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




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.)


  • 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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    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?


    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!


    Reply 1 year ago