ILamp: How to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Lamp




Introduction: ILamp: How to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Lamp

It doesn't take long to notice the smartphone craze that is taking over the country!  

As you walk down the street, it seems like almost everybody is tapping away at that glowing screen, eyes glued to it more than their surroundings.  I'm not going to lie, I am also attached to my iPhone, and Apple products in general, they look sleek and simple.  Plus, there are apps for just about everything.

My brother, Adobi, loves Apple products as well, and for some reason we are interested in almost completely identical things.  So we both saw the 123 Design Challenge, and it only took one look at each other to know, the competition was on.  As twins, naturally almost everything becomes a competition, and this has grown friendly now that we are a bit older, but be rest assured, our 7 year old selves didn't think it was friendly competition at all ;) 

So in order to help us both create something particularly amazing, we both set to work on creating our own ideas to see who could design the best product and the loser has to buy the other one a Costco sized pumpkin pie.  And really, let's be honest, competition with siblings drives a lot of people to do some pretty funny things.  But really, there won't be any hard feelings, because designing these models for both of us is a passion fulfilled.

In school I have had too many late nights studying, (and working on this project to try to out design my brother, which I think I managed :)).  But I don't like studying with the yellow hue of incandescent light, and find most of my best work comes from the bluish light inherent with most LED's, such as the light on iPhones! 

If you don't think that the iPhone can function as a desk lamp, try this:  turn off all the lights, make your room as dark as possible, and turn on the iPhone light.  Crazy right? There is a lot of power packed in that little phone.

So, I am a fan of the simplistic, modern, sleek design of apple products.  So this lamp that I designed is simply an extension of the iPhone.  I designed this to work with the iPhone 5/5s (the best smart phone on the market :)), but with minor tweaks to the dimensions, it can work with any smart phone.  To modify the instructable for your smartphone simply look up the dimensions of your phone in cm, and look for the two asterisks (*) throughout the instructable, they will tell precisely how to modify the lamp.

I'm warning you now, although this design looks sleek, it was much more difficult to render in 123D than I thought.  But through a lot of experimentation, I learned some tricks of the trade and reasonably modeled my original vision.  Even if you don't want to build this lamp, I encourage you to keep reading to learn some techniques for using 123D so you can design something cool on your own.  This also could have been done quicker the more advanced Autodesk software, but I wanted to make this as accessible to everyone as I could, and not only those who could fork out the dough to buy the advanced software.  

Lastly, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments.  I will answer them as promptly as possible.

So please enjoy this tutorial. 

To start off, here are some helpful tips for working with 123D:
1. Constantly save! This is CRUCIAL. You don't want to spend hours working on something to have it disappear.  This program has the tendency to sporadically crash (only happened to me once but better to be safe than sorry).
2. Constantly re-check the dimensions of the piece as you progress through the tutorial (with the measure tool), I found that sometimes the program would put dimensions into mm when I really wanted cm.  And who would have thought one letter could make such a big difference!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Step 1

To start create a box with the following dimensions (make sure you change the units from mm to cm):

20cm x 6.3cm x 45cm

I would check the dimensions after this step to make sure everything is in cm.  I forgot to check and ended up doing this whole rendering in mm, so it is worth checking now to save yourself the pain of having to rerender it.

Step 2:

Now we are going to angle the back forward and the top down.  

1.  Select the back edge (highlighted in blue in image 1)
2.  Select use the tweak tool
3.  Bring the back forward (2.5cm) and the top down (5.0cm)**

**You'll have to do some experimenting to know what is up and what is down but forward is with respect to the x-direction and down is is with respect to the z-direction

Step 3: Step 3

Now round the top-back corner and bottom-back.

1. Select top-back edge (see image 1)
2. Select fillet tool
3. Round with radius: 2.5cm
4. Repeat for bottom-back edge 

Step 4:

Now we are going to shell the center.  

1. Select the front face
2. Select the shell tool
3. Set the thickness to 1.2cm*

*You can vary the thickness to fit different smartphones (add 0.4cm to the thickness of your smartphone and this is the new thickness you need for step 3)

Step 5:

This is the step when the lamp really starts looking like a lamp.  We are going to get rid of the sides of the lamp.  

