I’ve been wanting make some kind of lamp for ages but I could
never reconcile whether to use LEDs or LED strips, or how I would power the lamp, whether by battery or USB.
In the end I decided to buy some bulb holders with a switch in the cable, taking the worry about the electronics out of the occasion so I could concentrate on the design and making.
I decided to create a lamp inspired by Tetris using black acrylic and heat proof light filter sheets to create the colours.
For this make you will need:
3 or 4 sheets of Acrylic
2 M6 x 80 bolts
6 x M6 Nuts
low wattage bulb
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Step 1: The Design
I used box designer to create a box without a lid, so that I would get a design with teeth to easily glue the sides together. In order to be able to fit 2 sides on 1 sheet of 300 x 400mm acrylic I made the dimensions 175 x 175 x 250mm
I exported this as a svg file and opened it in Inkscape / Illustrator.
I then created the Pentomino shapes using this handy chart to find a simple 4 piece design. I used a different design for each side of the lamp, allowing for space between each shape but with the sense that when combined the puzzle would fit together neatly.
Notice that there is a flat edge on each side and near the bottom of one of the sides is a circle which will provide a space for the cable to fit through. (Note: If you're using an cable with a button this space will need to be bigger to fit the button box through, so add that to the design if you need to).
Use a laser cutter to cut all the parts.
Step 2: The Bulb Holder
First of all, I wanted to work out how to fix the bulb holder to the lampshade. The holder comes with a ring that twists around the outside of the bulb holder so I measured that (approx 45mm) and designed a plate that could be attached to the ring. The plate has 2 6mm holes for the bolts to go through.
I cut a second plate and 4 spacers, these follow the shape of the hole in the plate but leave a space for the cable and space for the bolts to go through the holes and be tightened underneath with nuts.
Using the 2 bolts I assembled the bulb holder as follows.
- Glue the 4 spacers together so that there is a clear gap for the cable, then glue this to the underside of one of the plates.
- Feed the bulb holder through the base plate and the single top plate then screw the ring on and use a couple of dots of superglue to fix the top plate to the ring.
- Feed the bolts through the plate and secure them underneath with nuts. Add a nut to the ends of each bolt and screw them approximately 8mm. Feed the nuts through the holes of the base plate and secure underneath with 2 nuts. screw or unscrew the 2nd layer of nuts to tighten the base plate between the 2 sets of nuts.
- Finally, with the cable fed under the plate and through the gap in the spacers, glue the base plate to the bottom of the lamp shade.
Step 3: The Colour Filters
I wanted to assign a colour to each unique shape, but I didn't have quite enough colours. I had a few goes at getting this right in the end, but the most efficient method I found was as follows:
- Place the filter over the shape on the shade and draw markers at the corners giving approximately a 5mm gap all around. Do that for each of the shapes on the shade.
- Use a couple of dots of superglue on the shade, around the edge of the shape and secure the cut filter. Be careful here, the glue removed the colour on the filter so be sure not to get any glue on any visible bits of the filter.
- Once all pieces are in place cut a piece of baking paper - I used this because the transparency of the filters meant the bulb was visible and I wanted to diffuse the light a little. I chose baking paper because it is heat resistant - Use a glue dot at the top and bottom of the lamp shade and place the baking paper across the whole frame. You'll find some bits of superglue will likely further attach the paper.
Step 4: Assemble the Sides
First assemble the sides together to make sure you know where each one will go in relation to the base plate. Start with the back piece which has the extra hole for the cable.
You'll probably need to remove the plug in order to feed the cable through the space that you cut for this purpose.
Once the cable has been fed through glue the side to the base plate.
Glue the remaining 4 sides.
Step 5: The Lid
This bit is optional. When I tested the lamp, I liked it but I didn't like that I could see the insides, the baking paper looked messy so I decided to add a lid.
Here's the cut file - its measurements are correct assuming you've used the other cut files too.
Cut the 2 squares and super glue them together making sure there is a clear 3mm border. Once dry this will fit snug across the top of the lamp.
Step 6: Finally
Add a light bulb and turn on the lamp. ;)