Make a Handheld Workshop Lamp

Using recycled materials and basic tools.
I've also made these without handles as a heavy duty lampshade, and from smaller cans too, you can adapt this to your own needs.

Step 1: Materials...

A Large tin can. (This is a catering size fruit tin).
A length of 5 amp twin core electrical cable.
A Lamp holder.
A standard 3 pin mains plug. (3 amp fused).  Dependant on you home country
A 6" piece of wood. (brush handle or in this case old curtain pole).
A couple of woodscrews.

Step 2: Tools...

Drill bits, Step drill/Hole saw if you have either.
Nail or centre punch.
Marker pen.

Step 3: Warning!

1 - If you have never wired a lamp/plug then you should seek advice from
    someone experienced.
2 - When cutting and working tin it is safer to wear gloves and eye protection.

Step 4: Mark the Centre

Take your tin can and find the centre of the bottom, It doesn't have to be exact,
you can just use a ruler to measure or using dividers work from four opposite sides
until you find the point where all lines cross.
Mark it using a centre punch or a nail, this makes it easier to drill.

Step 5: Drill

Drill a hole slightly bigger than the threaded body of the lamp holder - most are 30mm.
You can drill a ring of holes around the inside of a 30mm circle then cut it with
tin snips or strong scissors, or a hole saw or step drill if you have one, then tidy the
edges with a file.

Step 6: Make the Handle

Cut a pice of suitable wood as a handle - it doesn't have to be round - about 150mm is
good, if it is round cut a flat 30 - 40mm long in one end - I used a rotary tool to also
cut a curved groove for the edge of the can to sit in so it is a more secure fit.
Mark the position of the handle on the bottom of the can, and drill two 3mm holes to
take screws, and screw the handle in place.

Step 7: Ventilation

I also drilled some 8mm holes in the bottom around the lamp holder to help dissipate heat if using a tungsten bulb - maybe not needed for an energy saving bulb, but it may help, and it won't do any harm.

Step 8: Finally...

Fit the lamp holder to the can and maybe use a cable tie to hold the cable to the handle.
I won't include how to wire the lamp holder and plug, as if you don't know already then
I'm not qualified to instruct you and you should seek advice from someone who is!



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    9 Discussions

    Dr Qui

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet inspection lamp.

    Those big tins are magic, as soon as you empty them they are instantly full to the top with potential. :)

    I would look for stubby compact florescent, (nice short ones in 3 packs in poundland stores), my own experiment with compact florescent that protruded past the end of the lamp shade ended in the lamp tipping over when I was plunging it in to test it and the bulb broke.

    Keep it up.

    2 replies

    Thanks, I'm lucky that the school dinner lady keeps them for me :)
    In my last shed I had a pendant type light and I kept smashing the bulb, so I made a lightshade from an even bigger tin.
    The bulb I used was the only one to hand and it is a bit big, its actually a S.A.D. daylight bulb but served the purpose at the time.

    If you have seen my clip on lamp for the lathe post , i have now replaced the low voltage halogen with a resurrected LED SAD lamp that the timer circuit had fried on, it does a great jpd but requires just one little tweak to the mechanism to make it perfect. I will be posting a Ible soon of that and a few updates and tweaks i have done to previous posts.

    Similar. I mounted a wide based candle stick on the bottom so I could set it on a surface as well as something to carry it by. Came in handy when a power transformer blew in our town and everything was in the dark.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Good design but you might want to add a note to only use CFL or LED bulbs inside a metal can. Using an incandescent bulb, which dumps most of its energy as heat instead of visible light, will make the can dangerously hot in a very short time.

    Back in the day, we used to employ incandescent bulbs sealed inside cans as improvised heaters for plants, chicken coups etc when caught by unusually cold weather. We managed to actually melt some power cords once or twice.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    not bad....

    crude but effective. I like it! :)

    I like things short, sweet & to the point...which this is in my opinion.

    TY for sharing Sir. :)

    1 reply