CD Tower Light




Introduction: CD Tower Light

About: I'm a hack, not an expert on any one subject.

This is a light that I did several years ago. The idea was what to do with all those CD's that I had laying around. I had a stack of CD's in front of a light and I noticed that the light came through the edges of the CD's.

Please no asking about the mess in the background, my wife says that I am a hoarder. But I know where everything is, I just can't dig it out.

Step 1: Things That You'll Need

A lot of CD's. (I used about 200 in this lamp.
soldering iron
contact cement glue
heat shrink tubes for the wires
wire cutters
Blue Cold Cathode Fluorescent 12" PC Case Light. (Comes with two lights, we are going to use only one light)
a 12 V DC transformer. (wall wart)
a bowl for the base, big enough to hold the electronics.
something to cap the light on the top.

Step 2: Glue the CD's Together

Using the contact cement glue, put a line of glue about 1/2 an inch around the hole of the CD. You do not want a lot of glue here so that when the next CD goes on top you don"t have glue running down the hole in the center of the CD. You can use the spindle of the 25, 50, 100 CD pack to line them up. If there is glue in the center of the CD, you'll end up gluing them both together. Once the stacks were to big for the packs I used some packing material and zip ties. Make sure that the tower is big enough for the light and a couple of inches just in case.

Step 3: Testing the Concept

While the CD's were drying, I wanted to test the idea. I had to remove the clear ends to fit the light down the center of the CD's. So to remove you'll have to twist the end off. I think they used one drop of super glue to glue the ends on. On the bottom of the light, carefully remove the glue around the wires. Once done the tube with the bottom end will slide right off, then you can twist the end off. Check the voltage off of the wall wart to make sure that it is 12 DC, mark the positive wire. Cut the wires on the wall wart as close as you can to the end, so that the wire is as long as possible. Cut the power wire from the Molex connector off. Just strip the ends of the wires on the wall wart and the case light, twist the positive from the wall wart to the yellow wire together, then twist the other two wire together. Plug in the wall wart and switch on the case light, insert the light down the CD's. Looks good! I went ahead and added glue to the light in the tubes so that they would not fall out.

Step 4:

 It took the glue several days to dry. Once the glue was done, I took the bowl and drilled a small hole in the bottom. Just big enough for the wires from the wall wart to fit through. I ended up cutting the wires closer to the plug that goes into the case light control board. That way there was less wire that I had to stuff in the bowl. I put the heat shrink tubes on the wires, soldered them to together, shrunk the tubes down over the bare soldered wires. I then removed the cover on the case light control board and glued it down in the bowl. Connect everything and check to make sure that it still works.

Step 5: Top Assembly

I took apart the wall light to use the base form it. I was going to put something else on top but I ended up using the original hardware for the hole on top.

Step 6:

Time to glue the tower together. Add glue around the center of the top piece, place stack of CD's on top. Center it and let dry. I used the weight of the CD's to help set the glue in place.

Step 7:

Checking the fit, making sure that there is no shorting out on the control board or wires, and making sure that it still works. Add glue around the base's (bowl) opening, I added glue on the light's tube so that it would stay where I wanted it to. Let the glue set and you are done.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful results.

    Unfortunately CDs are getting harder to come by because of the proliferation of flash drives. AOL stopped shipping the CDs a long while ago. If I ever find some, I'll make it.

    I personally don't like using CFL or any kind of gas lamp because they are contain hazardous mercury and they need special recycling when they die. I instead would find a triangular tube or solid that would comfortably fit inside the CD hole and I would stick a strip of addressable RGB LEDs on the three sides lengthwise to make a color changing tower that can even sequence up and down as the warp core in Star Trek Next Generation's Enterprise.

    Sorry, my nerd is showing.

    J,R,D, Ltd
    J,R,D, Ltd

    9 years ago on Step 7

    Looks great! Reminds me of a light from Star Trek, like the warp engine or something. If only it was pulsating... lol.