Build a "Steampunk" Lamp - Part 3
- Written by Daniel Livingston
Final assembly of my Steampunk Lamp. I rummaged through my stash of electrical switches looking for one that would fit my Steampunk Lamp style. I came up with an old fashion toggle switch with a collar long enough to stick through the thickness of the rear casing of the water meter. I then drilled a hole in the casing slightly larger than the switch collar. I was surprised at how easy the rear case casting material drilled.
My base consisted of a 13 in. x 13 in. x 2 in. thick chunk of wood. One I had sitting around for about 15 years, not knowing what to do with. Actually, it’s half of the original chunk of wood. The other half will be used for my second Steampunk lamp project. I drilled a hole dead center to run the power cord through. I also routed a channel to hide the cord in and run it to the back of the chunk of wood.
If you have room, try to use a 3-wire power cord with a green safety ground wire and affix it to the metal inside somewhere. In this lamp, I attached it to a large ring terminal which I put around the neck of the power switch before putting it through the rear cover. Since the rear cover is screwed onto the water meter with 4 rather large metal screws, it is electrically connected to all the metal pipes. A ground fault inside the lamp will trip your 15 A house breaker and not electrocute someone. Be sure to scrape any paint off the cover where the switch makes contact as well as under the 4 cover screws as you want good contact.
If you choose to use a two-wire cord, be careful when routing it through the pipes as you don't want to nick the insulation. I use the tried and true method of sucking a string through the pipes using my shop-vac. Then I tie the string to the electrical wire and gently pull it through the pipes. You may need to block off some of the other pipe openings to get enough suction to the opening you want.
My background is in product safety and being that these lamps are mostly exposed metal, you risk the chance of an electrical shock if any of the live internal wires are nicked and contact any of the metal pipes. Using a three-wire cord will allow you to ground all the metal. In the event of a short, a circuit breaker will trip and all is well. Also, please pay attention when pulling your wires through the metal pipes and make sure to follow the color-coded wires on the lamp sockets. White is neutral and should be connected to the aluminum colored screw of the socket. If you choose to use a two-wire cord, the neutral wire should connect to the wide blade side of a two-wire power cord.
Not wanting my lamp to mar my table top I screwed on these 4 rubber feet. They also helped level the lamp as the wood had a slight bow to the middle. I think I've had the rubber feet laying around for some time as well. I can't seem to throw anything out without stripping it of anything I see could be reused.
I love the screw on and adhesive rubber feet as they come in so handy for many projects. I use smaller ones on my Twilight Zone Mystic Seer replicas to give them a nice base that won't move around on a table. You certainly don't want to scratch a table with your cool looking steampunk lamp.
Here's the finished product. Simple, yet functional. Clicking on the picture will get you an annotated diagram of all the parts I used and their placement. Let me know if you have any questions. Be sure to check out the "Steampunk" Lamp parts list.
To the right is my second Steam Punk lamp where I add a second light and a few added twists. I think you'll like it.
Check it out.
Questions or Comments?
Drop me a line.