So, we have the frame, with its electronics, all ready. We just need to finish the shade. This piece of tubing is sold as a tumble dryer vent pipe. It’s really cheap, and just the right size. The only problem is that the ends are not cut with art in mind, they’re just chopped roughly, and not all that straight.
Fortunately, my artist friend Mark Boot has this circular sander in his studio, and we were able to make the ends of the pipe all straight and nice.
At first, I intended to paint the outside a light yellow (it’s a dawn simulator…), but then I realised that it would still look like a painted plastic tube. So I decided to cover the outside with fabric. It was at the (sad) time of the Fenwick’s department store closing in Leicester, and they had a box of offcuts on sale for 50p. I found some very nice gold cloth, plenty big enough, which I just cut to size an glued (no stitched join or hems). It fits over the pipe and it’s snug enough to stay in place on its own.
Now, this is where I got a bit paranoid. What if there’s a fault? Will I wake up to smoke? So that I could sleep real easy, I looked around for some sort of shield to place inside the lamp, between the plastic shade and the electronics. Firstly, I bought a sheet of aluminium that I planned to cut and bend into a circle, but discovered that my local Hackspace didn’t really have any kit to accurately cut and bend sheet metal. So, plan B. I needed something that was heat resistant and wouldn’t burn, but was thin and flexible. And I came up with … a sheet of silicone intended to line a cooking tray. It’s thin, flexible, and doesn’t burn (I tried!), and it was from Poundland, so a good price.
Now there’s something I didn’t think of when I chose silicone: it’s non-stick. That means it’s very difficult to glue it to anything – things like plastic pipes! I tried several options. In the end I used spraymount adhesive – intended to mounting card onto, well, card. It’s not a strong bond (it comes away if you pull it) but if you leave it alone it seems to stay put [as of a month later]. Also, attaching a glue-covered flexible sheet to the inside of a tube is, well, challenging.
Finally, although the metal frame will sit on the table directly, the shade needed to be raised up a couple of centimetres to allow air to circulate. I needed some ‘feet’. I decided to design and 3D-print them. Since this was my first foray into 3D printing I went for a simple design: a cup-shape into which one of the four legs will sit, with a lip that will keep the shade above the table,
leaving a couple of centimetres for air to be drawn in, through the tube/shade, and past the heatsink. Thanks again to Leicester Hackspace! I spray-painted them cream to go with the gold material (there wasn’t and cream filament handy when I printed them). Eventually I would like to remake them with a more sophisticated design, but becoming a semi-expert in 3D printing is a task in itself!
So, this is the final lamp, showing fade up/down and nightlight. Note that the dawn simulator begins with red and the remote control fade in does not. Also, the nightlight does not include the candle effect as I decided that a night light would be better if it didn’t draw attention to itself.