Turn Your Phone Into a Lamp With a 3D Printed Bulb

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Introduction: Turn Your Phone Into a Lamp With a 3D Printed Bulb

About: I'm based in London - in my day job I make digital things and at night I tinker with art, maps and electronics.

We all carry around a mini torch with us these days in the form of our phones. But the light is very bright and focussed which isn't always what you need. So I wanted to try and turn it into a lamp.

The idea was a bulb shape which you could put over the bright light on the back of your phone to make it a bit softer. The kind of thing you might keep in the car or take camping, or if you're staying somewhere without a bedside lamp. With this one little thing your phone effectively becomes a small rechargeable lamp.

(I also thought it might work as a flash diffuser for the phone's camera but that doesn't normally work because the lens and the flash are too close together. Maybe I'll redesign that for another project.)

Supplies

  • Access to a 3D printer (I don't have my own so used 3Dhubs.com)
  • Adhesive Velcro (optional)
  • A phone with a light on it.

Step 1: The Design for 3D Printing

The design concept was pretty simple - a hollow sphere with an open flat base.

Initially I added a conical feature in the top to spread the light more evenly, but in the end decided that was over-complicated and got rid of it.

I've done some 3D printing before and figured that a white PLA material would be transparent enough to work. So that's what I used: White PLA, 20% infill and the walls are 5 mm thick.

You could probably experiment with the size of the sphere and the wall thickness, but this design seems pretty good.

I've attached the STL I used for this project so feel free to use it.

Step 2: Adding Fixings

I thought the bulb could just sit on top of the phone, and that pretty much works, but to make it more secure I added adhesive Velco to the bottom of it.

You might not want to stick Velco on your phone, but I tried this on an old phone and the soft side is barely noticeable. You could also use some of that micro Velco stuff which might be better.

Step 3: The Finished Product and Usage

That's it! A very simple thing really - without the Velcro, just one part.

I've found it works best as a stationary lamp, and for that you don't need to fix it to the phone. But it also works to soften the light if you want to carry the phone as a torch.

With the 'bulb' fixed to the back of the phone you can also flip it around to get a less bright lamp. In that position it also works rather well as a phone stand which was an unexpected bonus!

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    4 Comments

    0
    Seba2020
    Seba2020

    Question 11 months ago

    How do you get fluent brightness change? Is it available only in some smartphones? Or some app which generates PWM signal to control it?

    0
    robhallifax
    robhallifax

    Reply 11 months ago

    Sorry - I didn't mean to mislead you there. That's just a gif I made to show the difference between off to on and the fade was part of the tool I used to make the gif! A fade feature would actually be a really good idea on a phone though!

    0
    robhallifax
    robhallifax

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks!