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Recycled Lamp

Assemble custom-made lamps from recycled parts.

Switch into recycling mode and create a custom-made lamp!
Courtesy of Steve Bewley, Arroyo Grande, California.

Materials and Tools:

brake rotor for base
wire brush
various nuts and bolts
various pieces of scrap metal
water in a spray bottle
black spray paint
recycled plumbing copper
computer hard drive
clear tubing
8" raw steel
large sheets of decorative paper
glue gun and hot glue
spray polyurethane
old pennies
brass balls
guitar strings
welding equipment - safety gear, gloves, eye shield, torch
hand-held grinding machine
chop saw
propane tank
drill press with 1/2" bit


1. Locate a discarded brake rotor in a dumpster or junkyard.

Figure A

2. Clean the brake rotor with a hand-held grinding machine (figure A).

Figure B

3. Weld carriage bolt plugs into lugholes (figure B) on the rotor.

Figure C

4. Weld a steel cross bar in the center for support. Drill a hole in the center cross bar for the lamp shaft to pass through (figure C).

5. Spray the rotor with plain water and let it rust for a natural patina finish. When rusted to the desired texture, spray the rotor with polyurethane.

Figure D

6. Insert the lamp shaft in the drilled hole and bolt it in from the bottom (figure D).

7. Spray paint the bottom black.

8. Cut corks into quarters and hot-glue onto the base for feet.

Figure E

9. Cut three sections of recycled plumbing copper (1-1/8-inch in diameter) to fit the length of the lamp shaft using a chop saw. Place them on a metal rod and burn it with a torch. When it cools, it creates a patina finish (figure E). Apply a clear coat of polyurethane.

Figure F

10. Disassemble a computer for a hard drive disk and slide the disk down the shaft to the rotor, using washers for spacing (figure F).

11. Slide clear tubing down the shaft and place a nut on the end to hold it.

12. Attach the harp and the light fixture to the base.

Figure G

13. To create a custom-made lampshade, cut and bend 8-inch raw steel into the shape of the shade and weld it into the frame (figure G).

Figure H

14. Draft lampshade templates and cut the lampshade sections out of a big sheet of paper and hot-glue each piece to the frame, one at a time (figure H).

Figure I

15. Apply a coat of shellac to the shade to seal it from moisture and dust (figure I). Let the shade dry for 2 to 4 hours.

Figure J

16. Pound pennies into half-moon shapes and drill holes in them. Attach a penny to the top of the lamp (finial) and screw on a recycled brass ball (figure J).

17. Attach a guitar string with a hangman's noose to create the lamp pull.

Figure K

18. Solder two pennies together and drill a small hole through the middle. Slide the guitar string pull through the hole (figure K).


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