Introduction: Lamp Made From Translucent 45 Records

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!
I salvaged a few thousand 45 records from the landfill a few months back. The radio station had tried giving them away but it seems that nobody really wanted a huge pile of mostly country 45s. I went through the pile of them with my friend Earl (who tipped me off to the pile of records) and we pulled out all of the music we were interested in listening to. We also pulled out a stack of different color translucent records. What to do with a bunch of blue, green red and yellow 45s? Well, they reminded me of the lamps i have seen made out of compact discs so that's what i went for.

A few things...

Please, if you are going to mention this project in print or other sites please give a nod and link to as well as instructables.

Also, these records served a very long life at a public radio station. I understand that they did everything they could to find them a good home. I salvaged them from the baling facility where they would have been compacted into a bale and shipped to a landfill. Don't hate me for doing this to a record. I have a large collection of LPs but these artists and songs have no interest to me. But if they ever do - i didn't drill through the audio part - just the label - so they can still be played!

Step 1: Materials

To do this project you'll need a number of things...

50-75 translucent records plus a few that don't need to be translucent
a light bulb, fixture, switch and cord
a base
threaded rod, washers, fender washers, nuts and acorn nuts

Step 2: Tools

I used a LOT of tools for this project. Depending on your base and the light you use you could use a lot less than this...

Square, marker, pencil
Chop saw
Soldering iron, solder, wire, wire cutters and strippers
Electric stapler, wood glue, right angle clamps
Bolt cutters
Wrenches, sockets, pliers
Drill, drill bits
Hot glue gun

Step 3: Clamp and Drill

I stacked up the records in a somewhat random color pattern. I looked at it a few times and moved a few around if there were too many of one color together.

I just eyeballed the location for the three holes on one of the non-translucent 45s. It would be better to do this with an equilateral triangle and a drill press with a jig of some sort to ensure every hole is in the proper spot. I'm not that together, don't have a drill press, and figured out that might have been way better after some frustration.

Put your template on one end and a few other non-translucent 45s on the other end of the stack. When you're pushing the drill bit through it is possible the last few might crack.

By pushing the stack on its side against the fridge i was able to clamp them together.

I then drilled through the stack with an extra long drill bit that was just a bit larger than the threaded rod. The reason this is the first step is because it will take a long time. The drill bit gets hot and starts to melt the vinyl. I think i averaged about a quarter inch each time. Then i would let the bit cool while working on the base or the light.

So drill a little, work on part of the next step, drill a little, go back to what you were doing... repeat.

Step 4: Lamp Base

I had originally planned on using an old record player for the lamp base. But i'm getting old and need to make my projects look a little more like an old person made them.

That and i didn't have a spare record player to gut at the time. I have had two in the past but nothing now. Besides - most record players are designed to hold a larger record so i thought the base might look a little strange.

I used some oak that i had around.

I made a top piece that was seven and a half inches square and cut four trim pieces for the perimeter.

I glues and tacked the frame together and did my best to take photos that hide my errors. I'm no carpenter. I'm also not an electrician which you will soon see...

Step 5: Light

You probably live somewhere with a hardware store with a decent assortment of light fixtures and bulbs and can probably just buy something that will work and you won't have to mess around with as much as i did. But figuring out stuff like this really is part of the fun of making something.

I bought a few switched light sockets and plugs. I used a push button with a stainless button from an old stereo i took apart. And for my lights i wanted the lamp to be energy efficient so i used these LED lights used for emergency exit lights. (A search for "emergency exit LED retrofit" should give some results. Shop around - prices vary greatly!) I calculate that running this light will cost me just a few cents a day if i left it on for 24 hours. Because i knew my lamp would be taller than just one (and because i blew the fluorescent bulb that i tried first) i broke them apart (also necessary to fit inside the 45s) and soldered two in series. I used part of a pen to glue the two lights together.

I removed the switch on the cord. I don't really like those and thought the stainless button on oak would look nice. I soldered one end of the socket wiring to the switch and one from the outlet to the other side of the switch. I covered the terminals with some hot glue to prevent a short or me from hurting myself.

If you notice a change in the wires it is because i somehow killed one of the lights. I think i held the soldering iron on too long and burned a component. I was stumped for a while.

You should calculate the center of the base and drill a hole large enough for your light fixture now.

For some high resolution images showing the detail of the base check out these photos.

Step 6: Stacking the Records

Here's where things are a little tricky. Chances are that you didn't manage to drill exactly parallel holes through the records. That's ok as long as you're close. And as long as you don't let the records freely spin around. The order and orientation of the records is important to retain. I kept my drill bit in one hole and started with the bottom of the stack. I had a bottom to my stack because, amidst all the 45s was one translucent small diameter 33. Odd indeed - i'll assume you won't be so lucky and that you'll need something to cover up the larger opening of the 45 on top. I suggest an adapter stuck or glued into place.

Before we get there we need to drill holes in the base. I started with the threaded rod and acorn nuts all in the three holes drilled through the stack. Once you have that you can remove the clamps.

Mark where the holes need to be on the base. I suggest using a considerably larger bit for this hole. It won't be noticeable under the record and will make threading all the records on a bit easier.

Now move one threaded rod from the stack to the base. switch the acorn nut for a fender washer and a hex nut. Put the drill bit back in that empty hole. Remove the other two threaded rods and put them in the base. keeping your stack of records oriented take one, and flip it over and onto the rods. Put washers on the rods and then take a next and flip it over before putting it on. Keep doing that until you are out of records, you are tall enough for your light bulb, or you like the look of it.

Put the acorn nuts on and gently work the rods back down into the base. Tighten the hex nuts and then use the bolt cutters or a hacksaw to trim any excess threaded rod.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Thank you Instructables for having another contest to get one more of my projects from concept to completed!
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