The Everlamp - a Lamp That Changes With You




Introduction: The Everlamp - a Lamp That Changes With You

This Instructable focuses on the Everlamp - a highly customizable, eco-friendly lamp designed to last a lifetime .

As the lamp is open source this is a step-by-step guide to teach you how to make your own customizable, upcycled lamp out of materials you can find in your everyday life.

The business model behind this lamp is also open source! I explain how all the parts are either sourced locally, recycled, reusable, or recyclable, and give the steps to starting a similar business in your own community

Like it on Facebook to receive an update when it goes for sale - here is a draft of my Kickstarter page.

Expect to do a few rounds of iterating between each step.
1. How Does it Work?
2. Base Design
 ~ Manufacturing The Base- Done at Techshop and covered in this instructable
3. Selecting Your Bulb And Cord
4. Designing Shades
5. Making The Shades
6. Sourcing Shades Sustianably

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Step 1: How Does It Work?

The concept is very simple as we're stripping a lamp down to it's bare bones: a cord, a shade, and a base.

1. Nail or screw the base into a wall.
2. Place your cord on the base
3. Screw a light bulb in - CFL or LED bulbs only please! Incandescents are too large to fit most shades, energy inefficient, and a fire hazard.
4. Place your shade on.

Step 2: Base Design

Here, you are designing a base to attach your lampshade to the wall, to your power cord.

Simple One-of Versions

One simple way to prototype a base is to use a bike hanger from Home Depot - the issues are that it will drill a hole in your wall and doesn't work with some shades.

Another was is to 3D print the part. You should use PLA to print if possible as it is biodegradeable. Techshop has 3D printers available, or you can go online to Shapeways.

The CAD files used for the part are open-source, and can be accessed below, although it's suggested that you modify them or create new ones to fit your specific needs.

Mass- Produced Version(Injection Molding)
The beauty of manufacturing the part is that you are free to choose recycled plastic

While the part is fairly simple, there are 3 main dimensions you need to focus on. The central hole to hold a cord in place must be slightly larger than sourced cord's diameter. The hanger must be tall enough to balance the part, and have a hole which fits nails and/or screws. Finally, the the front slot must be sized appropriately  to hold lampshades in place.

Keep in mind issues resulting from your choice part thickness - if it is too thin the part will deform under use, but if it is too thick, you will need to deal with warping issues. Also, consider the length and thicknesses of endmills to use on components such as the lampshade slot. I used a 1/8" long 1/16" diameter endmill to cut these parts in the mold, which influenced my choices. I got some advice from these sources, along with the staff at Techshop.

I suggest doing the design in Autodesk Inventor at Techshop, as their convenient mold design and InventorCAMM software will help you manufacture the part easily, although Solidworks will also get the job done.

Step 3: Cord and Bulb Selection

The cord selection is a non-trivial part of the project - it must have an overhang to be held in place on the base. The lamp-holder portion is typically 1.5" in diameter, which will fit the base in the CAD file I supplied.

Simple One-of Version

For starting it is fine to use the Hemma cord set from IKEA, although I was only able to find them packaged with a bulky light bulb which raised the total cost to $8.

It is very important to use cool-burning CFL or LED bulbs (20W or less) as incandescent bulbs pose a fire hazard. Besides that, their bulky shape restricts shade choice and they also waste energy.

Mass-Produced Versions
When considering sustainability, it is important to think carefully about the end-of life impact your product will have. In this case, it is best to either use recycled cords, or extremely durable, attractive, reusable cords. Because the lamp is designed to be modular and highly mobile, consideration should be given to "future life" for the cord. I have decided to source colorful cloth cords in bulk, so that they will be reusable for other purposes, such as pendant lamps.

Step 4: Designing Shades

Now that you have a base and cord, it's time to experiment with different shades. I suggest that you 3D - print  or laser cut a model of your base before injection molding, Techshop is a great place to do this.

I've identified 4 main categories of shades but there are clearly many more, as I limited myself to easily accessible,  upcycled or recycled materials.

1. Cup
2. Cans (beverage or food)
3. Cloth over cup or can
4. Prints on recyclable cardstock

Go Wild!

Step 5: Making the Shades

I specifically selected shades which are quick and easy to make.

The print shades are fairly simple - I bend a piece of cardstock and taped an image I liked in front of it.

For the Philz coffee cup, you simply hollow out the bottom and use scissors to cut an extra slot if you want more light.

For cans, I used a can opener to cut out the top and bottom - make sure you're using a good can opener or else the edges will get sharp!

I pre-purchased pieces of cloth which were already 3-6" wide, so I merely had to drape them over a can or cup to get the proper feel.

Step 6: Sourcing Shades Sustainably

So now we have a lamp whose base is made of recyclable plastic and whose cord is highly reusable. The whole lamp is mobile, meaning you don't have to throw it away when you move. The final step is to sustainably source lampshades.

Some ideas from my personal experience-

Get art from friends, family, or google for the print shades, or paste scrap paper together.
One of my favorite lamps actually uses a painting by my grandma- I took a picture of it, printed the picture out, and am using it on a piece of cardstock.

Source cans from friends and parties.
Get cloth from thrift stores or Etsy scrap sales.

I'll do a full case study on my sourcing up cups from Philz, a local coffee shop. The process is quick, and easy and it gives me an excuse to hang out at my favorite coffee shop more often.

I spoke to the staff about leaving a bin to collect clean cups from customers next to the recycling bin.
Between 100-200 cups are left each week, and I select the cleanest ones to take home and wash carefully.
I then cut out the bottom of each cup, and then a lampshade is ready!
The entire process is fairly quick, and it's always a pleasure to deal with the folks at Philz.

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