Enginursday: Disembodied Doll-Head Lamp

I needed a positionable desk lamp and I had a bin full of heads on my desk. Add in Halloween, and I can now see what I'm soldering!

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While working with a board a while back, I noticed I was having trouble seeing what I was soldering. Once I had more light, it was smooth sailing, so the need for a lamp has been in the back of my mind for a while. I made myself a quick and dirty "lamp," which was essentially our ultra-bright LEDs on the end of wires I could position in any direction I needed. As I used those lights more and more, I figured it was time to make something that would be less of a fire hazard.

One of the benefits/side effects/anomalies of working here at SparkFun is that we often have quite a few strange things just hanging around. On my desk I had some super-bright LEDs, a bunch of solid core wire and some doll heads. Doll heads? Yup. Doll heads. Stolen from small dolls. It's a long story, but the nice thing about these doll heads is that they fit perfectly over the ultra-bright LEDs such that when I only need a couple of the LEDs, the others don't blind me. With Halloween fast approaching, a project was born.

Tree lamp on the desk

Every single person who has seen this says, "creepy." I think they're adorable. Maybe a little creepy. But perfect for Halloween, no? The tree is 3D-printed ABS from a design on Thingiverse - I figured the Tree of the Dead from Sleepy Hollow was perfect for disembodied doll heads. I modified it on TinkerCad to have a hole through the center of it for the "branches" (we have a GREAT tutorial on editing in Tinkercad here). The base was then measured and I used MakerCase to download an SVG I could cut an acrylic box from.

Solderable breadboard with jumpers and resistors inside acrylic box

Just using the wires didn't give me the positionability I wanted, so I wrapped the wires helically around armature wire for support; these were then colored and shrink wrapped. I used our Solderable Breadboard for the wiring with a rocker switch between the two power rails, and the jumper wire kit made the connections all pretty. (Seriously, can I just give a shout out to this jumper kit? It makes my little OCD heart happy.)

Individual LED lit up

Once I had everything soldered together, the tree went onto the box and I flipped the switch...

Lamp on, off gif

Soooooo... it's an art project, but it is a useful one – the best kind. I can freak out my co-workers AND see what I'm doing when I'm soldering teeny tiny things together. Win! Many thanks to Feldi, Maya and Gella for their creative input!

What are your Halloween projects? How are you creeping out your neighbors and co-workers? Let us know in the comments!


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