1. Select side (image 1)
2. Select Push/Pull tool
3. Push the side in and enter -1.20cm
4. Repeat with other side

Step 6:

Now we are going to check the dimensions.  As you will see in the first image the lamp's width changed as a result of us removing the sides (should be 5.9cm not 3.9cm).  Therefore, we are going to increase the width of the lamp to so that it is wide enough for the phone.  

1. Select one of the sides
2. Select Pull/Push tool
3. Pull the side out 2.0cm or just enter 2.0cm (as seen in the 2nd and 3rd image) *

Now the lamp is wide enough to hold the iPhone.  

*This is another step where one would have to modify the dimensions to fit a different smart phone.  To do this simply add .4cm to the width of the smartphone and this should be the width of the lamp. 

Step 7:

We are now going to make the lamp more closely resemble an Apple product by changing the base of the lamp to resemble that of the iMac.  To do this we first have to remove the the base currently on the lamp.  

1. Select the front of the base (see image one)
2. Select the Push/Pull tool
3. Push it backwards as far back as you can before it becomes angled or -17.0cm.

Step 8:

Now we have to craft a new base.  

1. To start create a new block with the following dimensions: 1.4cm x 5.9cm x 1.2cm.  

Now we are going to flare out the base a bit.  

2. Select the front left edge (highlighted in blue in 2nd image), and angle it out by 1.0cm, repeat for the other side. 

Now we are going to merge this newly created base with the rest of the lamp using the combine tool.  

3. Align the base with the rest of the lamp, take the time to align it perfectly (this will test your patience :))
4. Click on the combine tool
5. Select the lamp
6. Select the base
7. Click the far right "join" button (see last image).  

Now you should once again have a solid piece.

Step 9:

Now we are going to finalize the base to make it resemble the a iMac even more.  First we are going to taper down the front:

1. Select the front edge (see image 1)
2. Push it down -1.9cm or simply enter -1.9cm

 We are also going to round the edges:

1. Select the front left corner
2. Select fillet tool
3. Round with a radius of 1.0cm
4. Repeat for other corner

Now, this lamp really looks like a iMac!

Step 10:

Once again we are going to check the dimensions of the front.  As you will notice as a result of angling the top the front became a bit wide (1.217cm as opposed to 1.20cm).  We can fix this by angling it ever so slightly to 1.20cm.

1. Select the bottom edge of the top front (see image 1)
2. Select tweak tool
3. Push up .017cm or simply enter .017cm

Step 11:

Now we are going to shell out the top, creating the gap for the iPhone.  

1. Select the front of the top of the lamp (where the phone should stick in)
2. Select shell tool
3. Shell to a thickness of .2cm

Step 12: Finished Product

VOILA, now you have a simple custom made smartphone lamp.  Change the color/ material to personalize to your phone.  Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments, and I will respond promptly.  

Autodesk 123D Design Challenge

Runner Up in the
Autodesk 123D Design Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge
    • Finish It Already Speed Challenge

      Finish It Already Speed Challenge

    3 Discussions

    You guys HAVE TO MAKE THIS! I was searching for exactly this type of thing and it doesn't seem to exist. It's an awesome idea.

    I have a small desk with limited space and usually don't need a lamp so I don't want to take up space on the desk for a lamp. But I've been using my iPhone at night when I need to see paperwork on my desk and thought something like this might exist. Some thoughts in improvement though...maybe make it foldable so it can be easily put away in a drawer or can just be barely noticeable on a desk.

    Jump on and get some funding and build it!


    I guess I'll be the first to comment on your instructable. I'm surprised that there isn't already something like this on the market. I was thinking you could even put a hole in the bottom of the lamp so that you could feed a charging cord up to the phone to charge it as you use the lamp. Nice instructables, it’s very simple and easy to follow and good graphics. Best of luck in the contest.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I was actually thinking of doing that (putting a hole in the back of the) so that it would look exactly like the iMac. But ultimately I thought it would look a little funny so decided against it.