Introduction: Glow-In-The-Dark Nuclear Bomb Night Light.

About: A passionate make of things. I spend my time developing new ideas and looking for ways to improve old ones!

Inspiration for a project can come from anywhere and this is no exception.

While browsing through Thingiverse I came across a very fetching design for a vase (Vases being the go to object for all things 3D Printed). This vase was, is, special and rather than opting for the standard twist or curved vase, boeingdude1 went for a bomb vase instead.

I pondered for a few moments, thinking, wondering what I could do with their idea of a bomb vase when I hit upon the notion of making a lamp. Not just any lamp, but a glowing Nuclear Night Light!

Project Brief.

Design and print a lamp that works as a bed side light when turned on and a glowing night light when switched off.

Design Ideas.

I am a huge fan of Glow-In-The-Dark PLA but I am put off by the flat colour the material has when not glowing. I want to see if I can use a semi-transparent outer colour shell and then use the Glow-In-The-Dark PLA inside. Hopefully the glow will shine through the outer material.

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Step 1: Components & STLs.



  • The STL, STP and .123dx files are available from | Thingiverse

You'll also need a BBV (Big Build Volume) 3D Printer, I am using the amazing BigBox Hybrid Dual!

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Step 2: Design.

Originally I had hoped to simply import the bomb vase, convert it to a solid and them add in the glow features, switch, bulb and power input. But that was not possible so I set about modelling my own bomb based on the original vase. I'll be using 123D Design to model the Night Light.

My aim is to hollow out the bomb and leave room for an LED light bulb inside. To allow the lamp to glow afterwards the inside of the lamps walls should be filled with Glow-In-The-Dark. I'll need to make two models which align together, one the outer casing and the other the Glow-In-The-Dark infill.

Firstly I began by making the basic shape of the bomb.

To hollow it out I had to create a copy, scale it using the Smart Scale feature in 123D Design and subtract the modified model from the main model. This then left me with a ~10mm wall thickness.

From there I tilted it back 5 degrees, cut off the bottom to create a flat for it to sit on and then began working on hollowing it out.

To hollow it out I made another copy of the original model and reduced all the external faces by 1mm. Why 1mm? Well I plan on printing with a 0.4mm nozzle and the extrusion width is ~.5mm. The result is that the outer casing prints with just two perimeters. That should be thin enough to allow light to go through and thick enough to hide the drab Glow-In-The-Dark underneath. I did a little bit of modelling trickery and embedded the nuclear warning logo into the front of the bomb.

After hollowing it out adding in the leaking nuke goo base was a pretty simple exercise. I created the goo from a few circles and ovals. Merged them all together and used the fillet tool to fill in and smooth the edges.

The lamp is designed to be light with an E14 LED Bulb. Make sure you choose a 12v bulb and not a mains one!

When modelling with 123D Design I find it helpful to implement my own versioning by periodically saving a new file version-number to disk. I have attached a zip file which has 30+ file versions for the bomb lamp. It might help you understand my methods and give you a few insights into the processes involved.

Step 3: Slicing & Printing.

I'm using Simplify3D to perform the slicing. I have a profile configured for each model. The models are aligned together and correctly orientated on the bed.

The base has three models. The shell, glow infill and a centre bulb holder. While printing the base for the first time it turned out to be quite hard to get the T-Glase to play well with the PLA. The PLA sticks down fine on top of the T-Glase but try it the other way around and things to wrong.

In the end I had to edit the G-Code at the point just before the T-Glase went on top of the PLA and add in an alarm (M300). When the alarm sounds I must spray the PLA with 3DLAC so the T-Glase will stick!

The BigBox uses a Hybrid head, one Hotend is Direct Drive and the other is Bowden feed. For the best results I printed the outer Edge filament with the direct extruder and the internal Glow-In-The-Dark in the Bowden.

It is important to remember to use a Hardened Nozzle when printing Glow-In-The-Dark PLA as the magic glow particles are abrasive and will ruin a standard brass nozzle.

Slicer Settings.


  • 0.25mm Layer Height.
  • 50mm/s Print Speed.
  • 80°C Bed Temperature.
  • Print Cooling Fan Off.

Bomb & Base Shells.

  • 2 x Perimeters.
  • 2 x Bottom layers.
  • 2 x Base Layers.
  • 10% Infill.

Glow-In-The-Dark & Bulb Base

  • 3 x Perimeters.
  • 3 x Bottom layers.
  • 3 x Base Layers.
  • 20% Infill.

Step 4: Assembly.

1 | Begin by installing the DC Jack Socket into the base.

2 | Strip ~25mm from the end of a red wire.

3 | Wrap the wire around an M3 Bolt to form a loop.

4 | Remove the bolt.

5 | Solder the loop.

6 | Insert the M3 6mm Socket Cap Screw into the loop.

7 | Feed the cable through the hold at the bottom of the bulb holder and screw the M3 screw into the base clamping down on the wire.

8 | Prepare a ~150mm red & a ~150mm black wire by stripping and soldering an end and fitting a spade connector to the other. If you don't want to use or do not have spade connectors you can simply tin both ends. If you have any slip a short length of heat-shrink onto each wire.

9 | Solder the black (-) wire to the longer of the two pins on the DC Jack. Solder the red (+) wire to the shorter pin. Cover the connections with the heat-shrink.

10 | Create a similar looped black wire as before, flit a washer, then the loop, then a washer and finally a nut to an 8mm M3 Screw, do not tighten the nut at this stage (refer to the images if you are unsure).

11 | Screw the bulb into the holder making sure the base of the bulb is tight against the screw below. Screw the black wire assembly into the hole in the bulb holder. Tighten the nut.

12 | Connect the Switch to the four wires, take care to correctly wire the plug.

13 | Plug a 12v PSU in to the DC Jack and turn on the switch. The bulb should come on.

14 | Remove the switch from the wiring, turn the bomb upside down, feed the wires through the hole for the switch, place the base on top and secure the two parts together with 7 x M3 10mm Socket Cap Screws. The screw-heads should tighten up far enough that they do not protrude below the underside of the base.

15 | Put the bomb the correct way up and reconnect the switch to the wires.

16 | Fit the switch into the bomb.

17 | Look through the top of the bomb to check the wiring is ok and not caught or bent.

18 | Ensure the switch is in the OFF position before plugging in the PSU.

Step 5: Make It Glow!

1 | Place your new bedside irradiation lamp on the side table

2 | Plug in the lamp.

3 | Change into your most comfortable pyjamas.

4 | Turn on your lamp and switch off your main room light.

5 | Get into bed.

6 | Read for a moment and relax under the gentle light of your lamp.

7 | Put away your book.

8 | Turn off the lamp.

9 | Slumber under the safe green glow of nuclear radiation, courtesy of your Nuclear Night Light.

Make it Glow Contest 2016

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2016

Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016

Participated in the
Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016