If you want to keep things original, then this is a great project. With a little work and time you can 1up all your friends with a great new look for your bar lighting.
The inspiration for this came from another instructable. The only problem with this was he built his by welding, which wasn't something I'd be able to do all that easily. I asked a friend who knew how to weld and got an annoyed answer, so instead I set out to do something that almost anyone would be able to do from home. The design is pretty simple. I went with diamond plating and mirrored plexi, but you can substitute in your own options for materials, just keep weight in mind for this project. Everything should be easily purchased for anyone on here. In the end I've been incredibly happy with the way the light came out.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
- 1'x2' sheet of metal of Diamond Plated Aluminum. Needs to be pretty durable, this will hold the weight of the entire project.
- 1'x2' sheet of 1/4" mirrored acrylic. This will be the top sheet of our chandelier. you might be able to get away with 1/8" but when you're cutting the holes for the bottles, you'll want something solid so that you don't crack the acrylic.
- 8x - 4-1/2" long 1/4" thick, bolts. These will hold the top and bottom layer together.
- 16x - 1/4" nuts.
- 8x - spring washers
- 8x - acorn nuts
- 4x - 1/4" crown bolts
- 6x - small 'S' hooks
- ~6' of chain
- Masking tape
- Lighting of your choice.
- 1-3/4" hole saw
- 2-1/2" hole saw
- Drill press (preferably)
- Square for measuring and tracing out the cuts (preferably up to two feet in length).
- Metal file for smoothing out the edges after you make your cuts.
Step 2: Selecting a Beer
Unlike most projects, our first step will be choosing a beer... Or more accurately, a beer bottle. This is important, because while they all have their same basic designs, the widths can vary, and almost everything you do on here will depend on the width of the bottle of the base and the neck. I chose to go with Bud Light Platinum. This should give a cool looking effect when the light passes through it. The base is 2.5" and the neck rests comfortably into a 1-3/4" hole.
Step 3: Prep and Measuring
Once we know our diameters, we can start mapping out our measurements. I'm using twenty bottles; four on the short sides and eight on the long sides. I gave everything about half an inch of space. If you do the math you can get a more exact number for the space between the bottles, but that's my approximation, and depending on the bottles you chose, my numbers may not matter. So tape out your two sheets of metal and start measuring out your cutting points. You'll want to measure for the centers of the cuts, so you can use the same points for both sheets.
You'll also want to mark out your cuts for the eight bolts as well as the window in the bottom sheet. I decided to go a half inch in from the outter diameter of the cuts for the bottles. I wanted to leave myself enough room to add some extra support to my top layer if i felt it was necessary.
Step 4: Making the Cuts
Now that you've traced everything out, it's time to start our cutting. For the circles, I've chose my holesaws based on the bottles I'm using, and going to use a drill press for this. Since it's especially important that everything be properly lined up, I'd recommend this to everyone attempting this project. The drill press will make sure my cuts are even and in line without wandering out of position.
Wear proper eye protection. I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but no one wants a metal sliver in their eye!! With that said, this is messy, so I'd make sure you're working in an area that metal shavings won't be an issue.
I'd recommend placing the aluminum on top of a piece of wood, then clamping them down to the drill press bench to make sure they won't move. When cutting metal, make sure to run your drill press at a higher RPM and if you don't have cutting oils, use water to keep the temps down. It will make a world of difference. Now you're ready to make your 20 cuts to the aluminum. This one is time consuming, but pretty simple. Move at a speed that feels comfortable, as you don't want to crack your bit.
When cutting the acrylic, you want to run your drill press at a lower RPM. This will prevent the acrylic from melting. If it starts gumming up your saw, your cuts will take much longer, and you can risk cracking the acrylic.
I've intentionally left the exact measurements out of this, but I'll include the exact measurements for my layout at the end.
Step 5: Connecting the Pieces
Once all of your cuts are finished, it's time to start bolting everything together. From the bottom layer up, feed your first bolt up. Use a nut to lock down the bottom layer. Now take another nut and screw it about an inch or so down, add the spring washer, and place the acrylic over them both. Now add the acorn nut to the top and tighten it as much as you can and then bring up the nut and spring washer tight against that. Repeat this seven more times.
I chose to attach my chain using a 1/4" crown bolt. The back plate on it gave pretty excellent support for the plexi glass, so I didn't need to worry about it cracking anything. I cut my chain to four equal lengths, and used the "S" hooks to connect it to the light and the ceiling. In the image to the right, you can see the bolts that hold the structure together as well as the crown bolts in place.
Step 6: Add the Lighting
The final step, applying the lighting... For this, I chose something simple. I picked up some very bright LED strip lights from Ikea. They come out to about $15 each, and I bought two of them. These come with three strips that connect to each other, and by chance, with two of the strips plugged in, they by chance fit the length of the light perfectly. I placed mine along the bottom against the bottles, facing up. The mirrored acrylic and glossy side of the aluminum do an excellent job of distributing the light.
Now we're all finished and you have one sweet light to hang above your bar or your pool table. The best part is, you've supplied the bottles, so beyond being built by you, it has some of your personal touch in the bottles you chose. One item I'm still considering, if you want more light, there should be room for three decently sized pod lights in the center of your aluminum sheet. Keep the weight in mind while building this though and add some of your own touches for sure!!
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