“Blinky” Pac-Man Ghost Turning Lamp

August 5, 2012

Update: The Instructable tutorial to build your own lamp has been posted!

I’ve been on this retro gaming kick lately and so I present my newest creation. It’s based on the Japanese “Mawari-Doro” or turning lamp.  I see it as a retro gaming lover’s night light.

I started work on May 30, 2012 when my mom gave me a turning lamp that my parents had luckily found at a garage sale. I reverse engineered it and came up with my own concept. After various redesigns, dead-ends and bouts of trial-and-error I came up with what you see here in late July. The entire process cost me almost $70.

The canvas shell spins due to convection. Heat from the bulb causes the air around it to rise. The rising air passes through the slits in the top and the piece spins. There is no electric motor.

To color the bulb and project the eyes onto the canvas, I used Air-Dry PermEnamel Transparent Glass Paint. If I decide to make more of this guy or his buddies, I’ve come up with a different design that uses a photography gel (a heat-resistant translucent plastic sheet). That way if the bulb burns out, you can remove the gel, change the bulb and reapply the gel.

Check out the pictures below for shots of the lamp at various stages of development as well as my scribbled-down notes and ideas.