Introduction: PVC Lighting Design

About: 17, Student in Scotland studying product design engineering.

This is a simple lighting design that is mostly made out of PVC pipes.

It includes; a wide base consisting of only PVC, a metal rod secured in place by cement and 3 PVC structures that hold lights inside of them that can also be moved up and down the metal rod, spun round the metal rod and can be tilted at different angles.

Here are all the materials and tools you will need to complete this project:



2x PVC (L) 1m (D) 35mm = 2x£5.29

3x PVC T-joints - diameter = 3x£3.00

7x PVC - (L) 125mm - (D) 35mm

3x PVC - (L) 80mm - (D) 35mm

6x PVC elbow - (OD) 40mm = 6x£3.19

Clear acrylic sheet - £1.95

Metal rod - (L) 300mm - (D) 10mm = £3.25

12.5kg bag of cement = £2.99


3x 9v Dc Batteries = 3x£4.00

24x white LEDs = 24x£0.30

24x 330 ohm resistors = 24x£0.16

3x toggle switch SPDT = 3x £4.50

3x Battery clip = 3x£1.59


Making the structure:

Electric drill

Hack saw

Steel rule/ measuring tape

Bucket and trowel or other equipment to mix cement

Spirit level


Filter funnel

Making electronic circuits:

Solder and Soldering iron

Step 1: Assembly of the Base

For the assembly of the base, firstly I cut all the pieces of PVC tube.

I clamped the tube in place and began cutting with the hack saw.

I cut 3 pieces of PVC to 80mm and 7 pieces to 125mm

After sanding down the edges of each tube of length 125mm, I began to insert each one into the T-joints ensuring that there was then a firm base for the lighting design.

Step 2: Assembly of the Rod to the Base

Firstly, I clamped the metal rod in place and using the hacksaw I cut the metal rod to a length of 300mm.

I then grabbed a bucket that was lying around and added some cement in it, I then began adding water and started mixing with a trowel. I gradually added more cement and mixed it until I was satisfied with the thickness.

Using a filter funnel and the trowel again, I scraped the cement into the tube of the base and filled the cement in until it reached the top of the tube.

I then placed the metal rod in as I tried to ensure that it was sitting completely straight in the tube, this proved to be very difficult as even using a spirit level it was very difficult to keep the rod completely vertical.

After I was just about sure that the rod was straight I taped it to my work bench and left it to dry for 48 hours in my garage.

Step 3: Assembly of Light Casings

Using the pieces of PVC that were cut to a length of 80mm, I attached them to the elbow joints.

I then found a drill bit that was the same size of the metal rod and drilled through the centre of each of the three light casings.

The casings are now ready for the electronics to be placed inside of them

Step 4: Assembly of the Electronics

I spent the most of my time in the whole project on this step as I constructed the electronics.

First off, I added the battery clip to the 9V battery.

Using the solder and soldering iron, the positive (or red) wire from the battery clip was attached to the very right terminal of the toggle switch.

The negative (or black) wire from the battery then got soldered to each negative terminal of the white LEDs.

A red wire was then soldered to the next terminal along of the toggle switch and the other end of the wire was attached to all of the 330Ohm resistors. Each of the four resistors was then attached to the positive terminal of each LED.

I then mirrored this circuit on the other side of the toggle switch.

To ensure that the LEDs were easily inserted into the cardboard cut-outs I made the LEDs into a square formation.

I also wrapped electrical tape round all the wires to ensure that there would be no short-circuits.

This process was repeated twice for the three light casings

Step 5: Putting Electronics Into Light Casings

Firstly, a drill bit was found that was the same size as the screw from the toggle switch and a hole was drilled into the middle of each light casing to ensure that the toggle switch could stick out the light casing.

A cardboard cut-out of diameter 35mm was then used for the four LEDs to stick through and the circular cut-out was then glued to the inside of the tube where the light comes out of.

The wires and 9V batteries should sit nicely in the light casings, however they may need to be compressed a little which could cause the wires to detach or the circuit to break, so it is essential that this step is done very carefully as I myself had a few circuits breaking.

Step 6: Lens Caps

This is not an essential part of making the light and took a considerable amount of time just to design and cut out 6 acrylic lens caps to 40mm.

However if you have the resources of a laser cutter or know someone that does it is a very useful part of the construction of this light as it improves aesthetics and the distribution of the light coming out of the tubes is better.

I went to a local manufacturers and explained that I was making this light for a school project and that it would be essential to use the software and laser cutter to cut out 6 lens caps to a diameter of 40mm.

After they were designed and cut out, I simply used some glue to stick each lens cap in place completing my lighting design.

Step 7: Evaluation

Overall I feel that this light was successfully made and I learned a lot during the process.

To improve the way the design looks I could have spray painted the PVC, but yet I would have lost the organic look of the PVC tubes.

For quickness I also used small amounts of tape to hold the lights in place on metal rod, this does not look aesthetically appealing at all and looking back I should have maybe put spacers in between each one or something else a bit more professional than tape.

However, I like how you can tilt the head of each light and swivel the lights round the rod. I also feel like this light is very different to other PVC lights and also any other light, I would appreciate any feedback.

Invention Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Invention Challenge 2017