by Fred Nelson Fabrication

"da Vinci meets Edison" mechanical wood lamp.

Steam punk lamp assembly instructions, parts, and hardware:

This page is for customers that have purchased our wood lamp kit or the .dxf format CNC files and need help with assembly buy the dxf file now click here.

Exact sizes and shapes may vary slightly from the drawings shown. Most parts are 1/4 inch thick, lamp shade parts and a few washers are 1/8 inch. Several of the washers are extra/spare parts.

WOOD (MDF) LIST:  LEGEND: Description (number required) Material thickness.1 inch washer 3/8th  hole (several) 1/4 and 1/8, 1 inch gear (1) 1/4 inch thick, .25 inch  id .43 inch OD washer (several) 1/4 and 1/8, .75 inch washer .25 inch hole (several) 1/4 and 1/8, 1.25 inch washer 3/8ths hole (several) 1/4 and 1/8, base box (1) 1/4 inch thick, base gusset small (2) 1/4 inch thick, crank (1) 1/4 inch thick, lamp rib (5 or more) 1/8 inch thick, lamp ring  A (1)  1/8 inch thick, lamp ring B (1) 1/8 inch thick, lamp ring C (1) 1/8 inch thick, lamp wrist (2) 1/4 inch thick, lamp wrist washer1/4 and 1/8, Main beam B 1/4 inch thick, Main foot (2) 1/4 inch thick, main gear 010814 (1) 1/4 inch thick, secondary gear (2) 1/4 inch thick, small external gears (2) 1/4 inch thick, stay bracket rev (2) 1/4 inch thick, strut lower B1 (2) 1/4 inch thick, switch cover plate (1) 1/4 inch thick, switch group (1) 1/4 inch thick, top shock (2) 1/4 inch thick, top strut (2) 1/4 inch thick, top shock shim (several) 1/4 and 1/8, top shock washer big (several) 1/4 and 1/8, top tab (2) 1/8 inch thick

VERIFY THE SCALE.         Depending on your software the dxf file may or may not be the proper scale (especially if you are converting to metric). See the image to the left. The largest part is the 'main arm' and should be 18.1925 inches long if you have the drawing scaled correctly (462.09 mm).


Making the drive axles.  The axles are made of common 3/8 OD treaded tubing (a.k.a 1/8 i.p. ) found in most lamps also known as a 'brass nipple'. There are 2 axles which will need 1/8 inch holes drilled and pins inserted. The crank axle has a pin at one end for the the crank and a pin in the center for the 1 inch drive gear. The main gear (large gear) axle has a pin on each end for the secondary gears and one in the middle for the main gear.  I used an 1/8 inch copper plated steel pin (dent pulling stud), however, any 1/8 inch steel material such as a large nail can be used.


Insert the pin into the hole drilled in the axle, slip the gear over the axle and seat the pin in the slot. On the small external gears, install a washer, spacer, and cap to hold the gear in place. The axles need to be cut at a precise length so the caps will seat against the pin before bottoming out. The brass spacer seen here is a 'eyelet' rivet (for a tarp), the cap is a brass 'lamp final'.


The base box is made of 1/4 MDF.  Use wood glue to assemble. You can drill a hole in the rear panel and route the wall cord out that hole to better hide the electrical. You may want to ad some weights inside the base i.e. sand bag or lead shot. Wire up the switch before gluing the top in place.  Do not glue the switch plate down, use screws (for future access if needed). If you decide to add weight later, you can add it through the hole under the switch plate.


The lever switch uses a common wall switch. The sides are inserted into the switch plate then glued in place with common wood glue. The 'pin' is a common brass door hinge pin cut to length and drilled on the end for a cotter pin (I used a small length of brass wire to make a fancy looking home-made cotter pin). Use wood washers inside and brass washers outside.


The medium size gears (secondary gears) need to 'freewheel'. There are no pins. Cut the axle to a precise length so as to trap the assembly together with as little play as possible but avoid making things too tight so the gears can turn easily enough. The caps should bottom out just as the assembly is tight enough (but not too tight). Start with the axles a little long then trim them down until you get the proper fit.


