Introduction: Bright Idea Light

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

The Bright Idea Light is a light-bulb shaped lamp that mounts flush to the wall and eminates a soft backlit glow. I simply found the idea of a virtual rendering of a cartoon light bulb bleeding over into the real functionality of an actual light bulb interesting at the time. There is not too much going on here besides that.

If you wanted to push this idea farther, I can envision a version of this paired with an brainwave sensor that illuminates when someone has an idea.

Step 1: Lamp Materials

You will need:

(x1) White double-row LED strip
(x1) Mini power remote controller
(x1) 12V 3A power supply
(x1) 18" x 24" x 1/8" aluminum
(x1) 18" x 24" x 3/4" plywood
(x7) 6-32 tee nut inserts
(x7) 6-32 x 3/4" bolts
(x1) 30-NF contact cement
(x1) 2-wire black fabric cord
(x2) 1" long shrink tube

Step 2: Print Out the Bulb

Print the bulb onto adhesive vinyl and cut out the pink outline using the attached template.

If cutting it out of vinyl proves to be too much of a hassle, you can alternately have it printed on paper and later spray-mount it to the aluminum panel.

Step 3: Cut Out the Aluminum

Cut the light bulb shape out of aluminum using the attached template.

To do this, I used a water jet since it is quick and very precise.

Assuming that you don't have a water jet lying around, you can cut this out using more traditional methods like a band saw.

If cutting the aluminum is too much of a challenge, you can alternately change the materials to something like 1/4" wood or acrylic and then cut it out with a band saw, jig saw, or laser cutter (if you have access).

If even that proves to be beyond your capabilities, you can use cardboard, foamcore, or mat board and an Exacto knife.

This is ultimately not a complicated shape to create.

Step 4: Countersink

Countersink all of the bolt holes on the front surface of the light bulb plate using an 82 degree bit.

Step 5: Cut the Wood

Cut out the back wooden panel out of 3/4" plywood using the attached template file.

Again, I accomplished this using a non-standard tool (a 400 watt laser cutter). You can easily do this by printing the template, taping it to the plywood and then cutting it with standard shop tools.

Alternately you can cut three 1/4" plywood pieces with a lesser power laser, then stack and glue the slices together.

Less ideal, but also totally possible would be to use stacked cardboard cut to shape. Although, glueing to the edge of this may prove tricky.

Step 6: Sand (optional)

I sanded the outside edge of the plywood because the laser cutter left burn marks. I wanted to remove this before applying contact cement.

Step 7: Tee-Nut Inserts

Flip the wooden bracket onto its back side and hammer 6-32 tee nuts into all of the bolt holes.

Step 8: Route

Flip the wooden bracket over (so the tee nuts are face down) and route channels where each of the key holes are. The depth is not remarkably important, but try not to go more than 1/2" deep.

Step 9: Drill a Cable Hole

Flip the wooden bracket on edge, and drill a 1/4" hole in the center of its skinniest face (i.e. the bottom of the light bulb).

Step 10: Drill Another Hole

Drill a 3/16" hole centered upon the edge near the base of the light bulb.

Step 11: Prepare the LED Strip

Measure out enough LED strip to wrap around the "bulb" part of the wooden frame.

Trim the LED strip to size along the appropriate cut lines on the strip.

Finally, remove any protective waterproof sleeves that might exist.

Step 12: Apply Contact Cement

Apply contact cement along the the outer edge of the wooden frame where you will be mounting the LED strip.

Also apply contact cement to the back side of the strip itself.

Wait for both to dry.

Step 13: Attach the LED Strip

Immediately after the contact cement has dried on both the frame and LED strip, carefully and firmly stick the two together.

Step 14: Bolt Together

Bolt the aluminum panel to the wooden from using 6-32 flat head bolts.

Step 15: Wire It Up

Pass the fabric cord up through the bottom of the frame and tie a knot to keep it from passing back through.

Pass the wire from the LED strip through the 3/16" hole on the side of the frame.

Wire the fabric cord to the LED strip and insulate the connection with shrink tube.

Step 16: Wire the Plug

Determine which wire is positive and which is ground using a multimeter.

Wire the positive wire to the center terminal of the M-type jack and the ground wire to the outer terminal.

Twist the cover back on once done.

Step 17: Apply the Decal

Spray the aluminum with a mounting spray (or soapy water) and then float the decal on top.

Once in the correct position, squeegee out the soapy water to mount the sticker.

Step 18: Light It Up

The lamp is now ready to hang.

Put it on the wall, plug it in, and turn it on.