Cassette Lamp Is A Throwback To The Pencil-Winding Glory Days

The audio cassette was the first music format that truly championed portability. It was robust, compact, and let people take music on the go to soundtrack their very lives. It was later supplanted by the higher-quality CD and then further digital technologies, but the format remains a nostalgic highlight for many. It also inspired this excellent lamp build from [Fab].

The lamp consists of 8 clear cassettes assembled into a rough cube-like shape on a 3D printed frame. The cassettes are edge-lit from below by a set of WS2812B LEDs, letting them glow in full-color splendour. The real magic of the lamp is the interface, however. A pencil can be inserted to turn the tape reels, just like rewinding a real cassette. However, in this case, they’re attached to a pair of rotary encoders, which are used to vary the color of the LEDs. As a bonus, the entire lamp runs off a Wemos D1, making it possible to update the lamp remotely over the Internet.

It’s a stylish build that would make an excellent conversation piece in any hip maker’s loungeroom. It’s a great nod to the creator of the compact cassette, [Lou Ottens], who passed away earlier this month. Video after the break.


18 thoughts on “Cassette Lamp Is A Throwback To The Pencil-Winding Glory Days

    1. oh, nevermind. The rotary encoder is just inside. Lame. How bout reading the tape and processing the the audio volume levels to the light while playing. like a big graphical VU meter.

  1. All the good tapes I used had opaque slip sheets, only cheap ones would be this transparent. Often the case wasn’t clear either. On the other hand, cassette jewel boxes and LED’s! Frost the inside.Something to consider. 7 segment, giant VU, spectrum display, etc.

    1. I vaguely remember, that there were different sizes of pencils. Some were too thick and some too thin. But there was an easy trick to make the thin one work: You had to tilt it to some angle then it got enough grip to turn the reel.

  2. There is something very aesthetically pleasing about this to me. Good job :) Ah the halcyon days of listening to Faith No More on my walkman on the bus with my head leaned up to the back of the seat in front of me thinking about chicks noticing my zits, whether my mom would write a check for my cash so I could order trucks out of a skating magazine, and the slight grumpiness of knowing I was 20 seconds away from having to rewind the song and listen to that sweet jam again before I got home to Doritos and Sprite with Voltron haha :)

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