Balance Lamp

This is, shall we say, heavily inspired by the Heng Balance Lamp:

The lamp features two “corks” with rare earth magnets inside that float in opposition to each other. If you separate the corks, the bottom one will fall, and the light will turn off.

I was hunting around for a second project to attempt on my GlowForge. I have some 3D modeling experience, but nothing recent, so I knew I wanted to spend some time modeling something in Fusion 360, to get some practice in. I saw @m_raynsford’s Instructables tutorial for this lamp, and I was thinking about redesigning it from scratch, just for the practice. Then I was invited to a wedding for some folks I don’t know very well, but I was told as a wedding gift, they were looking for bedside lamps. It’s like it was meant to be. :wink: (p.s. If you know a couple named Tejas and Archana getting married next weekend in Toronto - Shhhh.)

So, this is my take on the Heng Balance Lamp. I sort of used @m_raynsford’s design as a starting point - I also built up the hoop from layers, and used “corks” instead of balls. I knew I wanted the base of my lamp to have at least 20% more living hinge, though. :slight_smile:

Since this was going to be a gift, I had to make sure it was going to stand up to use. The couple this is for live four hours away by car, and I don’t want to give a wedding gift that breaks every week. Originally I wanted to make it so the lamp could easily be opened to get at the internals - I designed a slick bayonet style mount that would let you twist off the lamp’s top. This took up a lot of space, and meant my wires and the string were taking up the same space and rubbing against each other. Also, I had problems with the string I was using stretching, and I was trying to tie the string to the end of the microswitch but had problems with it slipping. So I ditched the bayonet mount in favor of just gluing everything together. I also replaced the string with a chain. The chain goes through what is essentially a big wooden “button” in the middle of the lamp, which pushes on the microswitch.

Since I’m from Canada, this lamp is an exciting mix of imperial and metric units. The lamp is made from 3mm and 6mm draftboard, plywood which was labeled 1/4" but was actually 5mm (which is not even close to 1/4"), and some 1/4" solid oak. Assembly is straightforward; start with this, and add some glue:

Since the lamp has a small base, @m_raynsford used lead shot to weight the bottom of the lamp. Lead shot is remarkably hard to find here in Ottawa - it’s evidently banned Canada-wide for hunting birds for environmental reasons, so most of the hunting shops don’t carry it. There’s some places I can get it online, but shipping lead is remarkably expensive. I got the clever idea to try “soft weights” from dive shops, which are basically bags of lead shot, but most of the dive shops don’t carry them this time of year. In the end I went to a wheel shop, and they gave me a bunch of discarded wheel weights for free. I put these in a 1" tall base, and filled the whole thing with epoxy to stop the wheel weights from sliding around. (@jtbarrett - this is that same epoxy I mentioned to you the other day.)

Bill of materials:

If anyone is interested in plans, I’m happy to share. :slight_smile: (Edit: Plans and detailed build instructions are lower down in this thread.)


Fantastic! Simply stunning! :grinning:

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Very pretty. It sort of looks like it started its life as a Dyson bladeless fan, but the wood makes it amazing.


Exceptional project @jwalton

That looks high-end store-bought, not home made.
You are on a winner if you offer these for sale me’thinks


Where does one get metric sized wood? I have a project that requires 3mm and that slot together and me silly thinking i can use proofgrade…nope. The pieces don’t fit

Absolutely love the look with the living hinge use on the base. Beautiful!

Excellent detail on that build. Very professional finish :sunglasses:

Most of the world?

Seriously though, you could try a business that imports non-US products.
The other option is to plane it down?

All the wood for this I got at Home Depot. Mostly from the 2’x4’ hobby panel section, because it fits in my car. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I made an attempt at making a box for this too:

This was very educational. There’s a lot that goes into a well designed box. Most of which didn’t make it into this box. :slight_smile:


Magnificent!! I mean, really, just wow!

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I would love the plans to this! If you’re willing to share, I’d like to give it a go! I might add a set of RGB LEDs. I have tons of those lying about.


In Canada materials mostly follow Imperial sizes for wood and hardware for building materials because alot of metal and wood is purchased from the USA and to be blunt really sucks. We prefer to go metric but we are tied to the USA that closely

I buy for a manufacturing firm and most we build is for US customers. It can cost 4 times more for 3mm screw versus a 1/8 screw. When I buy for international customers I have to import the material from Europe or Asia just because they design in metric.

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Oh I haven’t raided home depot yet as I still have alot of proofgrade and plan to use up my credit first :joy:

I totally get that, Japan was the same because they mostly imported US wood.

Australia has a weird mix of Imperial (for instance the old 2" x 4" is still a standard) and Metric (any newer product) but again they are all measured in Metric so even buying a 2x4 you see the metric size only.

If you are comfortable buying from OS then ebay is your friend, i did a google search before my first response and there were heaps of 3mm options there (and for once Australian suppliers flooded my options instead of Asian, US or European)


I should have been more clear. I meant buying locally instead of online. I have no issues buying overseas. I just wish we are all on metric globally. I only seen imperial sizes here but I haven’t searched very hard yet

I haven’t decided if I will design metric or imperial. Do you think it will confuse international people if they receive imperial designed specs?

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The building code here in Ontario is hilarious; wood studs in residential construction must be 406mm, or 609mm on-center. If you’re wondering where such a weird number comes from; it’s 16 inches and 24 inches converted into mm, because all the drywall here is 4 feet wide, because we get it from the US (and 16 and 24 both divide evenly into 48).

It’s just so funny that they specify it to the millimeter; “Nope, this stud is 407mm on-center; tear the house down.”


Nice looking box. I love the lamp, too. I’m pondering, though, the practicality of it with 2 cats. :cat: :cat:

That’s confusing to me. Drywall and stud wood go hand in hand. I see why they have to do that in the code but it’s awkward. My generation was taught in Imperial distance and weight so my brain is hardwired to think in inches and pounds. Yet volume was taught in metric so I think in litres. I’m happy my kids are only being taught metric but if they go into manufacturing it’ll be a struggle.

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Take some digital calipers with when looking at wood … use the metric scale. :sunglasses: