Introduction: Vintage Pipe Lamp With Touch Control Dimmer

About: Just a normal guy trying to make his mark on the world.

Welcome to another Instructable I hope you enjoy it and give it a try.

I wanted to buy myself a bedside lamp and hunted high and low but because I'm so incredibly picky I couldn't find one I liked, so I made one myself. I liked that one so much I made a second one a little different and this is how it was done.

Step 1: Not ANOTHER Pipe Lamp...........

There have been lots of Pipe Lamps on here over the last couple of years, mine is a little different in the fact they have a "Touch Sensitive" dimmer and power control and one the first one I put a USB charging port at 3A so I can charge my mobile or tablet.

On to the build.......


E27 lamp holder

E27 Vintage Edison Bulb

3 core lighting flex (for UK build, if elsewhere check your cable requirements)

Touch Control Dimmer Switch

Decorative 3 core lighting flex

Base Material

Plastic cover material for base

Pipe of your choosing

Rubber grommit

Step 2: The Base of the Lamp.

As the base for this lamp I decided to use American Black Walnut. It's a beautiful timber and my personal favorite, as you might see from the photos, the other lamp pictured is on a Mahogany base which gives a lovely warm golden brown look.

The walnut is 2" thick and sanded to 360 grit using a DA sander.

There was a knot in the timber which had split open during the drying phase so after machining the back out I filled the split knot with JB Weld and let it go off for 2 days so as to make sure it is hard. This will all be sanded down again after drilling out the holes for the switch. You could be really fancy if you wanted and fill holes/knots with resin with UV powder or the like to give it real kick.

The underside of the base has been machined out to leave 2.5mm at the top. This will allow the switch to protrude just enough and also allow the electronics to sit inside nicely. To do this I used a CNC router but you could equally use a normal hand router and two jigs. When using a hand router, don't try and remove all the material in one go, removed only 10mm depth per pass so as not to get out of control and ruin the piece. Slow and steady wins the race.

Step 3: Deciding on the "Features".

The beauty of these type of lamps is you are free to make them as you wish. This one I have decided to use micro-bore copper (10mm) as the means to hang an E27 holder.

There are differing quality lamps holders so make sure you buy a good quality one.

After deciding where you are going to fit the pipe of whatever you decide to use, you will need to temporarily attach it so you know how and where to run the cable to and from. In this case I will be running the cable all the way down the copper pipe, in to the base where it will be wired to the switch. I will then run the aesthetic cable out the back ready for the mains plug.

After trying lots of ways to get the curves I wanted I ended up using an Instructable, this one specifically:

I used an antique fire extinguisher for the form for the decorative part of the lamp and a pipe bender for the functional part of the lamp.

I tried a couple of different designs with the copper but none of them suited.

Step 4: Wiring the Switch.

Ok, so now you should have the pipework on and the base machined and hopefully the wiring run in to the base ready for this stage.



I got myself a touch controlled dimmer switch, unfortunately these are quite expensive and the one I used here and on the lamp I made before are £15-20 each. It's a shame I am going to take it apart!

I drilled out the rivets holding the face plate to the switch itself. When the two are separate, you will be left with a smaller metal plate and the wiring box with switch itself. You cold technically remove the smaller silver plate too but as that has the earthing point on it's best to leave it on.

Step 5: Fitting the Switch and Wiring

First thing I did was to pull the cables through the base and the main copper tube. The orange cable is the decorative mains cable which will go straight to the switch. The 3 separate cables have been removed from some 3 core flex to allow it to go through the 10mm copper without snagging in the bend.

This it the point at which you will need to wire the E27 socket, each one is different so make sure you wire the Neutral to the terminal connected to the threaded part of the socket. The live is the sprung terminal you can see when you look inside, when you look at the underside of an E27 bulb there is one contact on the end, that is the live point. I would advise you buy an E27 socket with an earth also.

Once the E27 socket is wired up, you can pull the excess cable through the copper to bring the socket in to the compression fitting nice and snug. In the large end of the compression fitting I inserted a rubber grommet to keep the socket from moving around.

After pulling the excess cable through you can fit the copper pipe in to the base. Then I pulled the mains cable in to the base which is still in its flex covered state.

I use 3M double sided foam tape to fix the switch in place as there is zero pressure needed for this switch and then proceeded to wire it up.

On the switch there are 3 terminals which should be wired as below:

LIVE-The mains live wire. In the UK this is Brown in colour


LOAD-The live wire from the E27 socket, should also be brown in colour if you have wired it correctly.

Making sure to use the earth wires (UK SPECIFIC) to earth the switch and the socket. You should then be left with the two Neutral wires, I soldered them together and used heat shrink on them to keep it all safe and secure.

Step 6: Testing Your New Lamp

So now is a good time to test your lamp to make sure it is all working. I fitted a plug to the orange mains cable and plugged it in.


It's time to close the bottom up. I cut a nice bit on engraving plastic and put a little thing on it before sealing the the bottom up with double sided foam tape. I sometimes use small screws but I don't like seeing screws so didn't this time.

With it all closed up and working it's time to sit back a coffee and show everyone what you've done.

I'm still not quite finished as I need a bring the 10mm pipe down to the base at the front but I will do that later.