Introduction: Bicycle Headlight Shelf Lamp

About: Urban and mtb biker , mad scientist , i make lamps and furniture with old bike parts

Hi everybody , i'm from italy and i love bikes. I ride 'em , fix 'em and create stange object with old parts.

You can find some of them here:
                                                            (it's in italian but the photos are self explanatory)

or here:

The goal of this project is create a shelf lamp that is simple to build , cheap and effective.

While encouraging people to build things , i have remember you to always put safety first when using tools and managing electrical devices , if in doubt ask for help but don'risk.

This is my first instructable, so i hope you'll enjoy , and remember to vote for the contest!

Now let's see what we need.

Step 1: Things You Need

You'll need:

- an old brake caliper (a rear one is better as it has a shorter thread, if you find a front you'll need an M6 x 25mm bolt)

- an old bicycle metal headlight (the larger , the better)

- a spring (i used one from a saddle, lenght is unimportant as we'll cut it)

- an M6 Nyloc nut and washers

- a tin can or jar cap or metal sheet (not in picture)

- a GU10 led bulb (a 3w or 4w is fine)

- a GU10 socket with wires

- a power cord with a switch and plug (choose the right one for your country)

- a short piece of heat-shrink tubing (not in picture) or pvc electrical tape

- a zip tie (not in picture)

Essential tools:

- 8 , 9 , 10 and 11 mm open spanners (you'll probably need only the 9 and 10)

- pliers

- flat screwdriver

- pincers (to cut the spring)

- ruler or vernier caliper

- electrician scissors

Useful tools (will make your life easier):

- Bench vise

- Half round hand file

- Disc grinder or dremel with cutting and sanding tool

- soldering iron and solder

Step 2: Disassemble and Cleaning

In the picture you can see the caliper disassembled, the stock spring (not pictured) was removed as the brake cable nut and stop.

It is not strictly indispensable to disassemble the whole brake, if you've found a clean rear one, you can simply unhook the spring from the caliper arms , and rotate it upwards , so the arms can move freely.

The internal parts of headlight must be removed too , we'll keep the triangular spring that was holding the original reflector in place, if your headlight doesn't have one , you can make it bending a bicycle spoke with the pliers.

The tin can or the jar cap , must be large as the headlight or more.

Step 3: Caliper Reassembly

In the picture you can see the caliper reassembled with the original pivot bolt and washers , if you have a longer one , you can use the M6 x 25mm bolt instead , keeping the bolt head in the front.

Step 4: Spring Hack

Hook the spring to one hole and with the caliper closed, measure the lenght needed to sit between the holes.

If the holes are too close (less than 3 cm) , replace the brake pads with thicker ones, or put a washer between the pad and the caliper arm.

Using the flat screwdriver and the pliers, bend the spring 90 degrees.

Cut the spring using the pincers or the disc grinder, leaving a coil for hook.

The key is to make the spring as short as possible , you'll struggle more hooking it to the holes (removing temporarily one pad can help) , but it will make the clamp stronger.

Step 5: Headlight Assembly

Now you can put the headlight body on the pivot bolt , aim it the opposite side of the spring.

If you used the M6 x 25 bolt , put some washers or an M6 nut between the caliper arms and the headlight as a spacer.

Tighten the nyloc nut so the headlight cannot move freely , but still can be moved by hand with a little force.

Step 6: Led Bulb Assembly

Now we need to cut one or two (depends on the thickness of the tin) , rings out of the tin can or jar cap.

Take the diameter of the headlight cap inners as in photo , using the vernier caliper or the ruler, that will be the outside diameter of the ring, in my case nearly 60 mm.

For the inner diameter , measure the clear part of the led bulb , usually it's between 36 and 41 mm , depending on the brand.

Cutting the tin, can be tricky , protect your hands with gloves and use the electrician scissors carefully.

If you want to cut prefect holes in thin metal sheets , sandwitch it between two pieces of wood and clamp all in a vice, then use a drill with a hole saw bit.

Burr the sharp edges using a hand file, sandpaper or dremel.

Put the tin rings in the headlight cap , the bulb, and with the help of the screwdriver, push the triangular spring in place, as in photo 2.

Step 7: Electrical Connections

Once you've done with the bulb , it's time to connect the wires.

Slide the power cord into the headlight body , usually they have a hole in the bottom, if the hole is too narrow, make it larger with a drill bit , a file or whatever you have laying around, just remember to deburr the hole.

Put a zip tie on the cable , for stress relief, and slide the heat shrink tube in the GU10 socket wires.

Strip the wires and, using the soldering iron , connect the each wire from the socket to each power cord wire.

Put the heat shrink tubes over the weld and using a cigarette lighter (or the soldering iron tip) , seal the connection.

If you don't have a soldering iron , you can connect the wires in many other ways you can find here:
or use a strip connector outside of the headlamp (advised).

Step 8: Final Assembly and Variations

Now you can connect the GU10 socket to the led bulb and put the headlight cap back on.

In the photo you can see the lamp completed.

You earned yourself a cold beer.

Plug the power cord and test the lamp, is it working?

Ok, now find a place to hang it, you can fix it to an horizontal or even vertical shelf , the clamp should be strong enough and the rubber pads will help keeping it in place.


If you need a dim light , you can simply use the original reflector and bulb (6v 2,4w) and a 6v power supply.

Hope you enjoyed this instructable , and remember to vote for the contest !

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