Phone and Torch Lamp

Introduction: Phone and Torch Lamp

About: Lazy engineer.

Please note - in England we don't set fire to our torches! A torch is a battery powered light. They don't flash, so we don't call them flashlights.

I have a small shed with no power. On shorter days, that can be pain. I can grab a torch on my way out, but searching for something with a fine beam can be frustrating.

The light from a torch, or even the light on the back of a phone, is enough to illuminate the interior of a small shed. If you diffuse it a little, you can get a pretty good view of everything.

We're going to make a lamp without a light. A lampshade I suppose. A lampshade which can by lit up from an external source.

Step 1: Lamps Need a Heavy Base

Wood works well. I've got a pile of oak worktop samples laying around, so I'm going to use one of those.

It's not quite as thick as I'd like, so I'm cutting it into three pieces and placing them on their side. That should allow me to make a stand I can place a fairly girthy torch into.

Step 2: Form a Cavity for Your Light

We need three sides - no light escaping from the sides or back, and a gap in the front for our torch.

After playing around with the layout a little, I've gone with an arrangement which loses as little material as possible, while being square, wide enough for my phone, and deep enough for at least half my phone (so it doesn't drop out).

There's a small piece to remove, then we've got our basic shape.

Step 3: The Base Needs a Base

I've chosen something fairly light for this, because I'm worried about clumsily smashing the top of my phone into anything thicker.

Is it wrong to mix hardboard with solid oak? Yes. It probably is.

Step 4: Glue and Nail and Clamp It All

I'm just using glue for the three sides. I don't really want to have to punch, fill, and stain a load of nails. Once the base is on, it'll hold together.

The base (that's the base-base) is glued and nailed. If you're like me, you'll have a magnet covered in tacks.

Clamp it all, and leave it alone for a bit. If you don't own a decent selection of clamps, I suggest getting some, or sometimes you'll need to let other people into your garage.

Step 5: Plane or Sand or Plane and Sand

I got it pretty close with the plane, but use whatever you've got to hand.

That's the base done, so let's get indoors...

Step 6: Make the Inside Reflective

I'm using white felt. It's shoddy quality, so it'll need to be a couple of layers deep.

Bright white things normally reflect more light than mirrors. White things scatter light, but that's fine for this.

Step 7: The Shade Needs to Be Light (and Light)

You can see the tools I'm using. The Sega consoles in the background aren't necessary. The thighs near the camera are though - it means I'm close enough.

The white sheet is foam-board. The goal is a pyramid, with these requirements -

  • As tall as I can reasonably make it.
  • Solid back - I'll be using the lamp near a window, so only need light to come out three sides. That's why I've chosen white foam-board - it's a good reflector.
  • Hollow sides and front - I need uprights between each side and the front, so I'll make those part of the sides.
  • Complete around the bottom - The back is a full triangle, the sides are L shapes, and the front will be a horizontal piece at the bottom.

A pyramid is a low poly cone, so let's start our net with an arc. I don't have a large enough compass, so I made one from a pen and some wool. I don't have a large enough ruler either! The far end of the foam-board will do.

Rough cut your shade with some scissors.

Step 8: Tidy Up, and Fold.

You'll have to do all the neat stuff with a sharp knife.

If you work on the outside of your shade, you'll be able to fold it backwards once you're done. Hold it all together with masking tape.

Step 9: Diffuse the Light

White muslin is good material for a shade. It needs to be the same shape as the foam-board, with a bit spare in both directions for overlap.

I'm using tape to hold it in place, but you might go for glue if it needs to be somewhere damp. You'll want something waterproof and solvent free.

Step 10: Stick It All Together

At this point, you have three items - shade, base, and torch. Glue the first two together, then go for a walk while it sets.

You're done! Turn your torch on, and place it inside your lamp.

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