DIY Lamp Switch for Dogs




Introduction: DIY Lamp Switch for Dogs

Probably you will know them, the standing lamps with a switch on the floor which are handled by feet. Well, if you thought it would be easy to handle them by everyone, you got it wrong anyway! This easy DIY product is specially designed for people who use trained dogs to help them in daily life. The problem was that the dog couldn' t push the button very well, therefor this lever system is the solution.

Another advantage of this specific product is that it can be handled very easly by the dog,people who sit in a wheelchair and older people.

This project is developed by four industrial design students from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Step 1: Materials & Tools


  • Hammer
  • Metal saw
  • Simple (plastic) cup to prepare concrete in it.
  • File or sandpaper to finish sharp edges
  • Wood glue
  • Laser cutting machine (Fablab)


  • Strong wooden plates (we used multiplex) thickness: 6mm; surface: 1x 450mm by 600mm and 1x 150mm by 600mm
  • Aluminium tubes (1x diameter 13mm and 2x diameter 16mm)
  • Cement (Fast drying
  • 4x Antislip dots

If you want to see how we made the product, just look at this movie "Hoe te bouwen".

Step 2: Laser All the Wooden Components

In this step we are going to laser all the parts made out of wood.

What you need for this step:

  • Multiplex plates (450x600mm) and (150x600mm)
  • Vectorized file of parts (illustrator file)

1. Download the illustrator file

2. Print file to lasercutter make shure that the file is in the right properties to laser:

- RGB color mode

- For cutting: R = 256, G = 0, B = 0

- For etching: R = 0, G = 0, B = 256

- Line thickness: 0,025mm

3. Let the laser machine do his job!

Step 3: Make the Box

After the parts are laser cut we can assemble the box.

To make this box you need following components:

02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07 (Ref. to material overview step1)

tools you need:

  • Wood glue
  • Hammer

1. Glue part 03 and 04 on to part 02. (Clamp the two pieces good to each other!)

2. Glue the lever together.

3. If the glue is dried from part 03, 04 and 02, knock the side panels (06) into the bottom plate with the hammer.

Note: Use another piece of (wasted) plank to knock on so you don' t damage the good planks

4. Knock the other side panels (05) into 06.

5. The box is now ready, the lever is also dry enough to glue the button piece (07) on it.

Step 4: Pour the Concrete

In this step we will show you how to make the concrete block. This block has as purpose to give counterweight to the moment that the dog/person generates when pushing the lever. This is the beautiful, cheap and clean solution, feel free to use other heavy objects instead of pouring the concrete.

You will need for this:

  • Cement (We used "Schnellszement" from "Knauf")
  • Water
  • Cups (We used two identical cups)
  • Piece of wood to mix
  • Cover (08)

1. Mix the concrete: use 3 units cement in proportion to 1 unit water. Use the stick to mix the water and the cement. (search for a stick with a rectangular section, this is better than a cilindrical stick)

Note: It' s easy to use one cup for the water and the other for the cement, then pour the water with the cement and mix it firmly.

2. After 1min30 you should get a fluid and homogeneous substance which you can pour into the box (see images).

3. Press the Cover (08) to the concrete on top so everything becomes closed. (We only did this because of easthetic reasons. You can leave away this cover if you like the view of concrete.)

Step 5: Make the Axis

Now we are going to make the most important part of the product: the lever system and the axis.

For this step you will need:

  • Aluminium tube 13 (diameter 13mm)
  • Aluminium tubes 14 (diameter 16mm)
  • Lasercut rings (not on overview but see image)
  • Lever

1. Cut the aluminium tubes:

The 13mmdiameter tube has a length of 150mm

The 16mm diameter tube each has a length of 57mm

2. Assembly the axis in following order:

  1. Tube 13mm diameter
  2. Tube 16mm diameter
  3. Ring
  4. Lever
  5. Ring
  6. Tube 16mm diameter

Step 6: Finishing

Last but not least: finishing of the product.

What you will need for this step:

  • 4 Antislip dots
  • Sandpaper and/or file
  • If you like: wooden cilindrical caps to secure the axis 2x (09)

1. Stick the Antislip dots at the bottom side of the bottom plate. We did each in one corner.

2. Secure axis with gluing the 2 cilindrical wood pieces at the side panels before the axis holes (09)

3. You can use sandpaper to remove sharp edges.

The product is now ready to use! Just put your switch in it and give it a good place at your house.

Step 7: Final Result

As you can see our client can operate her lamp with or without her service dog. In short, we are convinced that this product can facilitate the life of our target audience and many others!

You can find more information about our project on our blog:

Special thanks to:

Heleen Bartsoen and her service dog Gyproc

Project made by:

Maarten Aerts, Alejandro Pitarch Gascón, Lynn Vandecasteele and Jonathan Engels

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea, I would also like to expand on this concept and see something for a TV or Cable "blipper". Maybe nestle the remote firmly in a draw-like compartment and then have spring-loaded fingers (to prevent pressing the function keys to hard) linked to the longer accessible handles press the needed function keys (CH+, CH-, VOL+, VOL-, etc.). You can even teach your service dog to manipulate the levers.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great project! Now I need to buy myself a lasercutter.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You could also print the files out, tape the paper to the plank, trace the (out)lines with a knife and use a jig saw (or whatever works) to cut the pieces out. Drilling the holes would be a good idea if there's no lasercutter available for a reasonable price in your area ;)
    Also, you can use other sizes of tubes (smaller) so you can make the holes with a regular drill :)
    (we kind of oversized the tubes to be on the safe side and because we had some scrap tubes ;) )


    8 years ago on Introduction

    cool. now they need to work on a "give yourself a bath" project for dogs!

    Nice to see an 'ible that is extremely useful for someone who really needs it as opposed to mostly just a fun and kind of cool alternate way of doing something.

    It might be helpful to make the base large enough to set the lamp on, as this would make it all more of a piece.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. Great instructable. As a person who knows someone with a service dog, good boys and girls!

    It wasn't until I saw the video that I realized what you were talking about when referring to the floor switch, so thanks for the video. Also, can the wooden lever be accidentally knocked out of place? Or is the switch fastened in place? I didn't see if it was or not.

    Congratulations on being featured! The more people who see this the more people and dogs will be helped.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    First i must appreciate the work you did to help Heleen and Gyproc commendable job. The last final photo with the entire team is really good but, dont you think the last guy standing to right looks somewhat photoshopped ?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    He could not be there when we were making the group picture, so we applied some basic (quite bad) photoshop skills to fit him in the picture :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    great job. You guys should be proud.

    Dogs are great animals. They will do anything for you if the can. The bonus is that Heleen is empowered, also.

    King Crab
    King Crab

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic creation, you should be very proud of yourself. This could help a ton of people!