Introduction: DIY Table Lamp

About: I'm an Engineer and a Maker, who believes that "DIY" is a way of life and "Open Source" is the way to go. Sharing promotes innovation!

Why not make your own table lamp? Not only is it fairly easy and cool, but it also makes for a great gift.

My boss was recently transfered to another function. Because of that, me and the other people I work with decided to make something to give her, so she could remember us by.
I thought that it would be a good idea to give her a tble lamp to decorate her house. And to really make the gift special, what better way than to do it ourselves?
Of course, since we are in the "aircraft business", we had to do something aircraft-themed. So I came up with a design that incorporates some fuel injectors that I already used in a previous project.

Step 1: Making the Base Structure

The main part of the lamp is the center body. Its shape is basically a pyramid with a triangular base, that transitions to a circle on the top. This way, the first thing to do was to build the base.

I built it out of a 0.8mm aluminium sheet. Besides cutting the outside shape, I also had to drill the holes for the bolts that will fix the injectors to the base, as well as the holes that allow the injectors to be mounted without interference. Finally, I had to drill a center hole to be used to pass the electrical cable.

As for the wire frame, it was attached to the base by means of eyelets that were made in each "leg", The top consists of a circle were the bulb socket will be fitted. For simplicity, one of the legs was used to form the circle, while the remaining two were attached to it by mean of eyelets. A gap was left to allow for future adjustments of the socket's fit.

Step 2: Engraving the Body

This part was performed by a friend of mine that has quite a knack for engraving metal. In this particular case, we used a thin aluminium sheet, reinforced with some cardboard on its back.

Since the lamp's body has kind of three faces, we drew a planification of it and played a bit with what we would put on each of them. We ended up deciding to engrave in one a poem that my friend wrote, the figures of the aircraft we work with on another and the list of our names on the last one.

For the engraving process, we printed out the stuff we wanted to engrave and taped it to the aluminium planification. My friend then started tracing everything with a special tool that's basically a kind of a pen with a hard metal tip (called a "boleador" in portuguese). Alternatively, you may also use a regular ball-point pen that doesn't have ink with the thickness of the grooves that you want.

After tracing, the metal is engraved. However, to improve the "readability" of the engraving, a kind of black acrylic ink is applied over the area. When the sheet is then polished, the black substance will remain in the "valleys", making the engraving more visible.

EDIT: Since some people had doubts about the tools that were used and the ink, I added pictures of those too.

Step 3: Final Assembly

The body assembly consisted in wrapping the previously assembled structure in the engraved metal sheet. Both in the base and in the top, the excess metal was folded over to provide a place to fix it to the structure.

After that, the bulb socket was inserted in the top opening and glued in place.

To note that before wrapping the metal sheet, the electrical cable was passed through the respective hole in the base and conected with the bulb socket.

To finalize the build, an IKEA lampshade was attached to the socket.

With this, the table lamp was completed and ready to serve as a piece of decoration, as well as a cool light source for our boss' living room.