Lamp

July 2011   Bianchini

As a result of my learning how to weld and use new pieces of machinery, I built a steel, wall-mounted, cantilevered lamp that would fit the constraints of my bedroom. It functions as a simple lamp with a dimmer switch, but the unique design incorporates a slender, wall-mounted body that fits within the three-inch piece of wall between my bed's headboard and a stair railing. The 3-foot blackened steel arm is supported by a thin bicycle cable and can swing in a 180-degree arc from over the middle of my bed to over the stairwell in my room. The head of the lamp rotates to direct light.

Motivation

In the house into which my family was about to move, my bedroom was going to be very tight on space, so there wouldn't be room for a nightstand near my bed.  I wanted a lamp that could function without needing a table surface, and I decided that making a solution myself would be more fun and fit the space better than if I looked for existing products.

An experienced redneck work partner

My uncle from northern Louisiana kindly volunteered to act as my mentor for a week during the summer after my freshman year of high school.  He and his wife, Robert and Andi Moran, have a barn-sized personal workshop that they graciously have shared with me a couple times for making my own personal projects.  With these resources and Robert's years of making as an architecture professor and metal sculptor, I knew I had to come up with a unique project that I wouldn't be able to accomplish anywhere else.

My uncle and I posed with our finished lamp, as rednecks.

Process

A large part of the process was driven by my desire to learn how to use different pieces of machinery.  This project was my first exposure to turning on a lathe, cutting with a plasma cutter, fastening with rivets, bending steel pipe using a torch, and welding steel with a MIG welder.

I began bringing my design to life by drawing a to-scale drawing of the lamp in chalk on the concrete floor of the workshop, a technique my uncle uses with every project he does.  From there, my uncle and I began knocking out the parts.

As I finished each part, I laid them in place on my drawing on the floor so I could ensure the right shape and proportions.

These are the first parts I ever made on a lathe!  These components would help connect the lamp's arm to the head.

The back of the lamp head shows the riveted construction of the sheet metal components.  I blackened the steel and aluminum components using a metal blackener chemical and beeswax.

Outcome

The lamp fits perfectly into the space next to my bed.  When I am using it, I keep the lamp swung over my bed.  When I'm done using it, I can give myself some extra headroom by swinging it over the balcony railing.  I also carefully matched the paint for the power button and dimmer switch to my bedding.

Note how the narrow vertical profile of the wall mount fits an otherwise unusable space.

The arm swings from over the center of the bed to over the balcony railing.

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