Luxo Jr. Revisited




Introduction: Luxo Jr. Revisited

About: "Almost Toast"
グリーティンズ Instructabrarians!

A year and a half ago, I published my plans on how to convert a desk lamp into a fully functioning Luxo Jr. Model. To date it is one of my most popular PIXAR builds at the Maker Faire and has proudly been featured in several Instructables guides.

This year, I have decided to rebuild him in a more exact replica manner.  Upon return to Instructables, and discovering we now had 3D printers at our disposal, I was given permission to "print anything I want, as long as its imaginative and will have an Instructable included".  Well, it's now been over two months now working at my dream job and I can guarantee I have certainly made good usage of that authorization :)

By modifying and converting a file I found on Google's 3D warehouse, and thanks to the good folks at our Tech Shop Annex, I was able to print a 1:1 scale replica version of PIXAR's own iconic lamp.  In this instructable I will be showing how I assembled it.

Luxo Jr. rigging, courtesy of Autodesk.

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Step 1: Design / Inspiration

When I started work up at Instructables again and was introduced by Jake Rogers how to use the company 3D printer, I was completely fascinated.  I have been a huge fan of 3D printers since I was 12 and since then I have filled a notebook of things I have wanted to print since then.  So when I was asked to do a test print, the model I decided on was a miniature 2'' version of the PIXAR Lamp.  It came out amazing and even though I was completely enamored by it, I was always tempted to do a full scale version.  So, after a month of hard work back in the company, I eventually got my wish fulfilled.

Now, this lamp is the exact lamp as seen from the animation studio's logo and short film. Jon Westwoodwho is an amazing 3D designer, created the file on google sketchup and I modified it slightly in order to make it compatible with our 3D printers.  Also, interesting fact, my modified design is based off the lamp from the original 1986 short film, not the logo, which has some physical inconsistencies.

So, in short, this is the most accurate LUXO Jr. replica ever made.  And considering I made the only one PRIOR to that, that's saying something.

Step 2: How to Convert Sketchup to .STL (OPTIONAL)

OK, so this step isn't really necessary but just to be thorough, I'm going to include it anyway.

First, you'll need the professional version of Google Sketchup.  The reason for this is that the pro version is the only way you can export your file as an .OBJ, which will be crucial to it's conversion into a 3D printable .STL file.  You can download a several month long trial version from Google's website here, free:  

After, either open up your created 3D sketchup model or download it from Google 3D warehouse.  Then, go to File -> Export and select .OBJ 

Then, using a 3D file repair and mesh mixing software (I used NetFabb Studio) take your sketchup file and go to Part-> Export -> .STL to convert it into an .STL file.  Make sure that the project is water tight otherwise it will not print.

And that's it!  Take your converted .STL file, throw it into your 3D printer's computer and then let the machine do the rest.  

Step 3: Parts List & Attachment

Print Parts ListQty
Head 1
Base 1
Neck Joint 2
Neck Rod #1 1
Neck Rod #2 1
Hip Joint 2
Leg 1
H-Rod 1
Waist Joint 2

If you ever read my first instructable on my Luxo Jr. Lamp, this part listing and construction should be fairly intuitive.   However, I will give the basic rundown on how to construct the pieces. 

The Body consists of ten total pieces.  Two V-Shaped neck joints, two neck rods, two hip joints, a rectangular leg, an H-Shaped rod with a medial bar, and two waist joints.  These attack to Head and the Base of the lamp.

To connect the pieces together, I used 440 and 632 screws for holding them together, and to hold the H-Rod together to the waist joint, I used two small paperclips.  I dremeled out the holes on the pieces in order to make them fit together.P

Step 4: Head and Base

The Head and Base are the more complicated pieces, mainly because I was interested in having them both rotational pivot, just like real lamps.  

Basically what I did for these two, is use a hacksaw and cut off a section from the rod-like section of both pieces, and then lightly but firmly screw them back in to their respective pieces.  This provided enough of a gap in order to screw back in place, while providing the necessary gap in order to swivel.

Also, as a finishing touch, I took some small compression springs I got at OSH (two #104U 2-1/2'' lngth; 5/16'' diameter, and two #84U 1-3/4'' Lngth, 1/4'' Diameter) and attached them to both Neck Rods as well as the H-Rod to Waist Joint, respectively. 

Step 5: Vacuum Formed Light Bulb

Oh man, this part.  The lightbulb easily took the longest time out of the entire build, mainly because it was the only thing I couldn't 3-D print easily.  3D printing doesn't do clear very well (what with the support material build up), nor does it do hollow parts very well, so I had to look for an alternative method.  I also knew I didn't want to use a real lightbulb, for safety issues.

Instead, I decided to vacuum form one.  This process took around a month to figure out (and I will definitely be posting an indepth instructable about that too), but for the time being basically all you need is a sheet of polystyrene, a board with a hole and a vacuum cleaner.  Stick the piece of plastic in the oven, heat up the plastic, and then when it is malleable, place it over the object on your board with the hole.  Turn on vacuum cleaner and it becomes a nice rigid outline.  The process is more complicated than that, but overall the physics are pretty simple. 

For those curious, there was really only one way to get it OUT of the plastic.  Take a hammer...

Step 6: LED Lighting

Lighting the bulb was extremely simple.  For anyone who's made an LED throwie with more than one LED, this will be a total no brainer.  Take a CR2032 battery case, solder on some long pieces of wire, and then solder several LEDS to each end.  I went with four for simplicity.

This process is great because you don't even need to really glue anything inside.  Using tape, attach the LED lighting to the inside of the head, and then friction lightbulb back into the head.  That way you don't have to build some kind of protruding switch.

Additionally, I decided to lightly frost the bulb using some high grade fine sand paper.  I think it gives it a nice diffused effect.  

Step 7: Finished!

And that's it, my new LUXO Jr. Replica model.  I am so completely in love with this thing, it is probably one of the best things I've made this summer and I am so completely grateful to my company (as well as Steve, our Tech Shop Annex manager) for allowing me to make this.  While I probably won't take it to Maker Faires like my original lamp, I can definitely picture this lamp behind a glass case with a lacquered base probably in the near future.  In the meantime, I will just continue playing with it myself.


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    10 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 7

    Wow that is awesome!!!! I was looking for methods to 3D print my sketchup model, and then I accidentally found this!!! Amazing~


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Did you perchance post the STL files for this project anywhere? If not, would you be willing to do so? I'd love to print one myself!



    6 years ago

    You should make more of these & sell them! I'd buy one!


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Certainly! The head is 5 inches in. diameter, everything else follows. Since you're not 3D printing it, it might be better if you use this instructable instead.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Any chance you could share measures for the parts? i'm looking into building one of my own, but since I don't have acces to a 3D printer i'll be making it from metal. Plus, it'll be a working one, so i'll add a socket for a normal buld and i'll just have to deal with the added wire :)


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Hi, this is a great instructable!
    I didn't understand how you fixed the base joints to the base though.
    Did you glue the V-shapes together with a third piece so you could screw is to the base?



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Penolopy! This is probably one of my favorite PIXAR builds ever.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You should knit a plush version!