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I wanted to make a new bedside lamp and I also wanted to charge all of my devices, so I made a modern lamp with inductive charging! Using some walnut, an LED matrix, a lamp kit, and a wireless charger I solved this common problem!

  1. Cut Down the Lamp Base
  2. Hollow Out Space for Electronics
  3. Assemble the Lamp Base
  4. Program the Control Board

1. Cut Down the Lamp Base

I’m using some walnut for this side table lamp because it’s super pretty and I want this lamp to stand out. I tried to use Fusion 360 to design something, but I decided to take the wood and just start cutting. While I tried to be bold in the design, I made sure that the lamp was functional. I found a piece of walnut that was beautifully figured that I want to be the flat upright. The base had to hold the round inductive charger and possibly the small micro-controller to power the LED matrix reading light.

I discovered that I really like a slight 7 degree angle for the upright, so I used my miter saw to cut those bevels. While the lamp looked nice, it was still very angular and boxy. Using a flexible steel ruler, I placed two nails at either end of the board and pushed the ruler against them. This creates a traceable curve that I repeated on the opposite side. The jigsaw made quick work of those curvy cuts and now the lamp is ready for some routing!

2. Hollow Out Space for Electronics

Naturally our lamp would include more than just a simple lamp and bulb kit. The inductive charger plays a heavy role, but I want it to remain hidden away in the base topped with a simple leather patch. The downward-facing LED reading light also had to be recessed up into the walnut overhang. I could design a pocket cut for the CNC and let the robot cut these areas, but instead, I used my palm router to carve in these spaces.

The charger pocket was dual-layered, one for the charger puck itself, and another offset shelf to hold the leather disc. The LED matrix had a similar pocket but I added a deeper space in the back to hold the controller wiring. It also got an offset shelf to hold a piece of frosted acrylic to help diffuse the reading light. Once those were done, I cut a channel on the back of the upright to hide away all of the lamp’s wiring.

3. Assemble the Lamp Base

At this point, the walnut base was ready to fully assemble. I used glue, some brad nails (as a temporary hold) and some dowels to assemble all of the elements together. At the top of the base, I mounted another block of walnut to hold the actual lamp kit hardware, it is lamp after all. I dry-fit the components and the wiring before I permanently fixed anything in place. The inductive charger and dyed leather cover fit perfectly into the bottom pocket and the LED matrix and frosted acrylic sat nicely inside the reading light overhang. I ran all the wiring through the pockets and down the rear of the lamp before glueing all of the electronic elements in place. It is now time to do a little programming on the ESP module mounted in the base to control the reading light.

4. Program the Control Board

This may be kinda scary for someone just looking to make a bedside light, but it is really quite manageable. We need a micro-controller because the LEDs need to be told what to do. They are RGB meaning that they can be configured to be any color, they can fade or blink or ru na custom animation. This is where the controller comes in. I am using the ESP8266 which is small and has onboard wifi and bluetooth connectivity.

I am able to treat the matrix as a Phillip Hue light bulb and use the Alexa app to control it. I may add more custom animations or color combos later on, but for now I am really happy with the light being the right color temperature and it fading on and off. The diffusion material works really well and it gives off a soft glow so I can read without bothering my wife.

Looks Nice and Works Fantastic!

I set out to make a nice looking lamp that is also a reading light and charges my devices. This lamp accomplished each one of those tasks! I am extremely happy with this project, especially because I could make it up with minimal design planning. This project makes me look back in time to early in my making adventure and relish in the fact that Bob 5 years ago probably couldn’t have pulled this off. The combination of skills I used in this lamp really stepped it up and made it a fixture that can be used for a long time.