This Instructable shows you how to build large spherical lamps out of Ikea lampan lamps ( $4.99 each ). The lamps are based on platonic solids. With this method I have built large spheres up to 32 lamps.
In the PDF below i included three templates: for the six, twelve and 32 lamp versions. These are all generated from a python script in the Maya software. I calculated that the largest sphere that could be build has about 120 lamps and i would love to build that one; but it will be heavy and bright and probably needs some serious thinking on the structural integrity. Drop me a mail if you are interested in having one.
See the flickr set for more pictures and my log.
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Step 1: Tools
You need a couple of tools. I burn holes in the lamps with a soldering iron and connect them together with 'tie-wraps. You need also tools to strip the wires and connect them together. I use piggy-back connectors (used in cars). They come with a nice tool to squeeze them together, but there are various other ways.
You can use a clothes hanger to mount the lamp on the ceiling.
Step 2: Unpack the Lamps
In this instructable I show how to build a cube with six lamps. Unpack the lamps, and cut of the wires inbetween the switches and the lamps.
Step 3: Burn the Holes
Print out the appropriate page(s) of the template PDF. Mark the holes with a pen and burn holes with a soldering iron. The tire-wraps should go easily through the holes. Burning holes in plastic is not so nice, but easier than drilling. So open a window or do it outside.
Step 4: Connecting the Power Cables
Strip the cables. For connecting the wires I use piggy-backs. Three wires go together in one piggy back ( blue by blue and brown by brown ) then connect the four resulting piggy-backs two by two, and then to a power cable. Use one of the cables you cut off earlier.
Step 5: Connecting the Lamps Together
Connect the lamps together with tie-wraps. Make sure that they can be fastened from the outside ;) First connect them quite loose, once you've connected all the lamps, tighten the tie-wraps one by one and make multiple rounds until the lamps are tightly connected into a strong structure. Don't forget to insert a hanger to mount the lamp on the ceiling.
Step 6: Done
The dodecahedron ( with 12 ) is the nicest one and quite straightforward to build as well but the icosahedron like structure with 32 lamps is quite a challenge....