Making a Machinists Lamp

desk lamp
Machinists Desk Lamp

Some time ago I bought some second-hand snubs, one I used in my DTI stand, the other I thought in making a machinists lamp.

secondhand snub

The secondhand snub, not sure if it was an apprentice piece. I actually bought two snubs very cheaply at a car boot.

The other snub was used to upgrade my magnetic DTI base.

Lamp Base

machining the machinists lamp base

The machinists lamp base being held in the Warco WM240B.

I faced the 3 inch round steel and then slightly inset the centre portion, giving me an outer 3mm rim that the lamp would rest on.

the DTI base

Very quickly I had a DTI base.


I still had to make another snub for the attachment of the lamp holder, a GU10 based lamp.

Firstly though I need to cut the piece of mild steel to size, mark it, centre punch and drill.

The rounding of the holder went back again to my simple trick of using an axle and taking lots of skimming cuts at a fixed height.

Lamp Holder

Holding up a GU10 bulb to see what the scale of the holder needs to be.

So often I go with a rough sketch and a few numbers, making the rest up as I go along.

mild steel tube

A mild steel round tube for the lampholder. This bridges the gap between the back of the lampholder and the front shroud.

end of light holder

The base has two 3mm blind threaded holes, these are to allow me to fix the ceramic GU10 lamp socket.

The post at 90° is threaded 5mm x 0.5mm both ends. One end getting firmly wound into the lamp holder base.

soldering steel

Sometimes you just need a big 100 Watt soldering iron.

broken tap

My original thought was to make a square end plate for the lamholder. This would then allow me to fit wooden barn doors. However, I got it really wrong when I broke a centredrill and then a 3mm tap.

Time for a rethink on the lampholder design.

The final output of the Making a Machinists Lamp story. Shown here illuminating my lamp post engine.

desk lamp
The final lamp with wiring (note hole through the base for the fabric mains cable)
About Nigel 338 Articles
I've been making models since I was around 7 years old and using a lathe from the age of 11, a self taught engineer with a passion for making model engines.


  1. HI Nigel, I’ve just been through the whole of your site covering the traction engine build. I’m in the process of building “Minnie” which I started in 1976 on the other side off the world. I was hoping to see how you machine the inside ridges of the rear wheel rims. I managed to get two pieces of 6″ schedule 40 pipe with 1/2″ wall to make them. I’ve trued up the blanks but haven’t tackled the insides yet. Also Minnie’s strakes are riveted on not machined as you’ve done. I also managed to get 4″ x 1/2″ tube for the front rims so that is also waiting. Have you now finished your engine or have you had to divert to other things. Well done on your build so far. I look forward to the rest.
    RonW Canada.

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