The Lanna Factory was inspired by the cotton ball string lamps sold by vendors in Thai flea markets. Bangkok-based [THINKK Studio] wanted to build a device to let anyone have a hand (and feet) in making a custom lampshade without any experience. Five spools of thread are routed through a “glue case” and onto a spindle holding a lampshade mold. Pedals control the wrapping speed and the location on the shade being wrapped is controlled with a hand wheel on the table.
Once the glue dries, the shade can be removed from the mold and fitted with the appropriate hardware. Giving the user control over the process means that each lampshade will be unique and the final product will mean that much more to the person who made it.
If you’re thinking this would be cooler in carbon fiber, than maybe you should checkout the X-Winder.
The lamp is constructed around an abstract sculptural form made in air-dry clay. Light is provided via a string of Neopixel RGBW LEDs. Run by an Adafruit Feather Huzzah, they’re programmed to trigger with the sunrise to provide a bright light in the morning on grey days when the outside world isn’t quite delivering the same. The Adafruit queries an online weather API to get the right sunrise time every day without requiring user intervention. The lamp can also be programmed to provide warm light during later hours.
The lamp itself is a minimalist modern design, with a cube-like body constructed out of plywood. It was easily constructed by simply stacking up several layers of plywood to create the form. Inside the housing, a bulb holder was installed hooked up to a Shelly smart relay to enable the lamp to be used as a smart device. The relay also has a switch input for direct control. This is hooked up to a micro-switch that is tucked into the base. Tilting the lamp to one side triggers the micro-switch and turns the lamp on and off as desired.
Overall, it’s a simple build that is elegant and functional. It eschews switches on the lamp cord and other fussy details, while featuring both smart control and a direct switch as well. We’ve featured some other great lamps before, too. Video after the break.
It’s easy to see why LEDs largely won out over neon bulbs for pilot light applications. But for all the practical utility of LEDs, they’re found largely lacking in at least one regard over their older indicator cousins: charm. Where LEDs are cold and flat, the gentle orange glow of a neon lamp brings a lot to the aesthetics party, especially in retro builds.
But looks aren’t the only thing these tiny glow lamps have going for them, and [David Lovett] shows off some of the surprising alternate uses for neon lamps in his new video. He starts with an exploration of the venerable NE-2 bulb, which has been around forever, detailing some of its interesting electrical properties, like the difference between the voltage needed to start the neon discharge and the voltage needed to maintain it. He also shows off some cool neon lamp tricks, like using them for all sorts of multi-vibrator circuits without anything but a few resistors and capacitors added in. The real fun begins when he breaks out the MTX90 tube, which is essentially a cold cathode thyratron. The addition of a simple control grid makes for some interesting circuits, like single-tube multi-vibrators.
The upshot of all these experiments is pretty clear to anyone who’s been following [David]’s channel, which is chock full of non-conventional uses for vacuum tubes. His efforts to build a “hollow state” computer would be greatly aided by neon lamp circuits such as these — not to mention how cool they’d make everything look.
The so-called Demon Core was a cursed object, a 6.2 kilogram mass of plutonium intended to be installed in a nuclear weapon. Instead, slapdash experimental techniques saw it feature in several tragic nuclear accidents and cause multiple fatalities. Now, you can build yourself a lamp themed after this evil dense sphere.
Creator [skelly] has designed the lamp to replicate the Slotin incident, where the spherical Demon Core was placed inside two half-spheres of beryllium which acted as neutron reflectors to allow it to approach criticality. Thus, the core is printed as a small sphere which is thin enough to let light escape, mimicking the release of radiation that doomed Louis Slotin. The outer spheres are then printed in silvery PLA to replicate the beryllium half-spheres. It’s all assembled atop a stand mimicking those used in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1940s.
To mimic the Core’s deadly blue glow, the build uses cheap LED modules sourced from Dollar Tree lights. With the addition of a current limiting resistor, they can easily be run off USB power in a safe manner.
The Demon Core has become a meme in recent times, perhaps as a new generation believes themselves smart enough not to tinker with 6.2 kilograms of plutonium and a screwdriver. That’s not to say there aren’t still dangerous nuclear experiments going on, even the DIY kind. Be careful out there!
IKEA make a lot of different lamps, including useful motion-sensitive models that can click on when you walk past. [Andrew Menadue] trialed one as a night light, but it was far too bright for the task. It also would come on during the day time, wasting its precious battery life when it wasn’t needed. Thus, in order to mold the lamp to its new purpose, hacking ensued.
The first step, as it so often is, was to crack open the case and look inside. Preliminary inspections revealed a BISS0001 chip — a simple passive infrared motion sensor. The chip has a function built in that can disable the output from triggering if it detects light. Adding a light-dependent resistor and a further 100K resistor was all that was needed to enable this feature.
Now, the lamp only kicks on if it detects motion at night. Some further tweaks also cut the current limit to the LEDs, reducing the brightness to a more suitable level for night time. [Andrew] now has a useful night light that suits his needs, and likes it so much that he once drove 150 miles to recover one that he left behind on vacation. That’s dedication!
We’ve all seen those “river” tables where a lovely old piece of tree is filled with some blue resin to create a water-like aesthetic. This project from [smartyleowl] takes that basic idea, but pushes it further, and the result is a beautiful build that is as much a diorama as it is a simple lamp.
First up, an appropriate rough piece of unprepared wood is chosen to create a cliff for the underwater scene. Speckles of UV-reactive blue powder are scattered on to the wood and some little plastic coral and marine plants are stuck down as well. A mold is then constructed around the wood using acrylic. Small whale and diver figurines are dangled in place, and blue resin poured in to complete the underwater scene. Once the resin has hardened, it’s polished to a clear sheen and its edges are nicely beveled. It’s then placed on a illuminated base which lights the scene from below, giving it a somewhat ethereal underwater quality.
It’s not a complicated project by any means, but it’s a great example of the beautiful things one can create with the creative application of colored resin. Producing a lamp that looks this good obviously takes some skill, of course – getting a bubble-free resin pour and a nice shiny finish on the wood isn’t easy. However, there’s no reason you can’t start learning today! Video after the break.