Black Pipe Ceiling Light

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Introduction: Black Pipe Ceiling Light

About: Still learning about everything. I have a long way to go.

We recently moved into a new house and I was looking for a new ceiling light for my home office. I wanted something made of black pipe, but found I could make one myself for one-third the price of what I was finding from stores. The benefit of using black pipe is that you can customize to exactly what is desired, coming up with a whole new design or modifying one you see somewhere else.

Make sure you have a basic understanding of how to wire a light, or consult with someone who does.

Supplies

Step 1: Clean and Assemble

The black pipe will come with some lubricant left on it. This is left over from when the threads were machine cut. You'll want to clean this off to avoid any grease getting on you, your clothes, or causing problems with painting. I used liquid dish soap and a sponge to scrub off the grease, and then dried right away to prevent any water spots.

For ease of wiring, you want to assemble the light in three sections. These will be the down rod, top cross, and bottom cross.

The down rod uses the floor flange, both of your bushings, and one pipe. The top cross uses four pipes, four reducers, the 6-way fitting, and 2" nipple. The bottom cross uses four pipes, four reducers, and a 5-way fitting.

Tighten each piece to a uniform distance, so you have a consistent length from each section.

Step 2: Wiring

For the selected light sockets and pipe, your wires need to be cut 24" long. Cut eight of each color. Be sure you are consistent with what color wiring connects to the corresponding wire on your sockets.

Since I plan on using LED bulbs, I used 16 gauge stranded wire.

After removing the insulation from the end, I used heat shrink tubing to secure the wires. If you don't have a heat gun, a lighter will do. It needs to be hot enough to shrink the tubing and melt the adhesive on the inside of the tubing. A hair dryer won't get hot enough to melt the adhesive, even if it shrinks the tubing.

Step 3: Paint

I chose to use a hammered black paint for my pipe. This is already on the pipe frame for a stand up desk I made a few years ago.

The paint was applied with a 1" chip brush, which are sturdy enough for this thick paint. You do NOT want to use a sponge brush, as it will get weighed down too quickly, fall apart, and you'll be picking sponge pieces out of your paint.

Be sure to follow the directions on the paint you choose.

For the circular electrical box, I used the attach screws to connect the top and base so I could paint over the screw heads. My reason for using this box was to ensure you couldn't see the electrical box in the ceiling after the light was in place.

NOTE: Be sure you don't paint over the threads where you need to attach the sections. You will need to paint those areas after attaching all three sections.

Step 4: Assembly

To make it easier with all the wires, I recommend assembling in the following order.

First, run the wiring for the bottom cross. I used a small pair of needle nose pliers to pull the wiring through. The light fixtures fit snug in the 1-1/4" end of the reducer. You shouldn't need to use any glue to keep them in place. It's a perfect fit!

Second, run the wiring for the top cross. Again, use needle nose pliers to help pull the wiring through.

Now to attach both cross sections. Feed the wiring from the bottom cross through the center of the top cross. I recommend you try and keep those wires together, even if you have to feed them through one at a time. It makes it easier for the next part.

Slowly attach the top and bottom cross. Don't turn too quickly or you could pull apart your wiring. Move the wires around as necessary to avoid them getting twisted too tightly.

Now feed the wires through the down rod section.

For ease of attaching the fixture to electrical in the ceiling, I connected the 16 gauge wires to 10 gauge stranded wire, with some heat shrink tubing over the connection.

Remember how you didn't paint where the pieces go together? Now it's time to touch up those areas.

Step 5: Mount to Ceiling

Unless you live alone, be sure to tape the light switch in the off position so someone doesn't try and turn it on while you are working! If you want an extra step of safety, turn off the circuit breaker to the switch.

Remove the old light and be sure to save any screws.

I first attached the circular electrical box used two of my 8-32 1" screws. Then, with the ladder in place under the box, I brought the light up. As you can see in the image, I rested the light on some boxes to bring the wires in range for connecting. This was much easier than trying to hold the light up with one hand and connect the wires with the other.

