Walnut and Aluminum Lamp

About: I am a fourth year Architecture student who is interested in art, design and engineering. I am always looking for new projects and new ways to build things, and always enjoy Instructables because it is a gr...

Hello Instructables!

This is going to be one of my entries to the Improve Your Room Youth Design Challenge.  This project was inspired by domenic3’s LED strip lamp.  I decided to see if I could create something similar that suited my needs a little better.

The changes I made to Domenic’s design are as follows:

1. I decided that I wanted to have switches on the base of the lamp because I hate having to pull three feet of cord out from behind my desk to find a cord mounted switch.

2. I figured that I would want two power settings, so that the lamp can function as a reading lamp, a work lamp, or be left on for ambiance.

3. I used aluminum flat bar instead of aluminum extrusion because that is what I had on hand and I can tend to control the bending better.

4. I wanted to leave the power supply exposed because I simply love the look of it!  I really enjoy being able to see all of the circuitry through the slots.

Some parts of making the lamp were a bit tricky.  Getting the curves to look right together took a long time.  Making the walnut base fit seamlessly to the power supply was tedious.  All of the wiring was very difficult to fit into such a small space.

Because of the materials I had on hand, I decided to go for an Industrial sort of look.  I already had the power supply, the aluminum, the nuts and bolts, the toggle switches, the wire, and the LED strips on hand.  I got the wood from the construction shop in my school.  So the only things purchased for this project were the lamp cord and the rubber grommet, totalling about $4.

The thing that really made this lamp turn out well was all the finishing touches.  I sanded the walnut down with a very fine grit sandpaper, and then oiled it to make the grain pop.  I gave the aluminum bars a matte finish with a vibrating palm sander.  The bolts that hold the arms to the base were polished on a belt sander to remove all of the engraved numbers.  Then, finally, the bottom of the lamp was enclosed with a piece of sheet steel, with three rubber feet attached to keep the lamp from wobbling.

The switch on the large arm turns on the power supply along with the corresponding LEDs.  The switch on the small arm turns on the attached LEDs and only works if the other switch is on as well.  The power supply comes on instantly and dies out slowly, producing a very interesting effect.

I really enjoyed designing and building this project, and I hope that you like it too!  Thanks for reading!



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    9 Discussions


    3 years ago

    That's really cool! I'm planning to build one desk lamp myself and I have been searching for ideas for a few days, and your instructable just nailed it! Can you explaining a little more about the circuitry? I have never used LED strips before. What do you use to drive the LEDs?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hello racurio,

    I'd glad you liked my instructable! Thanks!

    The metal box on the back end of the lamp is the power supply unit. Depending on the LED's circuit or unit that you use, the required voltage to power the unit may vary. It just so happened that we had this power supply on hand, and it was within the operating range for the LED strip.

    These LED strips can be purchased from many places, and the benefit of using them is that the people who sell them almost always sell power supplies that will work with them. The power supply simply plugs into your household current, and then steps down and moderates the power to supply and protect your LED circuit from surges.

    Unfortunately, my instructable doesn't have any great pictures of the wiring, essentially the household current goes into the power supply, the dropped current comes out of the power supply and has the live wire controlled by the switch, and from the switch it goes to the LED Strip.

    Please let me know if I can help out anymore, and good luck with the project!

    Dustin Rogers

    5 years ago

    Very nice project. You could also use carriage bolts instead of the hex head bolts. You'd have to shape the hole in the aluminum bar to fit the square shoulder on bolt, but it'd give a smoother look, especially if you filed the heads of the carriage bolt smooth. I've also seen some rubber caps at Ace Hardware that screw onto that style of toggle switches which make them look a little cleaner.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I hate it when I come across instructables as neat and cool looking as this one, I get the urge to build 'em and I end up broke. Guess what I'm trying to say is, very nice creation you got there!