The need for outdoor ligthning was obvious when i and my (now ex) girlfriend moved to the countryside. It's absolutely pitch black here sometimes. Hard to navigate when you forgot something in the car or need more wood for the stove. On the other hand you can see the stars here really good.
I checked the market and as usual i found most of the items too expensive or esteticaly unpleasing (fugly) I thought i could make something at least as ugly for haft the price.
One day when i was bying stuff to make my vintage Saab last another year i found my self looking at exaustpipes and realised that two pipes fitted together would make a quite nice lamppost.
The projekt started in the autum last year when i dug down a cable from the house to two spots in the garden where i thought a lamp would be needed. The cable was found near our house, connected to the garage and leading about 40-50 meters straight out into the forest to where a waterpump probably had been a long time ago. Together with the cable was a 32mm PEX pipe that we also salvaged.
Step 1: Electricity
This is the part where you need to know what do to. I sweden the law says you can connect loose parts such as lamps and switshes as long as you know what to do. You are not allowed to make changes to the fixed part of a installation without proper education. I do have the needed education and experience so i feel quite safe when making stuff like this. If you dom not feel safe - let a qualified person do it. Electricity is completly harmless until you make a mistake. Then i can kill not only the person who made the mistake bit anyone who happens to trigger the fault.
Follow the law, guidlines and common sense. Ask around if you are not sure.
The cable was graded to be dug down in the ground but to give it extra protection i hid parts of it in a 32mm plastic pipe. As we had a rather demanding resoration i only did as mutch as needed at that time. I cast two concrete footings just a week before the frost came and connected a used celing lamp just to get something that shone. (made sure the water couldnt leak in)
A while earlier i had found a connection box i a dumpster and i used that to install the control for the lamp. It's a bit silly but it dosent rely on a light sensor but has a calender built in so it keeps track of when the sun goes up and down. I will probably be replaced by my arduino at some later stage. The connection box is a bit big but vill host more things later on.
To make the connection between the lamp cord and the cable in the ground i used a connection box with IP67, it waterproof and should last. Do not just use electrical tape or similar, it has to be a absolutely waterproof solution. There are special boxes that are designed to be in the ground, i admit they can be expensive but a good alternative to "i'll just wrap this in enough tape" witch eventually will lead to short circuit, damage and fire.
Step 2: Foundation
The foundation was cast i a ordinay paper tube. I am sorry for not taking pictures but i made it like in the picture but with the top of the casting iron flush with the ground. I dug using a earth drill and shovel, made the hole about ten centimeters below freezing level.
The freezing level vary depending on where you live, here its about 70 cetimeters. Makes digging stuff in the ground a bit tedious.
In the bottom i put gravel to give it a "foot" to prevent the frost from pushing it out of the ground.
The grass was pushed aside and then put back when the lamp post had been put in.
Step 3: Welding
The exaust pipes are made of galvanized iron to last in the harsh enviroment under a swedish car *
The coat is made of zinc and that is very dangerous, read here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_fume_fever why you chould do the welding in a very well ventilated area, ie outdoors. Be careful and use common sense!
The smaller pipe was fitted to the larger using flat steel and then i made a little roof from ordinary sheet metal. To prevent rusting i sprayed everything with galvanized spray paint.
* They salt the roads to prevent the ice and to make sure we by new cars regulary. I refuse to be a part of that and has found a 1975 Saab station wagon and learned to weld instead. ;)
Step 4: The Lamp
The lampglobe was a gift from i friend that didnt need it anymore, he upgraded to a more modern lamp.
It was mounted to a wall so i just cut of the wallmount and welded it to the exaust pipe.
The lamp that i used was a ~3 Watt LED, a bit more expensive than the old kind of lamp but contains nor mercury and needs very little energy, seems to last a wery long time also.
Here you can use a lot of differnt lamps but make sure the water cannot in any way leak into the electric parts.
Step 5: Finish and Paint
The post was grinded with a anglegrinder to smooth all bumps and then i used chemical metal to even out the last bits. Since the exaust pipes are galvanized they need a primer for zinc before you apply the real paint. I used the cheaper variant of Hammerite paint and it seems lika it did a good job.
To conclude this i could say that i am quite satisfied with the lamp, it was easy to make, i can repair it wen the need comes and the LED lamp will hopefully last a long time. Be careful about the electric parts and the zinc, other than that its a simple job.
If you want to the lamp could easily be made in all sort of types. If you know how to cast (or need a resonable excuse to learn, there are many instuctions here on Ible.) you could make all sorts of decorations on it.
As usual i beg your pardon for bad english, it's not my native language.