“Blinky” Pac-Man Ghost Turning Lamp

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.


4 Responses to “Blinky” Pac-Man Ghost Turning Lamp

  1. kangbashir says:

    Hai, can you give me the template for the canvas, i try to make it but it wont spin

    • jbriddle says:

      Hello. I’m actually writing up an Instructable right now so people can make their own. A PDF of the template will be part of that for download. Getting it to spin is a source of trouble. The contact needs to be just perfect. If there’s too much contact, the friction created will cause the piece not to spin. The piece I used came from the original turning lamp I took apart to make my Blinky lamp. I need to find a way to fabricate it so anyone can build it. The attempts I’ve made so far have been unsuccessful. I’ll keep you in the loop.


  2. kangbashirkang says:

    thanks for the reply, now my lamp can spin, i use needle and metal button like i saw in youtube for the contact, but i still can’t make fin like your design

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