RGB LED Film Strip Lamp




Introduction: RGB LED Film Strip Lamp

I saw a filmstrip lamp on imgur a while ago, and was pretty keen to recreate it.... but with a twist. I had recently brought some cheap LED 5050 tape from china, so thought it was an ideal time to hack something together. This is definitely just a prototype, and will be creating v2 in the near future with a handful of refinements.
This design required:
- 16mm film strip (brought off trademe.co.nz for ~$20 for the roll of 300ft)
- RGB LED strip (used ~40cm off the roll. Was $16USD for a 5m roll)
- LED IR controller (came with the LED tape)
- 12V power supply (just an old wall wart that was hanging around in a box)
- ~20cm jumper wire (cat5 worked fine)
- SMD component reels (for the top and bottom of lamp)
- Insulation tape
- 6x plastic type coat hangers/ dowels (made this up one night after work when the hardware store was already closed)

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Step 1: Building the Base

I brought a roll of 16mm film second hand online, which came in a pretty sweet tin. I decided to use the tin as the base of the unit, and had planned to use the top of the tin for the cap of the lamp.
To hold the dowels that I used to create the structure of the lamp (where the film will be rolled around) I used 2x SMD component reels with 6x holes drilled in them. This allowed the dowels to be placed in them, and just used a tight fit to hold them together.

Step 2: Dowels

The dowels were actually bits of plastic cut off coathangers due to hacking this together one night. I would reccomend using something a little more sturdy such as thin wooden dowels (~5-10mm).
6 Holes were cut in the reels and the dowels all inserted!

Step 3: LEDs!

Now the slightly technical part... the LEDs.
To do this I simply used 5050 LED RGB strip. This is pretty freely available. It's a lot cheaper to purchase from China if you can deal with the wait time. Otherwise it can be fairly expensive to buy in hobby shops.
I cut two lengths of strip that fit inside the 6 dowels. One end of the top length terminates to the IR reciever that was placed inside the bottom SMD reel. The other end of that led strip terminated via some cat5 cable to the second ring of LEDs on the other reel.
The LED strip is tied onto the dowels with wire to keep it in place. Super glue would also do for a more temporary solution, but I wanted the option to move it if necessary.
The IR receiver was also tied to a dowel so that once wrapped would still be accessible. A hole was then drilled in the bottom cap of the lamp to allow this.

Step 4: Wrap, and Wrap and Wrap

From here, it was a simple case of wrapping the dowels with the film. I think that using a larger size film (lets say 35mm) would produce a much nicer result, however this was what I had on hand.
To make the wrapping process slightly easier I placed double sided tape on the dowels to keep the film in place.
It was just one big wrap around the whole lamp. I considered doing multiple lengths, however this seemed to be the easiest solution for a short time frame.

Step 5: Final Product!!

I was pretty happy with the final result. The lamp works well at night time to read to, and the IR controller that came with it allows it to be put on discrete colors, flashes or chases. The chases are very nice for ambient light.

Future improvements will include:
- Using a wooden base/ dowels system
- Potentially vertical strips of LEDs, and more of them
- Multiple strips of film, with the joining edges hidden at the back of the lamp
- Larger 35mm film
- A taller lamp... possibly ~1m high

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