Make a modern industrial DIY copper pipe LED lamp with glowing acrylic rods. Learn all the steps and details you need to know to make this fun project!
You have no idea how stoked I am about this project! I have wanted to make a lighting project for a while and I also really wanted to make something with copper pipes!
So, I decided to put it all together and the result is this fun and cool copper and LED lamp. The glowing acrylic rods are my favorite part!
It does involve a lot of steps but I promise, it is really easy to make!
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- BZ4500HS Heat Shrink Torch
- Bernzomatic Propane Tank
- Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch
- Bernzomatic Butane Cylinder
- 1x3x8 board
- 1x10x4 board
- Miter Saw
- Brad Nailer and 1-¼″ finish nails
- Wood Glue
- Sandpaper (220 grit)
- Clear spray paint
For Copper Pipes
- ¾″ copper pipes
- 45-degree elbows
- 90-degree elbows
- Pipe fitting adapter
- Bench Vice
- Copper solder kit
- Heat Resistant Gloves
- 0000 steel wool
- 1″ Forstner bit
- Pipe cutter
How to build the copper pipe lamp
Below is the complete video of how I built the copper pipe lamp. Take a look to see all the details and tips.
A written step by step tutorial follows below.
Making the lamp involves a few different aspects – building the base out of wood, making the copper pipe structures and soldering them and then wiring and attaching the LED lights and acrylic rods.
Let’s talk about them step by step –
Part 1 – The Base
I decided to build a hexagon base. The process for this is similar to that of building a hexagon shelf.
Make a hexagon
- Cut 1×3 boards with miter saw set to 30-degrees bevel. I cut the short sides to 7″.
- Lay them with short side down and add masking tape across the backs.
- Turn it over and added glue to all the joints and folded it up to make the hexagon.
- I also added a couple of brad nails to hold it all together and let it dry overnight.
Top and bottom of base
- Trace and cut out a hexagon for the top (to overlap sides) and the bottom (to inset) from a 1×10 using a jigsaw
- Attach the top with wood glue and brad nails.
- Use a 1” forstener bit to make the holes for the pipe adapters.
- Torch the base with the BZ4500HS torch for a charred look.
- Sand, wipe off and seal it with clear spray sealer.
- Once, it has dried, add adapters to the wood base.
Part 2 – Copper pipes
- Using a pipe cutter, cut up the copper pipes to desired lengths.
- Assemble the structures using the copper elbow couplings.
I didn’t have a concrete idea of what I wanted the structure to look like. So, I cut a few random lengths and played with the combinations of couplings and pipes till I was happy with the final styles.
It’s time to solder the copper pipes.
- First, clean the outside of the copper pipes (using sandpaper)and the inside of the copper coupling (using wire brush) to prepare it for soldering.
- Next, apply flux (from the Bernzomatic Solder and Flux Kit) to the outside of the copper pipe and the inside of the coupling.
- Heat the joint with the BZ4500HS torch.
- Once the copper is hot, remove the flame and touch the soldering wire. If the copper is hot enough, the solder will melt and seep into the space between the pipe and coupling. and make the joint.
I was pleasantly surprised at how fast and clean the join was.
Tip: A wet rag at hand is good to clean the joints when hot to wipe off any extra solder and flux.
I realized that I ended having to wait for the copper to cool down before being able to make the next joint. So, instead of making each joint one by one, I decided to just assemble the entire structure and then start soldering.
- Remove the heat discoloration by buffing it with 0000 steel wool.
RELATED – How to inlay solder using a blow torch
Part 3 – Lights
The process written here is slightly different from how I made it the video since I realized it was easier to do it this way.
- Snake the extra wires through the copper pipes from the bottom to the top.
- Solder the top ends to the wires on the LED lights to make them longer.
I used the Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch. It comes with a soldering tip and heats up pretty fast.
- Added heat shrink tubing to each of the joints so they don’t short out with each other or the copper pipes.
The Bernzomatic detail torch can work as a heat gun too! Just remove the tip and use it.
- Put the copper pipes with LEDs into the pipe adapters in the hexagon base.
I decided not to attach these since they stay put because of gravity but can easily be rotated around to change up the orientation.
Install power and switch
- For the external connection, drill a hole on one of the sides and insert the adapter with the screw connector. You might need to use an adhesive to keep it in place.
- Make a hole and insert the switch.
- Collect together and connect all the positive wires from the LEDs to the positive of the switch. Use solder and heat shrink tubing.
- Collect together and connect all the negative wires from the LEDs and connect an extra wire to extend it. Use solder and heat shrink tubing.
- Connect the negative from the switch to the positive terminal of the screw adapter and the negative from the LEDs to the negative terminal of the screw adapter.
- Insert the hexagon inset into the bottom of the base. It was snug enough that I didn’t need to use any nails but you can use some if needed.
- Cut acrylic rods using a miter box and handsaw.
- “Frost” the acrylic rods by sanding them with 400 grit sandpaper under flowing water.
- Attach the rods in the copper pipes using a small dab of hot glue.
That is it!!!
Did I tell you already how excited I am that I was able to take a crazy idea in my mind and make it come to life?!
The copper pipe lamp is the perfect blend of industrial and modern styles!
I had so much fun working on this LED project.
There are sure to be a few more in the future!