Introduction: Steampunk Cheese Grater Lights

About: By day I am an electronic engineer for a certification and approvals company, by night I am an avid technology hobbyist and DIY'er. I enjoy learning how things work, and sharing my learning experiences with ot…

Hello everyone, welcome to another instructable. I am working on some more interesting stuff in the background but I recently made these strange lights for my sister which I thought would make a short (easy-ish) instructable. The usual preable/disclaimer before you start.....

MAINS ELECTRICITY CAN BE DANGEROUS! Don't attempt to wire in anything electrical unless you are a competently trained electrician or engineer skilled in the art. I don't want to be held responsible if you get a leathal shock from playing with mains electricity.

Step 1: Cheese Graters

My sister recently approached me and said "can you put light bulbs into these cheese graters?" The obvious answer was "yes" promptly followed up with "but why?". Anyway my sister is trying to redecorate a caravan and she likes the steampunk style, of course it isn't enough to just put a light bulb into a cheese grater so I decided I'd make it a bit more decorative by adding a bit of paint etc. Here's what I used:

  • Dremel with diamond edge cutting disc
  • Gold, rusty brown, metallic spray paint and primer
  • 3mm ridgid PVC (foamboard)
  • 6mm threaded bar and hex nuts
  • 6mm hex socket cap screws
  • right angle aluminium profile bracket (for 20x20 profile)
  • Tim Holtz gears from hobbycraft
  • Kurust rust remover and paint brush
  • x2 rusty cheese graters
  • 2 part epoxy resin
  • Super glue

Step 2: Remove Rust and Decorate

Get your rusty cheese grater and carefully cut down the middle with the dremel and open it up like in the picture. Then apply Kurust rust remover to the entire thing, making sure to work it into any pitted areas. Leave it an hour to make sure the rust is completely neautralised then wipe off the residual Kurust with a dry cloth.

Next prime the grater with paint primer, then leave to dry overnight, apply additional coats if necessary. Then proceed to paint, I used gold metallic paint for the grater. It is useful to suspend the item you are spraying with string from the ceiling so you can paint everywhere

Step 3: Make the Surround

Make a surround from some foamboard. Cut two identical lengths which match the width and height of the sides of the cheese grater using a craft knife. Offer them up to the sides of the grater to make sure the size is correct and that each piece is perfectly square. Make sure you measure the seperation you need between the PVC to accomodate your cheese grater, and cut the threaded bar with the dremel to be at least 10-20mm longer on each end to accomodate hex nuts.

Make mirrored holes in each piece to allow the insertion of both threaded bars, secure each piece with hex nuts on each side so it makes a ridgid frame like in the pictures. Attach the angle brackets to the side of the threaded bar on the outside (this is to allow the lamp to be wall mounted or simply stand up on your desk). The separation between the two sides should be wide enough to accomodate your cheese grater. Offer up the cheese grater and adjust the width of the bar to suit your cheese grater width.

Prime, and paint your assembly in the colour of your choosing.

Step 4: Attach the Surround and Decorate.

Attach the surround by making a hole in each on to insert a socket cap screw. Use the holes in the cheese grater to attach the screw through the PVC surround and cheese grater. Use a hex nut to secure the two pieces together, you may need to use a washer to ensure a secure fit.

I sprayed the Tim Holtz gears to match the colour of the cheese grater and glued them to the side using super glue. Make sure you use nitrile gloves or similar to prevent your figures from being glued together!!

Step 5: Attach the Light Fitting and Wire It In

Once you have finished decorating, place the light fitting inside the enclosure. Luckily I had some edison screw fittings taken from a previous project that fitted snugly onto the threaded bar, so I simply used some two part epoxy resin to firmly adhere these to the bar.

When wiring the device it is important that all metallic parts are earthed. So take some 1.5mm.sq green/yellow earth cable, strip some back and solder it to the inside of the cheese grater. You will need to sand/remove some paint to get a bare metal surface to ensure good earth continuity, and a very hot soldering iron to make sure that the heat takes the solder to the surface of the cheese grater. Alternatively you can use a ring crimp and screw it onto one of the metal fixings. Finish off the exposed cables with some ferrules and a terminal block.

Step 6: Finish!

Mount it somewhere nice and ask a competent person to install the lamp and then enjoy.

Disclaimer. In some contries it is illegal to make these lamps unless you hold a particular qualification so before making these for your sister I suggest you check your local laws to make sure you are in conformance.

Trash to Treasure

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure