Mad Professor Steampunk Lamp With Danger Meter!!!




About: There are three sorts of people in the world, those who can count ,and those that can't.

After seeing this I decided to see if i could copy it for my own Mad Professor look.

However over on this side of the Atlantic we don't seem to have easy access to the great range of diy products you do (I think).

Anyway, I've been searching the shelves of several stores and couldn't really find a bulb I thought would look good....


Step 1: The Materials

This was sitting on the clearance shelves of the local B&Q.

You can just about see the filaments inside the tube. The more the better!

Here is the list of the rest of the materials;

A cheap mains voltage 1 gang dimmer switch,
A brass bayonet mount lamp holder,
A small round knob,
An anlogue 0-250volt meter (mains here in the UK),
An assortment of mdf offcuts, woodglue and screws,
Black car spray paint and clear gloss spray laquer.

The tools i used with differing ammounts of success!

Wide forstner bits,
Small screwdriver for the electrical bits,
Cheap multimeter to kinda test the thing before risking my life to mains power.....

Step 2: Building the Box

No picture for this step and if you are struggling to work out how to do it go and buy one!

I basically had some offcuts of MDF (medium density fibreboard) and cut, screwed and glued them together.

Ok, slightly more detailed, the mdf was 18mm thick for the sides, back, and top with 9mm on the sloping bit where the meter goes and front.

Cutting with just a normal handsaw it was fairly slow but the overlap on the edges was easy enough to sand down so all the edges were level before painting.

The sides are measured and cut first then the front and back cut, glued and screwed inbetween them.

The sloping front piece with the 'danger Will Robinson' meter on it had to be cut with a chamfer (angle) to sit neatly in the remaining space.

The three holes for the bulb holder, meter and dimmer switch were drilled after the assembly.

Due to the thickness of the MDF I partially drilled oversize holes through the dimmer switch and bulb holder holes after drilling the right size holes for them to allow them to sit closer to the outside (see drawing).

Step 3: Painting.

Okay, get yourself a great big can of car spray paint and a mask (I like breathing!)

With MDF you have to seal the surface so I just mixed a bit of PVA with water and coated the whole surface a couple of times then let it dry.

The paint should be shaken REALLY well first to mix it then lightly sprayed over covering the surface in even coats,

If you make a mistake and you put too much on in one go it will run which happened to me.

Its easy to fix though. Just get some fine wet and dry sand paper (I used 400 grit) and sand it lightly after it has dried until the dribbles have gone, a bit like we do with grandma!

I must have put about 15 coats on altogether. I just carried on until the can was empty.

As always kids, don't forget to do it in a well ventilated area away from animals, wear a mask and try to remember your big red toolbox right behind it as black spray paint travels!

After that I put a couple of coats of clear laquer on to protect it from, well, kids mostly!

Step 4: Wiring, or How to Gain That Electric Personality.

And now to put the fun bits together.

First I drilled a hole just big enough to allow the cable through.

Then, following my diagram, the dimmer (removed from the plastic faceplate) is connected to the live wire with the outlet from the dimmer going straight to the lampholder.

Then the neutral is connected, also via a connector block, to the bulb.

The ground is then attached to the bulb holder as its metal and, well, you never know and through experience 250v through the finger ain't good!!

Finally the meter is wired in parallel with the bulbholder.

Make sure all screws are firmly tightened and a 3 amp fuse in the plug and give it a whirl.....

And now, you're ready to TAKE OVER THE WORLD......



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    26 Discussions


    4 years ago

    This is mine unfinished, it now has brass handles on the sides, brass corner protectors and an old looking brown braided flex n plug

    2015 9:55 pm.jpg

    7 years ago on Introduction

    In the U.S. we have this home improvement store.
    I saw this old look bulb recently.
    It's for an old look in antique light fixtures.|0||p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_Feit%2BElectric_4294801198%2B4294964433_4294937087_%3FNs%3Dp_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr%7C0%7C%7Cp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=Feit%20Electric


    9 years ago on Step 4

    Wow - this is very pretty - nice job. I'm a little confused about the wiring, though. If this were powered by a battery, would the meter be in parallel with the bulb socket? Sorry if it's a dumb question.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for showing me this. Very nice work - much better circuit diagram than others I've come across - and suitable for Australia since we have 240v too. I like the idea of having a fuse in the plug - I've never come across it over here before though, so I'll add one to the box itself. Cheers again! It looks very slick. World domination here I come!

    6 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction


    That said though, I think true world domination material wouldn't be so worried about safety.

    Afterall the sharks with frickin' lasers didn't =D.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    also, true world domination material would, you know, do something other than light up.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    PS - what kind of bulb did you use? *she asks in her polite megalomaniac voice*


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    A BIG one! Just kept my eyes open in the clearance bin at the big diy store.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    Doe the lamp socket really have four leads?  If it's a common two-lead lamp, the diagram could be simplified.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made something similar not too long back, only I used a worn out Kirby ClassicIII nozzle, and didn't have space of a panel meter, but I have the same bulb... :D

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Nice one. Now you can steampunk your carpets! I could sit watching the glowing bulb for ages but my retinas give up and want to sit in a dark room for a couple of hours if i abuse them too much.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    love the inclusion of the pinky and the brain image, great i'ble, loving this whole steam punk thing, my laptop is about to die so i might give that a go lol


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    yeah. it's called (get ready for it) pinky and the brain. "what are we going to do tonight, brain?" "same thing we do every night. try to take over the world."