I absolutely love everything related to space! When decorating our apartment we decided to add a little ‘space corner’ in the hallway for all space related decoration. One thing we bought for this is the LEGO Apollo Saturn V rocket. It first simply hang on the ceiling as an amazing decorating piece. However, I decided to spice it up by turning it into a flaming lamp.
Inspiration for this project came from several people on Reddit posting their design of the rocket taking off inside an Ikea glass case. As my rocket already hangs on the ceiling (and the Ikea glass case houses my girlfriends elephant collection) I wanted to make an alternative design. This would also allow me to address my biggest issue with the other designs: the flames look too tame for a launching rocket.
To get a sense of the rocket “boosting” through the air I bought a so-called flame-light. This lamp emulates a candle, and provides a great ambiance to many balconies here in Munich. It can also be configured to always stay on if you don’t like the flickering part. Luckily this lamp proved to be good enough to make a nice lamp out of. The only downside is that it is “gravity assisted”, which means the flames might look like they go into the motor instead of coming out of it.
Embedding this light in the rocket was the biggest challenge. I made multiple 3D printable designs to fit the lamp in or around the rocket. After a lot of attempts I managed to make a 3D design for a holder which could hold the light in place in the center of the rocket. This does require you to remove the center of the 5 motors of the lego model, but the result is absolutely worth it!
As a last thing I had to find a way to emulate the “liveliness” of the flames, and smoke behind the rocket (as can be seen in this video). I saw other people using cotton, so I bought some in the supermarket. Then the challenge is to find a way to glue it in a nice way around the lamp itself. I tried to design and print many different variations, which you can see below. In the end settled for two rings you can fit over the rocket, put wooden sticks in (I used skewers with a length of 20cm), and can glue cotton on (I used a glue gun for this).
Two designs for the flame which did not make it:
The electricity wire for the light is guided along the top of the rocket so it’s not too distracting when walking underneath it. If someone finds a way to lead to electric cable through the rocket itself using original lego that would be very welcome.
The result is absolutely stunning, as you can see in this video:
Making the lamp yourself is really easy if you have a 3D printer. The three things you have to print can be found on Thingiverse. The biggest thing you have to print is the center console which fits in the rocket. If you live in Munich I happily print it for you! Other things you need are:
- A Lego Saturn V rocket. I bought it at my local Lego shop.
- Wooden sticks (I used the ones you normally use to stick food on before you lay it on the BBQ).
- Cotton: I simply used the cotton you use to clean your face with which you can buy at the supermarket
- A lamp-fitting: also the default one which you buy if you want to hang a (temporary) lamp
- Electric wire
Last but not least I wanted to tell fans of space and rocket launches to watch the Apollo 11 documentary about the first moon landing. It’s an amazing piece of art which I really enjoyed!