Just the other day, I was happily working away minding my own business when Tim (FPGA Logic Design) Davis sent me a message on LinkedIn. The contents of this email were a re-posting of a short video of a steampunk rocket lamp created by Garrett Schmidt, who is the ruler of all he surveys at Frankengeek Laboratories, and who bills himself as an IoT Junkie, Technology and Application Matchmaker, Master Tinkerer, and Ghostbuster.
As you can see in this video, it’s no surprise that I exclaimed “Ooh, Shiny!” and immediately reached out to Garrett to learn more.
Garrett had a great video chat on Zoom (I can no longer remember a time before Zoom). As part of this, I asked if he would mind penning a few words describing this build, and he kindly responded as follows:
Hi Max, I built this lamp because my wife couldn’t find a suitable lamp for our living room. During my internet search for lamps, I stumbled on the “steampunk” inspired black pipe lamps that many are building and found a picture of a rocket ship lamp. I decided I could build my own (can you hear my wife’s eyes rolling as I start another crazy project?), so I purchased a few parts from Amazon and Lowe’s to take a stab at it. The first one I built was a little off, I used a gray luminaire and a way too bright Edison bulb. I found the brass luminaire on a follow-up search, so I built a second one, which is what you now see.
- 1 x Vandal-proof light fixture
- 4 x ½” iron street elbow, 90deg (get these at a local hardware store)
- 1 x ½” iron street elbow, 90deg (get these at a local hardware store)
- 1 x ½” iron pipe nipple, 8 inches (get these at a local hardware store)
- 1 x ½” iron pipe flange (get these at a local hardware store)
- 1 x 8” wooden plaque
- 2 x Wire nuts
- 1 x Edison bulb (I used 25 watts, but it’s a preference, you can get them online or locally)
- 4 x Flickering candelabra bulbs
- 4 x Candelabra sockets
- 1 x Power cord with 3-prong plug
- 1 x Alexa compatible smart outlet (or use a standard switch)
- 1 x Wood stain or paint to preference
- Prep the wooden plaque by marking the mounting location of the pipe flange. Drill a ½” hole straight through the plaque, then a hole parallel to the surface to feed the power cord through.
- Paint or stain the plaque.
- Mount the flange with four screws (not included, I used some old brass screws from a door hinge).
- Feed the power cord through the hole and up through the flange, then through the pipe nipple. Screw the pipe nipple into the flange. Feed the wire through the 45deg street elbow, then screw the elbow to the nipple.
- Remove all the plugs from the luminaire, then disassemble the luminaire. Install the 4 90deg elbows into the knockouts on the luminaire base, then thread the base onto the luminaire. Screw the candelabra sockets into the elbows and feed the wires into the base.
- Use the wire nuts to connect all the line (black) wires together, then all the neutral (white) wires together (add a switch if desired).
- Most tutorials you’ll find online will use a standard 2-prong lamp cord. This is extremely dangerous! Since the entire lamp is metallic, if the 120V line voltage wire were to come loose inside the lamp, the entire lamp body would be “hot” and anyone who touches it would be electrocuted. Use a 3-prong outlet so that the lamp body can be grounded. Connect the ground wire from the cord to the ground screw in the luminaire.
- Reassemble the luminaire, install the bulbs, and enjoy!
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m well-impressed. I can so see one of these little rascals sitting on the desk here in my office. What say you? Could you be tempted to build one of these bodacious beauties?