Making a cheap task light

While I love having a shop, one of the few things that I don’t like about mine is the lighting. It’s a 2 car garage with no windows, and while I’ve upgraded the lighting over the years, ceiling lights are only capable of so much. For example, if I’m turning a deep wood bowl, its hard to see the tip of the cutting tool. This is potentially dangerous because you have a higher chance of a catch when you can’t see what you are doing. On my mill, safety is less of a concern, but not being able to see the work, can turn a simple task into a choir.

The best way to fix this type of issue is to use task lights, so you can aim the light right where you need it most. Task lights range in price from “um OK”, to “holly hell”. Decent lights that use incandescent bulbs start around $50, and models that use LED lights seem to hover around $200. If I was spending 8 hours a day 5 days a week standing at a machine I’d probably just buy a good light. However, I’m a hobbyist and probably spend no more than 4 hours a week in the shop on average, so I wanted a cheaper solution.

John Mills Aka doubleboost and Chris at Clickspring have both done videos about cheap LED lights from Ikea that can be used as task lights in the home shop. I liked their concepts so much I ran with it. I wanted my lights to be as mobile as possible, so I designed a small magnetic base for them, that uses cheap rare earth magnets. Below are the blueprints for the base, a link to the lights I used, and a video showing the construction of the bases.


JANSJÖ LED work lamp

Posted in: Machining, Videos


  • Glen
    October 15, 2016

    Hey Dan,

    I don’t have a metal lathe, have you ever thought of making a couple to sell?


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