The Tinkerlight system is a collection of 3D designs and a hardware kit that allows people to print out a lamp design of their choice (using a 3D printer that it available to them) and insert a LED lamp module that I provide as an inexpensive kit.

Development of the Tinkerlight has been covered here in blog posts on the hardware kit prototyping, lamps design, and final assembly and kitting.

tinkerlight group

The light source for each lamp is a neutral white (4000-4500k) LED that consumes 2.25 watts (450ma at 5 volts). It is mounted on a small PCB with extensive heat sinking and a simple resistor limiting circuit using a micro B USB jack for power. The hardware kit includes the lamp module, switched USB cable, spot lens that can be mounted to the PCB, instruction sheet, and mounting screws.

I usually have a batch of hardware kits for sale on ebay for $5 each.

The user has to supply a USB power source (wall or battery unit) that can provide 500ma (or provide another 5v power source).

tinkerlight kit

I have developed 3 lamp designs for this hardware kit, as well as components to aid people in developing their own designs. The lamp designs are intended to be functional but uncomplicated prints that will each fit within a print envelope 6 inches on a side. On most 3D printers they can be printed without supports.  ABS or another higher temperature filament is preferred but all lamps have been successfully printed and tested with PLA.

In each case the lamp module is screwed into a mount ring (required for proper heat dissipation) and the ring with lamp module mounted is then clipped into the lamp.

Utility Lamp

The smallest lamp design is a simple utility lamp, intended to be mounted on a flat surface with small bolts, screws, or double-stick tape.  It pivots in one direction and includes two cord keepers and bolt/screw holes around the base. The shade provides minimal eye protection from the very bright LED so this design should always be used with the lens mounted.

The 3D design files for the utility lamp are available as a free download from Thingiverse.

tinkerlight utlity on tinkerlight utility cu tinkerlight utility parts

Desk Lamp

A somewhat longer print time is required for the desk lamp. The desk lamp has a spare, but highly functional design with an H base and an arm that can extend from about 9 inches of total lamp height to about 12 inches. The shade pivots and the base includes two cord keepers. The spot lens may optionally be mounted for a tighter pool of light.

The 3D design files for the desk lamp are available as a free download from Thingiverse.

tinkerlight desklamp cu tinkerlight desklamp parts

Decorative Rocket Lamp

The third lamp is a decorative one. Designed to look like a cartoon rocket ship, it works somewhat differently than the others in that the light module (mounted on its ring) clips into the bottom of the lamp and shines out through the very thin walls of the rocket. The holes in the rocket ship project a little face on the ceiling as well.

The 3D design files for the rocket lamp are available as a free download from Thingiverse.

tinkerlight rocket on tinkerlight rocket ceiling tinkerlight rocket off

Design Your Own Lamp

You can certainly design and print your own lamp to go with the hardware kit. There are some important considerations, however, concerning heat. 3D plastic filament melts at a low temperature. The LED in use generates a lot of heat. The PCB gets hot enough to melt printed filament over most of its surface. The mounting ring designed for this application holds the PCB only by its edges and provides for ample air flow around the PCB while keeping fingers away (at least from the back side). Thus the LED module should only be used mounted in the ring designed for it.

Also, the heat generated by the LED could soften or melt printed filament directly above it. Leave at least 2 inches of open airspace above the LED if you are mounting it similarly to the rocket design and include vent holes near the top of your design.

To aid in user-designed lamps I have provided the 3D files for the mount ring and the clip. You can attach the clip to your lamp design in your favorite 3D design software and print out the results along with the mount ring.

The 3D design files for the ring and clip are available as a free download from Thingiverse.

tinkerloght ring tinkerlight clip