There's nothing sadder than an instrument that will never play a tune again. This project was the brainchild of my partner when we found an old clarinet at the back of a dusty antique store. She challenged me to make a lamp that turned on when we pressed a certain key. We thought about switches but settled on a capacitive switch circuit to make it that bit more interesting.
Disclaimer: We're Brits, so no apologies for using modern measurements, if metric offends you yanks, then too bad! Also if you wire this wrong and injure yourself, it's definitely a you problem and nothing to do with us.
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Step 1: Parts
Lamp bottle kit
These kits are quite easy to come by, designed to turn an empty bottle into a lamp. The important part is the bung, make sure it's the right diameter to replace the mouthpiece of the clarinet.
Capacitive touch switch
We picked this up on Amazon. A very simple switch that you can wire into any metal object and turn it into a switch. Make sure you have the wiring diagram to go with!
M8 Threaded bar ~200mm long
M8 Nuts x2
M8 Penny Washer x1
Electrical connection block
Step 2: Wiring
Make sure you wire the correct wires to the plug end (consult the diagram of the switch and all will become clear). We extended the wires and soldered the input wire to the back of the lowest key on the clarinet.
The threaded bar makes it easy to secure to a base and the washer pulls firmly down onto the flared end of the clarinet. Remove a small amount (the depth of the washer) from the male end of the middle section of the instrument to ensure a snug and seamless fit when it is reassembled.
Step 3: Finishing
We salvaged a piece of granite from a local kitchen fitter and cut it down to size. You could use wood or anything else heavy enough to support the instrument. Touching the key, or any of the metal connected to it will turn the light on and off. The switch circuit even had a dimming function so touching the key repeatedly turns the brightness up and down.
Brownie points if you can tell us which note that key plays!
Step 4: Future Ideas
That's the clarinet lamp finished, we found these two at an antiques fair a few weeks later and we thought they were a great bit of inspiration. What else can you turn into a touch lamp?
Participated in the
Trash to Treasure