Introduction: Wooden LED Lamp

About: Parsons DT MFA Candidate.

This Instructable will cover the steps I took to make a lamp using LED's. There were no wires used to create this piece. I used 3/4'' ply wood, two LED's, copper tape with conductive adhesive, solder, and a coin battery in this project. This project was made as a mid term for the fall 2018 Computational Craft class.

Step 1: LED Wooden Lamp Sketch

The first and most helpful step in any project for me is making as complete a sketch as possible. This way I knew the dimensions of what I wanted to make as well as the supplies I would need to complete it. Of course there are slight variations that occur from this step to the final piece but they are comparatively minor. This sketching step also allowed me to make changes without having to waste any supplies!

Step 2: Cutting It Down to Size

Because I am relatively new to wood working I did not invest in a precious material to make this project. I used 3/4'' birch plywood. Plywood comes in very large sheets, so the first step in any project using plywood is to use a panel saw to cut the large piece into something much more manageable. When using a panel saw I try to figure out how much total wood I will need and use the panel saw to get a piece roughly that size. There is a bit of math involved, especially accounting for the 1/8'' kerf taken off every time a cut is made. Doing all of this simple math pays off in much less waste.

Step 3: The Table Saw

The table saw is where I cut the piece of wood made with the panel saw into the individual pieces that will eventually become the lamp. I wanted the base of the lamp to be 16.5'' x 9'' and each individual light source to be 3''x3''. Depending on the cuts you made using the panel saw you will be making rip cuts or cross cuts on the table saw, luckily it doesn't matter for our purposes.

Step 4: The Router

Now that we have our three wooden components cut we use the router to create the indentations for the light sources to sit in. I wanted mine to be 1/4'' deep but they can be any depth that is less than the depth of your base. To make sure my indentations were the proper size I measured and drew them onto the base using a clear ruler and pencil. Next I clamped the base of the lamp to a work table as well another piece of 1'' plywood to be used as a fence. The fence gave me a straight line to start using the router on. After setting the depth of the plunge on the router I made the indentations for the two light sources.

Step 5: Chiseling

Because plywood is composed of different pieces of wood pressed together when using a router the cuts aren't as clean as if I had used a solid piece of hardwood. To make the indentations as clean as possible I used chisels to trim away the very small amount of wood I left behind when using the router. A way to avoid using chisels is to make a jig to use while routing. Unfortunately we didn't have the proper bit for the router so I had to use chisels to finish.

Step 6: Drawing Traces and Installing Magnents

Here is where you can draw the traces of the circuit you would like to create. Because I used copper tape I made my traces up of straight lines and right angles to make them as clean as possible. I also marked where the magnets where going to be placed in both the base and the light sources. After marking the placement I used a drill press along with a 5/64'' drill bit to create a small pocket in which to place the niobium magnets. To install such small magnets I used two sets of non-magnetic tweezers.

Step 7: Applying Copper Tape and Battery Holder

I applied the copper tape by following the traces I applied to the lamp base using a pencil and ruler. Make sure to keep track of which trace is positive and which one is negative! It is important to cover the magnets with the copper tape so they establish a strong electrical connection. The battery holder was fixed to the lamp base using a hot glue gun. After fixing the battery holder to the base, and the LED's to the light sources I soldered at each point that there was a break in the copper tape.

Step 8: Inserting the Battery

Provided that everything has been done correctly when the coin battery is inserted the lights should be illuminated!