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I Made This Macross II Lamp

For the past few years, I've been teaching myself carpentry and related crafts in order to prepare myself for the practical skills of home ownership, as well as be creative. Among less colorful pieces of usable furniture, I've made a My Little Pony cabinet, a Ninja High School lamp, and a One Week Friends light. My latest DIY project is a lamp inspired by Macross II: Lovers Again, one of my favorite animes.


(Video Link)

The lamp consists of 3 lights inside a box cabinet with a figure of Ishtar, one of the main characters of the series, rotating on a disco ball motor.

This was by far the most challenging crafting project I had ever undertaken. When I devise a project idea, I create goals that require that I learn previously unknown skills. For this lamp, my goal was to advance my knowledge of electrical wiring. You can see how by looking at the back of the lamp how much electrical complexity was involved.

That's 3 lights, 8 relays in sockets, 1 fuse in a fuse holder, 2 switches, and 1 electrical motor. My plan was to use a 4 position switch to offer these options:

Position 1: Light 1 on.
Position 2: Lights 1 and 2 on.
Position 3: Lights 1, 2, 3 on.
Position 4: Lights 1, 2, 3, and the rotational motor on.

This was a very bad idea--one that I realized only after I had invested too much time in the project. In truth, I was attempting to build something that, despite my best efforts, I couldn't understand. My father, an engineer, designed the circuit paths. I have tried to understand how it works, but I can't wrap my head around electrical circuitry of this complexity.

And it doesn't work--at least not completely. Some of the switch positions work, but some don't. I have no idea why. It should all work. But it doesn't. And after 3 months of testing and resoldering connections with no progress, I decided it was time to finish the lamp as is.

The carpentry design, at least, is quite sound. The electrical components are mounted on an interior board serving as a false wall. The wires feed through holes toward the front and sides. 1/4 inch plywood partitions separate the lighted sections.

I made the front and top panels as hinged doors and joined all the components with corner braces. This was in order to make it easier to access the interior for maintenance.

The front is all custom work--I cut the glass myself and fashioned window panes with decorative moulding and wood dowels. It's held in place with a magnetic clasp mounted on the top left side.

The Ishtar figurine is a Nendoroid brand figure imported from Japan. It's glued onto a routed wooden base, which its itself glued to a robotics part that grips the shaft of the disco ball motor. I can remove the base by turning a bolt with an Allen wrench.

Working with glass was fun. I'm already thinking about using it for my next project. My idea is to create a stained glass panel and set it in a wooden box frame that is backlit by LEDs. This would hang on the wall as a lamp. Although I overestimated my ability to grasp electrical wiring, I think that, with patience, stained glass is within my reach.

The image that I'm considering for the stained glass panel is the logo of the Exofleet from Exosquad, one of my favorite TV shows.


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Thanks! Carpentry is hard, but it can be empowering to be able to build things.

Just after I had started this lamp, my wife asked me to build a set of shelves to particular specifications. I was able to do so pretty quickly because of my recent experiences.

I have Macross II on VHS, too. It may not be very good anime, but it's one that I remember fondly from my youth.
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Nice carpentry work. I tried my hand at such projects. Turns out I am just bad with tools, even dangerous. Maybe in 30 years when I retire, I may finally earn enough life experience to build a boat on my basement like Mark Harmon's character in NCIS.

BTW, not a big fan of Macross II. I don't like the story or the characters. But I like the opening song (A Hush of 200 Million Years). Makes me not regret, too much, getting the series on VHS tapes.
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