Trash to Tri-light Treasure (with a Little TinkerCad)

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Intro: Trash to Tri-light Treasure (with a Little TinkerCad)

Here is my Instructable for my "Tri-Light" or "Tri-Pod Light" built using old 100 year old parts, that were just gathering dust in the family storage barn, along with some 21st century 3D printed parts in bronze. A true "Trash to Treasure". The last image is my "inspiration" for this project.

Step 1: TinkerCad 3D Printed Bronze Bracket

In order to attach Vintage vehicle spotlight to a vintage Surveyors Tri-Pod I needed a bit of modern magic. Using TinkerCad's online design tool and using basic shapes I designed a bracket that would attach to the top of the Tri-Pod and allow for the existing Spotlight attachment point to be re-used.

TinkerCad is based on basic shapes like boxes, cylinders and also text along with the ability to make an shape a "hole". The design was pretty basic but I wanted to add some flair by adding my last name to it and to also create cap to cover the bolt holding it to the Tri-Pod. Because I wanted to print this in Bronze (using the Shapeways.com printing service) I had to keep it as small as possible to keep the costs down. I had a $100 Gift certificate from a Christmas gift so I wanted to keep the cost in that range.

TinkerCad has built in measurements so I could make the light attachment area the exact 1/2 Inch that was required. The exploded image view shows how the basic shapes come together to product the object. Because this is such a one of a kind piece it have not included the STL files or the exact instructions as they is only a very slim possibility someone else would require a part exactly this size and shape.

Once the object is complete is TinkerCad I exported it as an STL document to be imported into ShapeWays which is an amazing service to print objects in material from plastic to ceramic & from bronze to gold. I chose Matte Bronze to match closely with the color of the metal on the Tri-Pod and was very happy with the result, especially since I took a chance and did not print a plastic mockup first (which is always best practice to do).

Step 2: Tri-Pod

The Tri-Pod I found in the barn was wrapped in old canvas but was still pretty dirty. It seems to be a surveyors Tri-Pod where the level mechanism would screw onto the top, which was of course missing which is why I chose to use it for the lamp. I did not want to refinish it and make it "new" so I just used Murphys Oil Soap to clean up the wood and remove some of the grime.

Step 3: The Light

There was a lot of debate on what this light was that we found in the Barn but the general consensus is that it is a 8" bucket spotlight (hence the back handle and single attachment). One thing that was agreed on was that it was old. The original cloth covered wire was quite degraded and there was no trace of paint on it at all, also the cork water seal was hard and brittle. It looks like at some time in history that the original lens had been broken as the glass that was on the lamp bucket was just regular flat glass (that was not well cut into a circle).

I disassembled the light, removing the front which held the glass and the bucket which held the reflector, lastly removing the original bulb & socket. Interestingly once opened up all the interior pieces were in great shape and did not look that old at all..

Step 4: Add an Edison

I was lucky enough that I did not need to modify the reflector to retrofit it to use a modern household socket and bulb. The reflector was just the size to fit a standard chandelier socket for which I found a smallish Edison bulb to give the light a vintage glow. I put a dab a silicone in the socket holder and used the safety cardboard cover so there would be no exposed wires.

I then reversed the process to put the light back together, except for one thing.. the light bulb stuck out a bit further and the glass cover would not fit back into the bucket. I had no issue with this as it would be an indoor only light and it actually makes it easier to change the bulb. Actually if it would have been the original lens it probably would have fit because the lens would most likely have been concave.

Step 5: Switch It Up

To go with the vintage theme I was lucky enough to find an old bakelite inline switch in my dads junk drawer (probably from the 30's).

From a previous project I had a spool of red cloth covered wire and a brand new vintage style plug so I used these to complete the lamp.

Step 6: Putting It All Together

In order to attach everything together I raided my junk drawer for the parts needed. I used a gas pipe flange to cover the top of the Tri-Pod (the cost of printing a bigger base was more than I wanted to spend). To hold this and the bracket together a bolt went through the enter into a miscellaneous cast iron part I found that was the perfect size for the wingnut. I also used a wingnut to hold on the lamp to the top of the bracket. to clean up the top the cover I made for the bracket hole was placed to cover the bolt head. The cord was looped through the holes in the wood Tri-Pod leg to keep it controlled.

Step 7: Final Product

I was very happy the way the lamp turned out and in many ways I like the look of it more than my "inspiration lamp". The fact that I could use parts (trash) that were just sitting in a family barn and resurrect them to be useful makes me proud. It now is truly a family Treasure!

A special nod to:

Tinkercad.com (3D design tool)
Shapeways.com (3D printing in Metal)
Sundialwire.com (Cloth wrapped wire, vintage style plugs)

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