3D Printed Desklamp Follows Tesla For Cordlessness

If not for [Nikola Tesla], we’d be pretty behind when it comes to electricity. So to pay homage to one of the greatest inventors, [David Choi] decided to make his very own wireless Tesla Desk Lamp!

As expected, [David’s] a big fan of [Nikola], and has always been inspired by his life and experiments — in particular he loves wireless power. Ever since he saw a Tesla Coil light up a bulb from a distance he was smitten. He even named his cat Tesla.

The funny thing is, [David] actually failed physics in high school, but a few years later decided to pursue it as a career while attending Wesleyan University. It didn’t stop when he graduated, he also studied electronic design in his spare time — which is where he learned about resonance.

Wanting to apply what he had learned he has created a very unique wireless desk lamp. Don’t let the pictures fool you; it’s actually 3D printed! It uses one of those retro “vintage” light bulbs, which has it’s power transmitted to it wirelessly by a 6.5MHz signal. It was relatively easy to get the wireless part right, because once he had calculated the number of coils he needed, all he had to do was 3D model the track for the copper to go in.

Best part? He’s shared the files so you can make one yourself. We’re pretty tempted.

26 thoughts on “3D Printed Desklamp Follows Tesla For Cordlessness

    1. I agree, isn’t HAD supposed to be about “look how I did this” and not “look at what I did but I’m not telling you how I did it” ?

      Nicely wound spiral coil though, although it looks like it could be easy to short turns and detune it. Also, nice light bulb.

      Other than that, without seeing the exciter and exciter coil, how far away it is, how much power is consumed on the receive side, and how much power is being radiated or at least power consumed by the exciter and an efficiency estimate on that side, it’s hard to tell if what is being shown here is anything more than “look, I can remote power a light bulb too!” Sorry for the snarkiness, but I could like to see a lot more description.

    2. TFA says it’s a 30-watt supply. That bulb is maybe a couple of watts. Which is actually doing pretty well. High ‘Q’ or not, it’s tough to get decent efficiency across an air gap. Run a few examples through the Friis equation to get a feeling how hard it is to exceed even 1% efficiency over non-trivial gaps.

  1. should suspend the light by magnetic feild with no solid connections to anything. even if you used plexy galss clear conducters could have been used to makes it not possibly to profe with out real floating light.

    1. Last year at Photonics West a vendor was displaying illuminated LEDs mounted *inside* a solid thick glass plate. No connecting wires, no coils, no other components. All six surfaces of the plate were visible and touchable, and it was just suspended on posts above the table top. Neat trick. You couldn’t pick it up though, which pretty much was the giveaway.

  2. I hate to say it but yeah, this is a pretty lousy article. Cool project, but did I miss something when I read “Best part? He’s shared the files so you can make one yourself.” in assuming there might be useful information on how to build said project?

  3. Come on, he’s missing a chance here to describe a really neat project. Why not show it’s wireless by lifting it off the table and show space under it? Why not draw out a quick schematic and stick it up (even on Thingiverse) for folks to see? And, personally, I HATE when people say “that’s a really good question and I’m glad you asked it”. That’s the sort of garbage politicians speak.

    Yes, the circuit probably is simple, if it’s based on Mazzili’s oscillator, but that’s no reason NOT to give a schematic. Self-excited oscillators are often very fussy about component values and layout to operate reliably, and it doesn’t hurt to show a schematic. Simply saying it’s based on Mazzili, go Google it, isn’t enough.

    I don’t want to knock the the actual built itself, which I’m really impressed by. I just have a pet problem with half-assed descriptions.

    For anyone wanting more on wireless power stuff, including some good demo modules (with schematics and PCB layouts!) check out this thread on 4HV – http://4hv.org/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?74096

  4. So he’s using a Tesla-type coil to power an Edison-type light bulb? I would think Tesla would be offended! I also wonder about the amount of radiated RF. Any hams in the neighborhood are likely to take offense, and the FCC could easily view this as an illegal transmitter.

    Tesla used what amounted to fluorescent lights. Way more efficient, so less power (and less wasted power). I believe he used a Tesla coil (high frequency, high voltage transmitter that created an intense electric field (not magnetic) field; strong enough to directly ionize the gas in the lamp to make it light. But his frequency was more like 100 KHz, which is far less of a problem for causing RF interference.

    I have a tabletop Tesla coil, and it easily lights ordinary compact fluorescents just by holdling them near it. That might be a cleverer approach. Put a tesla coil in the base of the lamp, and have the CF bulb exposed in plain sight (even justjust lying on the table), lit up with no wires to it! :-)

      1. The frequency 6780 +/- 15 kHz is specifically allocated to this sort of use, though the 27.12 +/- 0.33 MHz band is more usually used. Other so-called ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) frequencies are available too. The microwave oven frequency of 2450 MHz is one of them.

          1. The FCC and its ilk weren’t dummies. Even harmonics of the permitted frequency 6.78 Mhz (i.e. 13.56, 27.12 and 40.68 MHz) are also ISM frequencies. Nice forethought.

      1. I think you totally missed the point Edison and Tesla were bitter rivals. Tesla invented alternating current, and in order to discredit him and prove how unsafe it was, Edison electrocuted numerous animals to death. I’m sure that if Tesla and Edison had been able, to put aside their mutual hatred of each other the world be a better place. This desk lamp must come from some parallel universe where the 2 inventors were able to put aside their differences.

        1. Both Benchoff and I are aware of the story.

          No, we didn’t miss the point. I believe Benchoff was simply commenting on the petty arguments about using an Edison base bulb in a Tesla style flat coil inductively coupled circuit.

          And the elephant you commented on was named “Topsy”, and was going to be put down anyway after trampling two handlers in a row. The elephant had grown uncontrollable and no zoo wanted the animal.

          And Edison himself never entered Luna park (where the elephant was electrocuted), and the electrocution did not occur until 10 years after the “war of currents”. And there is no real evidence that Edison played any role in the event. Although the Edison Manufacturing Company filmed the event, this appears to be purely due to their ability to procure the cameras needed (they made the cameras). The elephant was fed carrots laced with potassium cyanide immediately before the event.

        2. And – at the time of this elephant electrocution- Edison played a minor role in the power transmission world after the 1892 merger of his company into General Electric.

  5. Hey guys. I made the lamp. Thingiverse is a site for 3d-printed objects so I didn’t think it was appropriate to go into a full discussion on recreating the transmitter there. I revealed all the relevant inductor values I used and resonant frequency and is enough information to figure out how it works on a piece of paper, even without supplies. I’ll answer any questions you have on the transmitter or receiver. The power is received through resonant magnetic induction.

    I also made twin 4 ft tesla coils as well (50H), and No they do not arc as they were not designed to do so. That would be a power loss.

    This lamp does not function on single-wire transmission. This is wholly magnetic induction and requires no ground wire between them.

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