The base gussets are installed with 1/4 diameter brass bolts. Use a stack of wood washers inside the 'main foot' so as not to squeeze the assembly together when tightening these bolts. The crank handle is a common brass plated drawer knob. The crank is designed to be turned in a clockwise direction (as indicated by the arrow on the 'main beam' ) so the knob and other hardware won't unscrew as you turn the assembly.


The 'wrist' is made of 2 pieces of 1/4 MDF stacked together to form a 1/2 thick part.  Brass door hinge pins are used for the smaller diameter hinge pins. Cut to length and drilled on the end for a fancy cotter pin. The larger diameter hinge pins are made of 3/8 brass nipple cut to length so the caps bottom out before the assembly becomes too tight.  Cut the tubes a little long then shorten them until you get the proper fit. Here we see some 1/4 brass washers, 3/8 brass washers, lamp , fancy 'lamp check rings' (flutted washer), and an acorn 'lamp final' (knob).


Here we see how the push rods or 'struts' attach to the medium gears. The bolt is a 1-5/8 long x 1/4 inch diameter brass bolt counter sunk into the back of the gear and tightened against the gear with a lock nut. The small dark spacers are actually .25 ID .50 OD wood washers 1/4 thick. The brass cap nut needs to bottom out before the assembly become too tight. The wood spacers can be trimmed until the proper fit/tension is achieved.


How the gears work: The crank and internal 1 inch gear are pinned to an axle. The crank turns the lower internal 1 inch gear which then drives the largest gear.  The large gear and the two small external gears are pinned to an axle. The large gear turns the 2 external small gears which mesh with the medium size gears.  The medium gears are NOT pinned and allowed to "freewheel".  All of the 1/4 inch parts can be made of MDF, however, I used 1/4 plywood on the gears and struts (pushrods) for added strength.


The angle shaped brackets (brass foot) which attach the 'stay bracket' to the box top are common brass 'shelf pins'. The pin fits into a hole on the stay bracket. Drill a hole in the flat part of the pin and attach it to the box with a brass wood screw. You'll need to drill a hole in the top of the box too for this screw (not pre-drilled). Push the brass brackets tightly against the stays for a snug fit.  I chose not to pre-drill the box since you'll be drilling the shelf pin. The holes need to line-up perfectly for a snug fit. If you drill the hole in the brass slightly off center, that's ok since you'll drill the hole in the top of the box to match.

The above information should be enough to get you going and the remainder of the details are self explanatory.  Study the photos below carefully before beginning. All of the brass lamp, shelf, hinge, and tarp eyelet parts are common Home Depot hardware. There is a great online source also for the lamp parts at:



1/4 inch hole Brass 'finish' washer.







Brass tarp grommet (eyelet). 2 required.  Mostly decorative. Can be omitted.





Brass shelf "pin" bracket







Brass hinge pin







Brass or copper picture frame wire






"Acorn" lamp finial 3/8






Brass lamp finial (bracket cap) 3/8








Brass embossed finial washer (3/8 hole)






Brass 1/4-20 cap nut








Brass 1/4-20 nut






Brass lock nut (a.k.a. panel nut or jam nut)






Brass 1/4 inch washer







1/8 inch Copper dent pulling rivet (or equivalent, a nail will work). These are used to 'pin' some of the gears and the crank handle to the various to the axles. 5 required. One on the largest gear, one on each of the 2 external small drive gears, one on the smallest internal drive gear attached to the crank, one for the crank lever.  Cut off the head, cut to 1.125 inch length.








Brass 'pipe nipple' (a.k.a. 1/8 i.p.). Several sections of various lengths are needed. Buy a long piece if possible and cut lengths as required.







Brass or brass plated drawer knob for the crank.






"Edison" style or other vintage style bulb. Available at Home Depot.








3/8ths brass washer

Brass wood screw


Steam punk wood lamp parts inventory


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