As your friendly neighborhood trombone player, I had one or two spare instruments lying around the house (who doesn't?). As an engineer as well, my immediate thought was "what new toy can I make from this".
Thus, the trombone lamp was born.
This is a relatively easy process that shouldn't take more than an hour or even less, depending on what materials you have at hand.
Step 1: Setup and Materials
Here's what you'll need to complete this project:
- 1 Trombone (mouthpiece not necessary)
- 1 Extension Cord
- (Total distance from entry to exit on the trombone is about 8 feet)
- 1 Power Cord
- (switch optional)
- 2 1" Diameter Screw-In Wall Hooks
- Electrical Tape
- 2 Electrical Heat-Shrink Tubing
- (Varies depending on cord used, I used 1/2" - 1/4" instead of what's shown in photo)
- 4 Electrical Butt Splices
- (Again, to whatever size fits cords used; I used the 16-14 gauge splices)
- 1 Lighter for Heat-Shrink Tubing
- 1 Pliers or Vicegrips for Butt Splices
- 1 Lightbulb socket
- 1 60W Flood-style Lightbulb
- (60W is the best size for the trombone bell - I recommend using an LED equivalent to cut down on power usage)
Step 2: Electrical Prep and Splicing
First, we need to combine the power cord and extension cord before running it through the instrument:
- Separate and strip the covering off of both wires, leaving about 1/4" of exposed copper wire on each side.
- Slide the heat-shrink tubing completely over one of the wires
- Push the exposed copper wires into either sides of the butt splices, and crimp the entire splice with your pliers. This joins the wires together.
- Note that the polarization doesn't matter: as long as each extension cord wire is joined with its own power cord wire, you're good!
- Now for the shrink wrap: Slide it over both connections and apply flame until it's shrunk as far as it will go. Don't be afraid - the plastic won't burn or anything, so be sure to heat it up nice and hot.
- Finally, add some electrical tape around the ends of the wrap to confirm that the joint isn't going anywhere and take some stress off of the butt splices.
Step 3: Wire Running
Now it's time to wire up the horn. Take it apart as shown, and start to push the wire through. I found the best way to work the slide was to first pull the wire through by lengthening the slide, then pushing the wire through by shortening the slide while holding the wire at the mouthpiece-hole.
Another trick: Be sure to twist the exposed ends of the wire together so that they'll feed more easily through the horn.
Once the wire's through the slide, I recommend pulling the tuning slide off of the second half of the instrument. This makes navigating this second curve a lot easier.
Finally, feed the end through and out of the bell. You don't need a lot of wire to work with; just enough for more splicing.
Step 4: More Splicing!
Alright! Almost done. Now we have to follow the steps from Step 2 again to splice the extension cord with the socket wires. Remember: strip, crimp, and shrink!
On the socket, I taped a bit of leftover plastic tubing to reduce any bending stress on the wire. This definitely isn't necessary, though, and is a quality-of-life option.
Once you're done, it's time to move on to hanging.
Step 5: Hanging
Now it's time to hang the horn on the wall. I chose the best parts to hang from as on the hand grip and then one for stability on the end of the slide. I recommend first putting the horn on the wall to see how you want it oriented and then making marks with a pencil for later hooks.
The hooks I used screwed right into the drywall - the horn isn't that heavy and should fare fine. Just make sure your hooks are big enough (Mine are 1" hook diameter), and that there's at least a little bit of tilt to the horn. A perfectly vertical horn would probably have too much stress on the lower hook and would pull it out of the wall.
Once you've mounted the horn on the wall, screw in the lightbulb and pull the wire gently back through the horn until the lightbulb is resting in the bell. Flip the switch, and let there be light!
Thanks for reading, and always remember...
Never build alone - always be sure to have a Building Buddy.
Thanks for reading!