How To: Make a Dandelion Lamp Using LEDs, Optical Fibers, and Straws

Make a Dandelion Lamp Using LEDs, Optical Fibers, and Straws

Albert Einstein once said, "We know less than one thousandth of one percent of what nature has to reveal to us."

While this still lies true, that fraction has inspired man since the beginning of human life. You can see the reflection of nature in the poems we read, the theatre we watch, and the music we hear. Not only that, but nature plays a significant role when it comes to invention—turtle inspired tanks, whale inspired submarines, water strider inspired water skis, and sticky seedpod inspired Velcro, and bird inspired jets.

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Van L. Phillips, who was just 21 years old when he lost his lower leg in an accident in 1976, was inspired by the cheetah for his invention. Cheetahs have very long tendons and ligaments that attach their muscles to their skeletons. In part, they act like giant, heavy-duty elastic bands that can take quite a beating while propelling the animal at fast velocities. In 1981, the first flex foot prosthetic was built from this inspiration.

And now, it's 2013 and we're still being inspired by nature.

This newest invention isn't much of a game changer, but more of an homage to all past inspirations. Instructables user blissful2015 designed a simple ambient lamp, mimicking the look of a dandelion seed head.

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This LED dandelion lamp, "inspired by the beauty of nature and magic of light," and old school fiber optics lamps is made from optical fibers, LEDs, cardboard, and lots of straws.

First, she modeled the structure that holds all the straws after a peeled orange (more nature FTW!).

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She then cut and placed her fiber optics pieces inside all of the straws, using hot glue. She cut the straws from one side in order to attach them snugly onto the cardboard center structure.

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Finally, she designed the circuit (to provide the light) and built it in a separate cardboard enclosure (to be attached later to the lamp).

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She used Velcro to attach the back side of the lamp to front of the bottom circuit enclosure and that was it! The whole project isn't complicated to make and looks ways better than a normal store-bought fiber optics lamp, thanks to its dandelion shape. It should be great for anyone trying to break into the LED creations world.

Check out blissful2015's tutorial for the full instructions and more photos.

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Photo by NYX, Sideonecincy, Benson Kua

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