Floppy Disk Lampshade





Introduction: Floppy Disk Lampshade

About: I have struggled to come up with a label that accurately describes what I do creatively. Some days I’m a musician, some days an artist. I like to play guitars and synthesisers. I like taking photos, but gene...

My first instructable so please be kind!!

Trying to find something new to do with floppy disks, everyone has seen the pen pots and courier bags. I was determined to do something different, so here's my take on a lampshade... floppy style!

You will need 17 floppy disks
a drill and a 3 or 4mm drill bit
44 small cable ties plus some spares
a craft knife
some bag ties

1. drill extra holes in all of your floppies, flick the lock switch up to create a hole... you should have four holes in each floppy, one in each corner.

2. next remove the internal disc from the casing. a sharp knife should be sufficient to remove the metal sliding cover and split the casing without damaging anything. remove the disc and reassemble the casing, glue should not be required. if you have a handy pendant fitting you will notice that the hole that is left is almost big enough for the pendant to screw into.  You will need to cut that hole through to the other side of the disk using the craft knife. once complete try screwing the pendant fitting into it, most likely it will not quite fit so using the craft knife start shaving bits off the hole until it is large enough  to screw the pendant fitting into it.

3. layout the floppies in the pattern shown and start to tie them together loosely using the cable ties, starting with the central band of eight. once the central band is loosely connected start to tighten each cable tie, ensuring the joins between each disc are even and firm.  once satisfied all the connections are good and solid AND tight you can snip off all the excess plastic from the ties. you may want to use pliers to assist in the tightening.

4. start attaching the upper and lower floppies, again leaving the ties loose until you've fixed them all then gradually tightening them all until you're satisfied. Leave the top section and the floppy with the pendant hole until last as things start to get fiddly by this point. once all floppies are connected and the ties tightened, clip off all the remaining excess from the ties, attach to a pendant fitting fit a bulb... et voila!

Note: I have no idea if this is a safe way to connect a lampshade to a pendant fitting, I have conducted a fire test and floppy disks ignite easily when exposed to a flame and burn freely. As such it would be best to use low temperature energy saving bulbs (LED based bulbs are the best option but CEFl bulbs should also be fine) and modern electrical equipment to reduce the build up of heat. I have also tested this with a relatively old pendant fitting, there was no appreciable build up of heat over a periods of several hours.

I welcome comments from anyone who knows whether there are regulations governing this sort of thing. This is just me trying stuff out, and I welcome any input.

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30 Discussions

Now I know what to do with the 400+ floppy disks I trash picked last year! Thanks!

Try Walmart. I'm not joking, I've seen brand new floppy disks for sale at several walmarts, for a couple bucks a twenty pack.

Ebay is your friend!!

just picked up 40 for £5 and decided not to get 300 for 99p... i know, I know, what was I thinking?

Wow, cool project!
Just wanted to let you know that your project was linked to in a news article!

1 reply

Try it with CD jewel cases. A little light sanding will frost them to diffuse the light. I did this once and it looked pretty good.

3 replies

cool idea.

How did you connect them? I would be nervous of drilling as I did here, because they are quite brittle

I did it different. I superglued six of them in a vertical hexagon on top of a disc I made of acrylic. I drilled holes in three of them near the top to hang it with.

if you don't have many floppies but want to try this instructable:

try breaking the floppies in half, just flex them a bit to see how they're joined together.

if you want to keep the metal sliding cover, cut them in half along their bottom edge with a pair of tin snips or straight cutters.

you can also remove the magnetic/plastic disc from inside as well, which will make your lamp lighter, and you don't have to worry about the plastic releasing any noxious material. and *cough* less combustible material too.

for anyone who's a light touch at soldering, what about leaving the plastic disc inside the floppies, pulling or gluing the covers back, and attaching LEDs behind them? they're slightly transparent...

Technohippy do you have many more floppies? would you consider making anything larger or 'minecraft'-cube themed?

Thanks for taking the time to share your design with us.

2 replies

I have about 100 floppies remaining. I want to make at least one of these each in blue, black and grey to sell on ebay... then I'm thinking about a simple phone dock.

I like the modularity of a disc with holes in each corner, however that does limit the constructable shapes. the phone stand will have holes in other places too... watch this space!

All good thoughts, thanks for commenting.

There are so many permutations to how floppies can be used.

My primary concern here was getting something rigid that wasn't... er ... floppy

obviously triangles are the strongest shapes and cubes are only rigid if all 6 sides are included.

I have thought about larger, more complex designs primarily based on star wars... a tie fighter with this shape at its centre would be my starting point.

Not very big on minecraft, my step son loves it though so I might be able to rope him in on some design work... I'll run it by him.

The design reminded me of this Rubik's cube toy:


1 reply

Ah cool a rubik snake... I had one of those (maybe where the idea really came from!!)

That picture of that floppy disc in flames will scare just about anybody off from this project - it is a legitimate concern though. It would be terrible to hear about someone's house getting torched because of the floppy disc lamp shade. I agree that low-wattage LED bulbs would be the way to go.

Do you need UL certification to sell this as a product?

Would like to see the shade in translucent, neon discs.