

Next step is to get a length of chrome pipe to route the usb cable inside the tap and down via the plumbing connector rather than it just dangling down the back.

Great fun to make.

Update - I got a dremel stand for my birthday and although it now crowds the lamp a bit on the bench the proximity does provide extra fibre optic illumination for the drilling surface!