I want to show you how I converted some daily used objects into a stylish array of four LED lamps that can be used anywhere in the house. I made them for the kitchen table, and they look so good that I will make another set for my desk.
These are not capable to replace your standard bulb and only add some light above the place you hang them on. They will add a stylish touch to any room.
I have tried to make lots of photos to avoid reading long boring texts, so if you need more info, just tell me! Check out my photos and instructions and leave your comment. I will be glad to hear what you have in mind!
Step 1: Use Reuse Recycle
- Glass bottles
- Phone charger
- Bottle cork
- Nail polish
Do you always recycle glass bottles?
What about wood material such as cork?
Where do people bin the nail polish that they don't need?
How many energy saving lights do you have at home?
Answering these questions shows where my inspiration came from. I was just thinking about daily life sustainability ... all items which come in shiny packaging and when we don't need them ... we throw them in te bin.
What you may need to buy is:
- LEDs (I used 32 white 5mm LEDs)
- Resistors (fixed and variable)
- Prototyping PCB
You also need some tools like:
- Wood carving kit
- Soldering iron and wire
- Glass cutter
- Safety glasses
Step 2: A Special Brightness Control Feature
I have used a bottle cork and built a switch and a potentiometer inside.
The switch turns all lights on/off and with the potentiometer you control the brightness.
You can see the switch on the side. The lower part below it can be rotated clockwise to make the lights brighter and counterclockwise to make them dimmer.
Step 3: Old Phone Charger
We are using stuff laying around the house, so find your old Nokia and use the charger. I had a Samsung laying around and used that.
Any charger that produces 5V DC can be used. Check the charger rating - it depends on the number of LEDs you use, but I think 500mA is minimum.
My charger is rated at 700mA and I used 4 lamps each having 8 lLEDs, 32 in total.
I have mentioned sustainability above. How my design is more sustainable from the conventional lamps is that it uses little energy resources and still gives the desired effect. Four small size bulbs would produce a lot more light output, but at 15 times the power consumption.
A typical phone charger produces 0.5 to 1.0 A current at 5V DC, which is around 2.5 to 5W which is way less than any conventional tungsten light bulb.
Step 4: Schematic
Look at my diagram that describes the electrical connections.
So I have 8 LEDs in parallel for each lamp in series with 2x10 Ohm resistors which are in parallel.
For the brightness regulator I use a 0-500 Ohm potentiometer and a 8.2 kOhm resistor and using these I form a potential divider. The middle point is where I connect the LED lamps.
If you alter the number of LEDs or the power supply or something else, you will have to measure the current through the LEDs. At maximum brightness, it is good to keep the current through the LEDs less than 15mA.
Step 5: PCB
Prepare a round piece of the prototyping board, two 10 Ohm resistors and 8 LEDs.
Step 6: Solder
Put the LEDs so that they form a circle.
All long (or all short) legs should face to the centre.
Now bend legs to form two loops - positive and negative. Do not mix short and long legs.
Solder and trim.
Step 7: Resistors in Parallel
Place the two 10 Ohm resistors in the centre and solder them in parallel.
Connect one side of the resistors to the positive LED terminal - with the longer legs.
This will become the positive connection and the resistors will restrict the current flow.
Why two resistors in parallel?
10*10 / ( 10 +10 ) = 5
So the total resistance will be 5 Ohms. With using 2 resistors that equal 5 Ohms, the heat dissipation is better and the resistors won't heat so much and they can be smaller size and wattage rating.
Finally solder a wire and make sure all LEDs work. If none works, then check the polarity of your power supply. If only some work, then you may have soldered some LEDs the wrong way around.
Step 8: Cork Control
Choose a switch and a potentiometer that you think will fit inside the cork.
Cut a small portion of the cork that will be the brightness control.
Then split the rest of the cork in two.
Step 9: Carve the Cork
By using tools that carve wood you can make space for the switch and potentiometer inside the cork.
Cork is soft and I used a rotary tool that 'eats' it rather easy and quick.
The potentiometer sits below the switch. I was able to use a two wire cable and also made space for it in the cork.
Step 10: Potentiometer Control
Using a piece of plastic card, I made a shaft between the potentiometer and the cork. All was glued with instant glue.
I would recommend to find a potentiometer with bigger shaft so you won't have to do the trick with the plastic shaft.
Step 11: Glue the Cork Enclosure
Check operation and then use wood glue to attach the two halves.
I used glue called "Moment" and it worked out well.
Step 12: Glass Cutting
Do not try this if you are unsure. Give it to someone with experience - it could be the local glass repair shop or something like this.
I attempted to cut the top of the bottles using the hot/cold water way. There are numerous ways shown online, so just google it.
Wear safety glasses!
What you need to do is scratch the bottle around the outer side where you want to cut it. I used a glass cutter from the local store.
Step 13: Hot & Cold Water
Boil some water in the kettle. Now pour some hot water on the place that you scratched and rotate the bottle.
Stop and repeat with cold water.
Do this until the top of the bottle comes off by itself.
Step 14: Bottle Cuts Results
Here are some of my attempts. I cut 6 bottles in total to get 4 decently looking bottle pieces.
Be careful because the edge is very sharp.
At this point you can sand the edge with some sanding paper, but I did not have one, so I skipped that.
Step 15: Caps & Assembly
Using a screwdriver or a drill, make holes on the caps and feed the wires through them. Close the caps back to the bottles.
Tie a knot on the cables and leave the board with the LEDs hang in the centre of the bottle.
If a knot does not work use cable ties or glue.
Step 16: Operation Check
They look beautiful, hmm?
Now it's up to you to hang them somewhere. Maybe above the desk or next to the TV?
Mine are above the dining table.
They also make good use when watching the TV, because they emit soft light and it can be dimmed easily.
Step 17: Adding Bling Bling
I painted the edge of one bottle with nail polish. There is some glowing effect and the edge becomes very shiny.
Dots also look very nice and make the lamps stand out even more.
Step 18: Moments of Joy
All there is left is to enjoy what we have made!
I've added lots of photos in this step to show all aspects of the lights.
I hope to hear from you what you think, like, dislike or recommend!
I will be more than happy to give a pro membership to the ones that attempt to follow and recreate my instructable! I have a spare pro membership code that will be given to the first who posts his results in pictures below in the comments (I just have one code)!
Happy instructablesing and please vote for me if you like what I have shown here!
Second Prize in the