Makerspaces can be used for big ideas, ambitious projects and who-would-have-thought-that-was-possibles. They can also be used to tinker, to fix, and to slightly change. We have some awesome projects in the works here at Studio M, but while they develop I thought I’d share a smaller project — new wiring for a lamp that belonged to my grandmother, and which she converted from an oil lamp that belonged to her grandmother sometime in the 1960s/1970s.
I started with a functional, but rusty 1970s lamp. I cleaned it with some lemon juice and salt, which did a wonderful job getting off the rust, but also managed to short out the socket.
Happily, hardware stores sell sockets, lamp wire and plugs! I started by removing the old socket, wire and plug.
I bought new lamp wire, split and stripped about an inch of insulation off of both strands. I finished wiring the socket by securing one strand to each socket screw.
The old lamp socket sat within the neck of the old oil lamp. My new socket was a bit too narrow, so we 3D printed a “lamp thing” to hold the socket on the neck of the lamp. Sort of a thick plastic washer.
By this point, I already knew I’d be using a glass globe shade, so I didn’t care that much that the “lamp thing” was grey plastic and the socket was shiny bronze. I also kind of like the idea of a slightly kludged together lamp — after all, the one I inherited was also remarkably kludgey.
I remembered to thread the lamp wire through the body of the lamp before attaching the plug (small victories!) and threaded it through one of the cut outs in the base of the lamp.
All told, this took about a half an hour (excluding printing time) and only basic tools — some screwdrivers (to attach the lamp wire to the socket and plug), a wrench (to remove a recalcitrant nut and washer inside the lamp), some pliers (to take apart the plug) and some wire strippers.
By the end, I had a working lamp, and a brighter corner of my office!