It’s all Light Fun and Bulb Art Until 2012

Who knows if you’ll be able to do this kind of stuff after 2012, when incandescent bulbs will be illegal, thanks to Bush and countless dimwits in Congress. This is sure something you don’t want to try with a mercury-laced CFL bulb!

Anyway, so I’ve wanted to make an LED bulb for some time. The first stumbling block was, ahem, time. The second was figuring out what to use for the actual bulb portion. As I was thinking of it this evening, I figured why not try an existing light bulb (expired, dead, non-working, etc.) and see if I could figure out a way to turn it into an LED bulb. One that is battery-operated, by the way; I’m not yet ready to begin playing with LEDs and 120 volts.

I searched on Google for how to “take apart a light bulb” and this was the first result. The instructions were pretty good, and I was fortunate enough to get it right the first time, which is lucky considering I only had one dead bulb to work with.

Cleaning out the powder took the longest. I got most of it out with a paper towel, but then had to resort to pouring a little bit of sand (salt would work too) inside and shaking it about. Finally, I rinsed it out with water, and that took care of everything.

Of course, after doing that, I realized that I should have tried to keep the powder coating intact, as that would have served to diffuse the LED light.

The wattage and company logo that were imprinted on the outside of the bulb were easily removed with a broken X-Acto blade. A razor blade would have worked as well.

So, I have a nice, clean, empty bulb now. I’d take a photo, but my camera is recharging. I have to wait for the bulb to dry before I can start the LED conversion.

At any rate, if you read through the comments on the aforementioned page, you’ll see a lot of neat things people are doing with dead bulbs, giving them a second life!

First, if you plan on doing this with LEDs, you’ll find these links handy (all of which were mentioned in the aforementioned comments):

I’m not the only one who wants to make their own LED bulb; check out this one with photos and instructions.

Also, with larger bulbs some people are making small aquariums for bettas or shrimp. Read through the comments on the aforementioned page, and you’ll get ideas from a flower vase to a ship-in-a-bulb.

If you decide to give it a try, remember to be careful. I wrapped my bulb in paper towels and then placed that inside of a plastic shopping bag. Any broken pieces went right into the bag and, had things went badly, all the broken pieces of glass from the bulb would have (most likely) stayed right in the paper towels and bag for easy clean-up!

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