Ever since I found my first vintage flash in a junk store I wanted to make a lamp out of one.
They are actually very beautiful objects and also now very useless. No-one would even dream of using one of these as a flash, plus the fact that finding the bulbs would be a mission in itself!
So instead of hiding it away in a draw, wanted to put it out on display for everyone to enjoy.
The lamp itself it quite easy to build, you only really need a couple of main pieces and your away. So if you would like to know how to build your own vintage flash lamp read on...
Step 1: Similar But Different
When purchasing more of the vintage flashes I din't realise that there were different sizes! I purchased the same flash (a waltz flash) and each time ended up with smaller ones that the original I used. I decided to use these in a double lamp.
The modification is pretty much the same as the original one. The main difference with the double lamp is I wanted to hide all of the wires which I managed to do. The switch is located in the base of the lamp and I also used smaller LED globes so they didn't hang down. In the images bellow I used a larger globe
Step 2: Things to Gather
1. Vintage flash. I used a waltz flash - eBay
2. Microphone stand - eBay (this one is exactly the same as the one I used)
3. Bi pin light bulb (12v 20W). Type - G4. Ebay
4. Bi pin socket - eBay
5. 12v 1.5a power adapter - eBay (just copy and paste the description into eBay to find the right one for your region)
6. Toggle switch - eBay
7. Spiralled guitar amp cord - eBay
8. Various screws and bolts
9. Camera mount - see step 6 for info on this.
1. Angle grinder
2. Soldering Iron
Step 3: Mod the Microphone Stand
First thing you need to do is mod the mike stand. All you are really doing is shrinking the stand by cutting it down. The stand I got was from the tip so it was a little beat-up and dirty. I cleaned it up as best I could and it actullay turned out very nice.
1. Pull apart the mike stand and clean if not new.
2. Cut down the legs. I made mine about 250mm long each.
3. Cut down both the main sections of the mike stand. It's up to you how high you want your stand to be. I wanted mine to be able to sit on a desk and not look out of place.
NOTE: If you want to use a very simple way of attaching the flash to the stand, just swap the vertical pole and the horizontal ones around. On top of the vertical one there is a male screw which will screw into the flash. Check out step 6 to see what I mean.
4. Keep all of the cut sections - you will need a couple of bits later.
Step 4: Mod the Flash
The amount of modding you will need to do will depend on the actual flash that you buy. Most of the bulbs that these flashes took were universal which is kind of lucky as they only need slight modification to enable to fit the light socket into it.
1. Use a dremmel to make the inside of the flash large enough to fit the bi pin light socket into it.
2. Next drill a hole into the bottom of the flash section. This is where the wires from the socket will go through.
3. Lastly drill a hole where the battery tester is (if your flash has one). The hole needs to be large enough to fit a toggle switch into.
That's the first mods that you will need to do. There is one more later on
Step 5: Adding the Light Socket and Switch
1. Now you have a large enough hole you can add the light socket. First thread the wires through the hole that you made.
2. Next use some strong glue to hold the socket into place. Don't use hot glue as this will just melt when the ceramic socket gets hot.
3. Next add the switch. I recently found a vintage remote control plane remote which had some cool switches attached. I used one of these and attached to the body of the flash.
Step 6: Wiring Everything Up - Part 1
Once you have added the light socket, its time to start wiring everything up. I decided to use a spiralled wire as it is very reminiscent on the actual wire that was used to attach the flash to the camera. It also has the added benefit of being very stretchy which enables you to raise and lower the lamp easily.
1. First you need to thread the spiralled guitar/amp wire through the mike stand. The best way to do this is to attach a long piece of thin wire to one end of the amp spiralled wire.
2. Drill a hole near the top of the main vertical section of the mike stand - this is where the spiralled wire will come out. Make sure you file the edges smooth on all holes you drill. Thread the wire through the bottom of the mike stand and bring it out through the hole. Take your time and make sure you don't cut into the rubber of the cord.
3. Next drill 2 holes in the horizontal arm of the mike stand The one closest to the vertical section of the mike needs to be about 250mm from where the vertical and horizontal are joined. The other should be about 100mm from the end Slowly thread through the wire.
Step 7: Attaching the Flash to the Stand
Next you need to work out away to attach the flash to the stand. Initially I solved this by using a male screw from the mike stand and mdding the flash so it would fit (see below). After making a couple of these I discovered a much simpler way to attach the flash to the stand. I have included each of them so you have a couple of ideas on how best to do it. The first way is what I did on my initial build - its not really the easiest way but it does give a clean finish.
1. Remove the male screw plug from the end of the tube that you would have cut off to reduce the stand. I put the end into a vice and wiggled back and forth until I managed to remove the plug.
2. Once removed, use some super glue and jam into the horizontal end of the stand. It should be a tight fit but the glue will ensure it wont move at all.
3. Drill a large hole into the end of the flash where it used to join to the camera. If you need to enlarge this even more then use a dremmel and make the hole large enough to fit onto the screw section that you just added to the stand.
4. Your stand should also come with a female ring which I used to secure the flash to the stand. - see images below.
Step 8: Attaching the Flash to the Stand - Alternative Way
Second way - Using a female end from a camera mount
This is another way that you can attach the flash to the stand. I have made a couple of these and this is my preferred way.
2. Bolt x 2
3. Female end from a camera mount. check out eBay for one of these. here are a couple of samples that i found which would work fine - here and here and here
1. First find a screw that will actually screw into the female end of the camera mount. I also had to cut down my screw.
2. Next get a bolt that will jam into the end of the mike stand. The bolt I used was a 10mm one.
3. Screw it all together as shown below. The whole thing should be tight and the camera mount shouldn't move at all. You might need to shorted your screw if it is loose.
TIP - make sure that the bolt you use is tapered as it will make it easier to add to the mike pole - see below.
4. Use a mullet and tap the end of the pipe from the mike stand until the bolt is fully inside.
5. Next drill a hole into the flash big enough to fit the male end of the camera mount in. Screw on a bolt to the end to fix into place.
Step 9: Wiring Everything Up - Part 2
This next section is the last of the wiring.
1. Cut the spiralled wire so there is about 100mm length left.
2. Attach a terminal to the end of the wire.
3. Add the wire to the switch.
3. Cut to length the wire from the socket and attach to the other end of the terminal.
4, Hot glue down the terminal to the flash.
5. My flash had a sliding door for the battery which I was able to use to hide most of the wiring.
6. Lastly attach the 12v plug to the end of the spiralled wire. I just soldered the ends together and added heat shrink. Test by adding the globe to the socket.
Step 10: Finished
So that's it! You should now a have a pretty good looking lamp with an even cooler lamp shade/vintage flash attached.
If you have any questions - please let me know and happy making.