For a while I have wanted to improve the lighting on my desk. I didn’t really know what to build until I came across Opossums’ amazing 3D printed
LED bridge lamp on Thingiverse. The lamp has a great design and I wanted to build it, but for my application I needed to make some modifications.
I use an L-shaped desk and when necessary I would like to be able to illuminate the small extension of the desk. To solve this, I designed and 3D printed a base that allows the LED strips to be rotated towards the part of the desk that I want lit.
The rotating base.
The lamp in action.
In this article, I will show you how to build the 3D printed rotating lamp yourself.
How does the rotating base work?
The base contains a 3D printed thrust bearing that allows the top platform with the LED bridge on it to rotate. All components of the base are 3D printable, except for the 10mm steel ball bearings that are used for the thrust bearing and the three M5x30 bolts+washers that hold the assembly together.
How does the lamp attach to the desk/table/etc?
You can attach the lamp to any flat surface by using three screws in the designated screw holes, or by sticking double sided tape on the bottom of the base.
How far does the lamp rotate?
The base gives the lamp 100° of rotation.
How to build the 3D printed rotating lamp
What you’ll need
3D Printed Parts
I used 4 curved segments per lamp, but you can pick a different number
Preparing the components
This picture shows all the required parts, except for the three small clips. Before starting, I already glued the four curved segments together with super glue, which is probably the best glue for PLA.
Drill out the built-in support of the three holes for the M5 bolts with a 4mm drill bit.
Thread the three holes all the way through with the M5 thread tap.
Press the 10mm ball bearings into the bearing cage. This will take some force if you printed the bearing cage with the right settings. Once inserted however, the ball bearings should rotate freely.
Stick the LED strips to the curved segments. I simply use add super glue to the back of the LED strips. In my experience, the standard LED strip adhesive backing usually does not hold for very long on PLA filament.
Gluing components into place
Insert the wires of the LED strips through the top plate. Make sure that the circular groove on the top plate for the ball bearings is facing downwards.
Apply super glue to the bottom of the curved segment stack.
Insert the three small clips in the thin slots on the top plate. This will help align and center the curved segment stack while the super glue dries.
The strain relief component is optional but recommended to prevent strain on the solder joints of the LED strip(s). It has space for a resistor and an electrolytic decoupling capacitor when using it with WS2812B or similar LED strips.
The bottom of the strain relief component has channels for the leads of the LED strip(s) and for the wires that lead to the optional resistor and capacitor.
Apply hot glue to the back of the strain relief component.
Place the strain relief component over the wires that come from the LED strip(s). The two loose leads (red/white) on the left of the picture are extra + and – leads which I will cut off later.
Insert the wires from the power supply through the middle channel of the strain relief.
If you use a WS2812B LED strip, solder a 470 Ohm resistor in front of its data pin, and a 1000uF capacitor across the +5V and ground. Then heat shrink the resistor leads and hot glue them into place on the strain relief.
Insert all the wires through the bearing cage.
Guide the wires through the hole in the rear leg of the base.
An overview of the wire path.
Stack everything on top of each other. Make sure that the wires have some slack inside the base so that they do not pull on anything when the LED strips rotate.
Thread a M5x30 bolt with washer into the base. Make sure not to tighten the bolt all the way. The top needs to rotate freely.
Repeat the previous step for the other two M5 bolts and washers.
After this you can hook the LED strips up to a power supply or to the control electronics that you plan to use for the lamp.
The base in action after securing it to the desk and connecting one of the LED strips to a power supply.
The work bench after building and installing a second rotating lamp.
An exploded view of the assembly.
The lamps work exactly as intended and I am happy with the result. I had some concerns beforehand about how the smooth the 3D printed smooth bearing would be, but it works very well.