Tintin Rocket Lamp – Fly me to the Moon!

If you ever read the Tintin story “Destination Moon”, chances are that the iconic rocket design with its slender curves and the bright colors stuck in your mind just like it did for me. When it was time to make a LED-based project for a challenge (hosted by HolzwurmTom), I decided to pay homage to this design, the Tintin Rocket. Enjoy the video, read more about the project below, and remember to be Inspired!

Design lessons learned from the Tintin Rocket

The most important thing I learned after finishing this project is that is is not as well suited as a reading light as I had hoped. It now serves more of a mood light function, which is okay, too. But to be a proper reading lamp, the light would have to be either more focused somehow, or more widespread as to cover the whole book.

During the design phase, there actually were a few iterations that would have worked in that respect, although looking back now they would have required a different kind of light source – a small LED “bulb” rather than a strip. If you can manage to wrap it enough – more so than I did in the final project – it might be possible to use a strip, too.

The idea was to have the tip of the Tintin rocket separate from the main body – say, the top 4-5 rings. This part would also house the light, and still be connected to the main body with a cable. You would then be able to lift it up and put it in a position to direct the light somehow.

I think the most promising way to achieve that, and the one I almost chose for this, is to have a triangle of three long dowels extending downwards from the top and a hexagon of holes in the bottom, i.e. two matching, offset triangles. One set of holes would be deep enough to accommodate the whole dowels, while the other would be shallow. In one position the tip would sit flush on the bottom, while the shallow holes would elevate it to spread the light a lot better. If you add to that a way to bend the light to one side you would have a proper reading lamp.


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More Things I learned from this Project

The main lesson here is that unless you have inhuman precision and patience, having to get a cove to match a round face should be avoided at all cost. It might work if you have a pipe that stays the same diameter all the way, and a sanding drum of the same diameter (which you could make yourself). On the Tintin Rocket, on the other hand, the diameter changes all the time, and the legs need to attach at the right angle, too. Sanding flat faces in these spots is the much easier solution, especially since you can use some kind of jig to keep the faces roughly aligned – even if it is just a piece of tape on the workbench or on a fence.

Also, screws are not always the answer, especially in tight places like the inside of a tube. I might feel good for a second to be actually able to get it in there and tight, but that short moment of gratification is not worth it at all. Not to mention that it makes drilling the holes for the wires much harder.


Need more Inspiration?

Don’t forget to check out my other projects inspired by some kind of media. You can find many cool ideas there, and I am sure they will inspire you to make something of your own – and if you do please let me know!

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, remember to be Inspired!

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