Laser Engraved Halloween Lamp (simple and Cheap!)

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I made this project for a Halloween themed electronic workshop and I had few criteria to keep in mind while designing this lamp.

1. Budget! 3€ per project
2. Easy to assemble, without soldering
3. Light color can be chosen on the spot
4. Can be made in 1,5 hour with 10-13 kids

I explored around the internet and couldn't find exact project that would suit with my criteria so I gathered different ideas, added my own touch and came up with this design.

Of course it doesn't have to be a Halloween-lamp, you can use any picture you like!

Supplies:

  • ON-OFF switch (⌀ 16 mm)
  • 3 wires with peeled ends
  • A23 or A27 battery
  • battery holder
  • Led-strip, RGB for colorful or regular for white light (10 cm)
  • engraved plexiglass (0,3 x 11 x 13 cm)
  • wooden pieces (for specifics see below)
  • insulation tape
  • hot glue gun
  • bradawl (sharp tool to make holes)
  • scissors
  • saw
  • drill
  • engraver or laser engraver
  • sandpaper

These supplies are best for making project with group of kids, if you want to make this lamp for yourself I recommend few modifications:

  • instead of hot glue use PVA glue
  • for power source use 12V AC/DC adapter (battery won't last long)
  • you may want to solder wires so you don't have any problems with connections

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Step 1: Gather Supplies

For wooden parts I explored around construction shop and found some suitable pieces. For 15 lamps I used: 2 inner corner strips (22x25x2400 mm) for glass holder, 1 molding strip (10x70x2400 mm) for base and 1 shelf board (15x140x600 mm) for legs. Putting two inner corner strips together leaves space between them for led-strip to fit in.

I'm not sure if I'm using right names for the pieces but I hope the pictures will help. This was quite cheap solution, just what I needed! And of course any similar pieces can be used.

Engraved plexiglass. As I could use laser engraver it was very easy to make engraved pictures (a lot of them). Also you can use hand engraver and maybe teach kids to engrave their pictures themselves. For pictures I used free pictures from Pixabay.com. If you have used laser engraver before you surely can make this design and engravings by yourself. For hand engraving instructions explore around the instructables, there's plenty of them :)

I added .rld and .svg file with the design but it really is very simple to put together by yourself.

Step 2: Preparing Wooden Pieces

Saw the wooden pieces into right measurements and drill holes for switch and wires. For rough edges use sandpaper.

Measurements I used:

  • base 16 cm
  • legs (2 pcs) 2 x 14 cm
  • glass holders (2 pcs) 12 cm

All measurements are approximate and you don't have to follow them exactly. It depends what exact materials and in what size you use. I used these measurements just to get 15 sets.

Step 3: Preparing Led-strip

As I wanted to let kids choose their lamps light color by themselves I came up with this easy solution with little holes. Also, I didn't want to do any soldering with kids.

Keep in mind that led-strips can only be cut along the marked line!

Firstly, make holes in the copper ovals on the one end of the led-strip. Be careful not to make them bigger than copper ovals! I used RGB led-strip for red, green and blue light but one color led-strip can also be used, then you only have to make two holes.

RGB led-strip has 4 copper ovals: 12v+, G, R, B. For connecting the wires you always (!) have to put positive (white) wire into 12v+ hole and twist it carefully tight. In the end, this wire is connected to the + side of the battery. Negative wire (yellow) has to be connected according to the color of light you want. In the pictures I used R(ed) color. This wire ends up in the - side of the battery.

To keep wires from touching each other I wrapped them in isolation tape. Also heat shrink tube can be used.

Step 4: Putting Together

    Start by gluing legs to the bottom of the base. As my bases one side was a bit round, I left that side to the front and didn't glue the leg right on the edge. I thought it would just look nicer.

    Next, glue ONE glass holder on top of the base. My inner corner strips sides were a bit different so I glued it by the wider side. For it to be glued straight you can make some markings on the base. Especially if you're making it with kids.

    Step 5: Placing Led-strip

    Now the base is ready for placing the led-strip. To make sure the glass is going to end up more or less in the middle of the led-strip you can use the help of the glass to mark and place the strip. If your led-strip doesn't have adhesive backside, just use glue. Then poke wires in the smaller hole and place switch.

    Step 6: Connecting Wires

    Connect negative (yellow) wire straight to the battery holders - side and positive (white) wire to one leg of the switch. Next, take third wire and connect it between second leg of the switch and battery holder + side.

    This is good time for testing! Place the battery and see if the light goes on. If not, poke around the connections and see witch one causes problems and try to make it tighter. Also make sure all the wires are connected to the right sides of battery holder. If you're using soldering iron you shouldn't have any connection problems at all.

    If everything is working as it should glue the battery holder on the bottom.

    Step 7: Finishing

    Last step is to glue on the second glass holder piece. For that try to set glass to stand on the led-strip and then glue on the holder piece. That way the gap for the glass is most accurate and easy to achieve. With measuring you can easily make a few millimeter mistake, but with 3 mm gap this leads to that the glass may not fit at all or will be too loose.

    Step 8: It's Ready!

    Lastly, remove the plastic cover from the plexiglass, place it in the gap, switch it on and enjoy!

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