Once you have the wires connected, put in one bulb and test the light.

For the final mounting of the light to the ceiling, I used four 8-32 1" screws through each of the four holes on the floor flange. This is another reason I used a 1" floor flange, as the holes line up perfectly with the mounting holes on the circular electrical box.

For bulbs, I used 5 watt dimmable LEDs. With so much light output, I may want to put a dimmer switch on this!

Step 6: Enjoy the Brightness

With your light installed and ready to go, just turn on the switch and enjoy your creation!

You can customize this even more with fancier Edison bulbs or some light cages.

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    17 Comments

    0
    SteveG22
    SteveG22

    1 year ago

    I really like the concept and it came out really nice looking! But I feel like I needed to mention that I don't believe that is an acceptable way to make electrical connections as per the Electrical Code. It is usually acceptable for smaller hobby projects, but a fixture hardwired to a 110v circuit should be a little more secure then shrink tube. While it does work, it's not the safest for long term. Great work otherwise! Just my two cents.

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Reply 1 year ago

    The tubes are rated for 600v applications, non-conductive, flame retardant, and intended for permanent connections. With the interior adhesive, which heat seals the connection, I've never had one come undone on a vehicle that bounces around. While I wouldn't use one for the final connection to the house line, as I need to be able to disconnect the light down the road, these are great for the interior connections. If you have to try and undo one of these connections, you can see they are more secure than many other methods.

    0
    SteveG22
    SteveG22

    Reply 1 year ago

    I'm not saying they won't do the job, I'm just pointing out that there is probably a reason they're not approved in the National Electric Code. I'm sure they would work, but if I hired a licensed electrician to do some work in my house and they tried using shrink tubing, they'd be gone. You work looks great and sturdy for what it needs to be, I just prefer making the connections differently when I make my own custom fixtures.

    0
    TonyK29
    TonyK29

    Reply 8 months ago

    Do you have a citation of what section they are forbidden in the code?

    I'm pretty sure they just need to be soldered and they would be up to code unless I'm interpreting NEC 110.14 Electrical Connections section wrong.

    (B) Splices. Conductors shall be spliced or joined with splicing devices identified for the use or by brazing, welding, or soldering with a fusible metal or alloy. Soldered splices shall first be spliced or joined so as to be mechanically and electrically secure without solder and then be soldered. All splices and joints and the free ends of conductors shall be covered with an insulation equivalent to that of the conductors or with an insulating device identified for the purpose.

    0
    Liam SinclairM
    Liam SinclairM

    Question 1 year ago

    I am making a pendant with 4 down pipes, 1 horizontal (sectioned with T's).
    How do you get all of the pipes to be "level" i.e. screwed in the same distance?

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Answer 1 year ago

    Sorry I missed this! You can use a small amount of lubricant, if needed. But make sure you clean it off well before painting. Brute force is also necessary some times.

    0
    Liam SinclairM
    Liam SinclairM

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks JP! Much appreciated

    0
    gititdone
    gititdone

    1 year ago

    absolutely gorgeous

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    SueP170
    SueP170

    1 year ago

    Love this!
    Thanks for the great instructions....

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks!

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    Advising Elf
    Advising Elf

    1 year ago

    That's a cool-looking fixture. I would double-check how securely it's held to the ceiling, both the box-to-ceiling, and fixture-to-box. If everything was designed to hold a ceiling fan, then it should be fine.

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Reply 1 year ago

    The light weighs 8 pounds and is secured using the same screws for a 20 pound fan. The box it’s attached to is rated for up to 50 pounds.

    0
    WildArtist
    WildArtist

    Question 1 year ago on Step 6

    What does the fixture weigh?
    Love the look.

    0
    jpmarth
    jpmarth

    Answer 1 year ago

    It weighs 8 pounds.