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So last christmas I’ve been asked by my girlfriend to build her a lamp.

At first I was like , “haha good joke” and then it quickly switched to “you really do want a lamp eh?” so after much web-browsing on cool lamps I could try, I’ve found the solution while

having a dinner at a restaurant where they had some really cool walls : Thick sheets of glass containing bubble-filled water on which led light was spread. The effect was super cool as only the

bubbles actually display the light and the water stay pretty much transparent. Their apparatus was also big as it could get : 2 full panels of 4′x8′ and it was more than sufficient to flood the place with

colour-changing light.

So it was decided,after some sourcing I’ve came up with this:

And final version look like this:

It’s 2′ X 1′,all Plexiglas ,all chemicals weld.

here’s a video of it in action:

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How it’s made:

First of all,you need

-Plexiglas for this, something like 2X  2′by1′ and 6-8 strips of 1′ wide 24′ long.   (hardware store supply,be carefull this is expensive stuff…)

-RGB LED strip IPV6 recommanded (waterproof and flexible)  here,a simple non-adressable strip is used   http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10259

-3 Power Mosfets (1 per color) http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10213

-Bubblers (fish tank style are .75′ wide and work like a charm,used 2 in this setup)  http://www.aquariumguys.com/buwaai28.html

-Air tubing http://www.aquariumguys.com/airlinetubing6.html

-Air pump (with some check valves to prevent back flow into the pump)  http://www.aquariumguys.com/renaairpump3.html http://www.aquariumguys.com/checkvalve.html

-Arduino of your choice.  I used this :  http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9218

-Plexicolle (the only thing good enough to weld plexiglass)  find that at your hardware store,it’s a glass bottle with some warning on it,name can change where you live, it’s highly volatile and is a transparent liquid that is a chloromethane-based solvent.IT NEEDS TO BE SYRINGE APPLIED for good results

Once you have everything,the first part is to assemble the lamp’s body.

-Assemble one side with the strips cut to length and weld. Use clamps and vises to secure stuff and do correct welds.

-Drill 2 holes for the wires and tubing to come out at one of the corners on the bottom.

-Assemble the bubblers and the led strip,hot glue works but it ain’t perfect,use some epoxy-solvent glue and glue it to the bottom.

-Pull the wires/tubing out,don’t seal it until you’ve tested it work !!!

-Assemble and “tack weld” the other big panel on it. Once it’s clean dried, you can go on and use a syringe extender (home made is way funnier).

Here’s a video of one of the final welds:

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As you can see,it’s a pretty tedious job. Take your time,and take deep breaths between shots. (do not breath the stuff,it’s harmful! )

-Assemble electronics  (I used LadyAda tuto for this,including the software as a start point)  http://www.ladyada.net/products/rgbledstrip/

it should look something like this:  (the pump I’ve used as 2 outputs,more bubbles)

(the potentiometer is used to control color changing speed)

When everything is good to go,seal the wires,the tubing,the outside,abuse plexicolle all over the place. Bend some “legs” to look like hang-coat and weld them on. Fill with water,start the pump (yay bubbles!) and fire up the electronics.

For the “legs” simply bend with a air gun some 1″ wide strips and weld them on place,work like a charm with a vise.


TIPS for working with Plexiglas:

1-Use a metal saw to cut this, HIGH FPM with low hand feed works good.

2-Do not remove the protecting plastic until you are ready to weld.

3-Hot air gun is your friend when you want to bend those, take your time,low heat is sufficient.

4-Get some syringes with the smallest needles. You’ll use that to put the solvent where you want. If you don’t clean them ASAP they melt too,so get more than one.

5-Do not drop solvent anywhere on the Plexiglas,it will melt it and make “scratches” (look closely at the pic above,left side,right above the leg).

6-Use “soft end” vises and pliers to hold the material still.

7-Use extenders like this if needed:

One rod hold the syringe,the other one pushes.

Made with scrap rods from printers.


You should now have a good looking lamp adding some flood lighting to your room.

Pics of the build process :

Questions? Comment!

I’ll answer asap,as usual ;p

Thanks for your time!

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