DNA Lamp Adds Some Science To Your Room

Lava lamps had their time, but that time is over. Perhaps a spinning, glowing, DNA helix style lamp will take their place?

Inspired by the ever mesmerizing DNA helix, a member of the eLab hackerspace decided to try making it into a lamp. It’s almost entirely 3D printed, with the helix made out of glow in the dark filament.  A series of UV LEDs fade in and out as a small geared motor from a microwave turntable spin the helix round and around.

[João Duarte] designed the assembly using TinkerCAD and has shared all the files on the Instructable in case you want to make one yourself. It is a lot of printing though, so you might want to recruit your own hackerspace’s 3D printer to do some of the work. He ended up using his own Prusa i3 as well as the LulzBot TAZ4 from the space to speed things up.

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USB Powered CD Lamp

[Artificial Intelligence] has made a desk lamp out of parts he had kicking around in his parts bin. Most recognizable are the 4 CDs that make up the base and the shade. To start this project, [Artificial Intelligence] sketched out a circular pattern on one of the CDs and marked 7 locations where the LEDs will be. Holes were drilled at those marked locations, the LEDs inserted and hot glued into place. Each LED has its own current limiting resistor soldered in a series configuration.

[Artificial Intelligence] mentions the resistor value was determined by a nice LED resistor calculator he found online, ledcalc.com. Then each LED/resistor combo was wired together in a parallel configuration and covered up by another CD to clean up the look and protect the wiring.

The base, like the top, is also made from 2 CDs, but this time there are 5 AA batteries underneath the CDs. These batteries don’t power the lamp, they are only used as a counterweight to prevent the lamp from tipping over. A USB cord runs to the lamp base, goes through an on/off switch and then up a pair of large-gauge solid core wire before connecting to the LED’s in the top of the lamp. The thick solid core wire acts as the only support for the lamp shade and LEDs. Since it is still just wire, the lamp can be bent to shine light in the most convenient position, as any good desk lamp would be capable of.

One Way To Get Rid of That Fluorescent Buzzing Sound

Tired of the persistent hum his fluorescent desk lamp made, [Andres Lorvi] decided he had to fix it. And by fix, we mean get rid of altogether. He liked the lamp though so he decided to convert it to LED — that way he’d save some money on electricity too!

Besides wanting to get rid of the hum, [Andres] had also been reading up on the effect of light temperature at night — bluish light is typically bad for your eyes when you’re trying to go to sleep. So he also took this opportunity to change the color temperature of the light in his room. Unfortunately it wasn’t as simple as just replacing the fluorescent with the LEDs — no, that would be far too easy…

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From 300W to 10W — A LED Lighting Solution

LED halogen light

Halogen lights are great — they produce lots of bright warm light, but they suck a lot of juice to run. [Sven] had found a nice floor lamp years ago that was in pretty rough shape — his wife redecorated it, and he fixed it up, but between the 300W power consumption and the lack of a dimmer circuit (this thing was bright!), he knew he had to upgrade.

Like we recommend for all projects, [Sven] started by setting some goals for the conversion. He wanted to keep the warm light color tone, produce over 700lm, allow for dimming via remote, and work with presence detection.

He sourced a 10W power LED which requires 12V @950mA to run, which almost stumped him as it turns out there aren’t many LED drivers of that specification even available! Luckily, he managed to find one from China that wasn’t too large and would fit in the lamp cover with the other components. He found a large heat sink for the LED, and for safety, has even wired it up with a temperature sensor to his Arduino in order to shut it down if it gets too hot. The Arduino also provides the dimming circuit and remote control capabilities.

[Sven] admits that the end result isn’t that pretty, but lucky for him, it stands about 6′ tall so no one can see the jumble of wires and components inside! This is also only the first iteration, as he plans on upgrading it further — as it turns out, 700lm isn’t quite enough.