Introduction: MODERN LED LIGHT

As a graphics professional I work in a dark cubicle all day. I wanted to make myself an LED desk lamp, to bring a little warmth and color to my work environment. I designed the lamp with a bit of expandability in mind. There are exchangeable "reflector cards" the can serve as color accents. But will also serve as a chassis for interactive sensors in the future. In this instructable I will show my process of building my wooden LED desk lamp.

Check out the youtube to see the build in action, pause is your friend .


Hardwood of your choice in several thicknesses up to 1 1/2"

LED light kit

Soldering iron

Heat gun

Heat shrink tubing

push block for table saw

Oil finish

brass rod stock 1/8"

spray paint

Step 1: Cutting the Base Parts

I based all my initial thicknesses for the base of the light, on a couple pieces of scrap walnut I had laying around.The bottom piece has a thickness of 38mm, and the vertical piece is a thickness of 31.75mm. I made the vertical part of the base out of three different pieces of wood. I thought it added a nice detail with the grain orientation.

Step 2: Making Joints for the Base

I used a spline joint to connect part 1 to part 2 and a tongue and groove joint to connect part 1&2 to part 3.

I cut the spline joint on the table saw in several passes. Then clamped and glued part 1 and 2 together.

I then cut the tongue and groove in the same manner on the table saw, after unclamping part 1&2. At this point we also have to notch part 3, so we can attach another part later that we still have yet to build. Before gluing up parts 1&2 to part 3, I drilled two holes through part 3 so I could fit brass pins, that will allow me to mount the cantilevered part of the light to.

Step 3: Making the Hatches

I made two recessed hatches in the base of the light to house the LED controller and remote. I used the shaper origin( a handheld CNC machine) to cut these. You could create these with a traditional cnc router, or a template and a traditional hand router. I've included SVG files with profiles and offsets that I used to cut my hatches and lids for the hatches. I routed out the depth of my controller and remote respectively for each hatch, plus the thickness of the lid. I planed down a few pieces of walnut to 8mm. I will be using the 8mm thick material for a few other assemblies later. So I planed down 3 pieces around 4"x12" roughly to have enough for later. Then used the CNC to cut the lid shape out.

Step 4: Base Glue Up

I cut the two halves of the base on the table saw to make a mitered rabbet joint. Once these are cut, I glue and clamp them over night. After I unclamp them I take the base to the drilll press and drill three holes through the joint. So I can add brass pins for strength and aesthetics. After the glue is set on the brass pins. I trim and flush them up with an angle grinder.

Step 5: The Cantilever

I start with the spine of the cantilever. I used a piece of wood that was roughly 400mm long 55mm wide.This part will be painted later so I didn't use my best quality walnut. I use the table saw to cut a channel down the length of the wood I have rough cut for the spine. Then cut a notch in the spine to make space for the "registering pin". The registering pin as I like to call it. Fits in the two notches cut into the cantilever spine and the base respectively, bridging the two parts of the lamp together and ensuring a straight fit. It measures 85mm L x 25.4mm H 15mm W. Drill a hole down its length so you can pull the LED wiring through it. At this point I used my shaper CNC to cut the slot on the spine for the reflector card, this could also be done with a drill press or a router table. Next up is to make the reflector card cradle that hangs from the spine. This assembly was built with 2 pieces of the same walnut that I had previously planed down for the hatch lids to a thickness of 8mm. I've included a jpg with all the measurements for the cradle in the gallery. I took the rest of the 8mm thick material and cut reflector cards that will sit in the cradle. And can slide in and out of the slot cut into the spine. After gluing all the pieces together for the cradle. I drilled a few holes through the assembly so I could again use brass pins for strength and aesthetics (I really like the look of brass and oiled walnut). While at the drill press I drilled two hole where the cradle will meet the base. These holes will accept the two pins left exposed on the base earlier. I jumped back on the table saw to bevel the outside length of the spine to a final width of 51mm. I cut the spine at 229mm at a 45 degree angle. Then repeated the process on the off cut of the spine. So they then could put back together with a mitered butt joint later. I glued the cradle to the bottom of the longer spine piece (229mm length) in the channel created earlier on the table saw. Once the glue was dry, I drilled several holes through the spine into the cradle for brass pins, to add strength to the assembly.

Step 6: Assembly

It is time to combine the base and the cantilever. I spread a liberal amount of glue on the surface of the cradle the will butt against the base. I also spread glue on the two pins exposed on the base, that will plug into the holes on the cradle. I spread glue on the sides of the "registering pin" slid that into its slot. Mated the two assemblies clamped and let sit for a few hours. I then glued the other piece of the spine to create the L shape with a mitered butt joint. Once the glue was dry I drilled two holes at the joint for brass pins. I also drilled two holes through the "registering pin" into the cradle for brass pins as well. Glue all the brass pins into place and let sit over night.

Step 7: Finishing / Paint

I sanded everything to 120 grit, then gave it a good wipe down with a cloth. Its time to apply the oil! I wiped on two liberal coats, letting it sit 15 minutes between coats. Then I wiped off all the excess, hand buffing out the oil with a cloth. I oiled the reflector cards as well. I painted the spine of the cantilever first. I masked everything off including the brass details. I used a flat blue acrylic without a primer( I wanted a thin layer of paint so the wood grain is visible still). Next I painted the remote hatch and the hatch bottom, leaving the exposed walnut top with the oil finish. I used an all in one paint and primer light pink for the hatch. I made four reflector cards to choose from, two solid , two with a pattern. To make the pattern I covered one side with masking tape. Then used the shaper origin to carve the pattern in the tape and wood using a v-carve bit. Once I exposed the pattern, I painted each with a light color to help bounce the light that will emit from the spine of the cantilever. I waited 24 hours for the paint to dry then I did a light sanding with 600 grit.

Step 8: LED Install

I had to extend the wiring to fit through the length of the registering pin. This was all very simple soldering, red to red, black to black etc. I used heat shrink tubing to keep everything tidy. Once the LED wires where fished through to the controller hatch, everything was pretty plug and play with the controller in the kit. It was necessary to wire up two sections of LED strips so I could follow the shape of the spine. I used hot glue to attach the LED strip to the underside of the spine. After everything was roughly hooked up I tested the light. Buttoned everything up and installed the controller in its hatch. The last steps are to drill holes for the ac adapter and the remote control sensor in the hatch. Thats it for the part 1 of this light. Be sure to check out the video. Moving pictures always makes things better.

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