DIY Magnetic Light Base

Photo: DIY Light Base (magnetic_light_base_00)

I like to add my own magnetic bases to my IKEA Jansjo or QUANS gooseneck LED lights. I have gooseneck LED lights on magnetic bases all over my studio. On my lathes, bandsaws, drill press, and grinders. On the dust hood in my carving area, etc.

This blog entry shows some examples of my lights in use, talks about magnet and light options, and then step by step instructions on how to make your own magnetic bases.

The above photos shows two of my lights. The one on the left is two LED gooseneck lights on a $7 "Ceramic Cup Magnet" with 80 pounds of holding power. The one on the right is two LED gooseneck lights on a $13 "Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base" with 45 pounds of holding power.

All of the LED goosenecks light in the photo are "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light" lights. Each light is 500 lumens each. Two of them is like two old fashion 60 watt incandescent light bulbs.

Magnet Base in Use Examples

Photo: Magnet Base in Use Examples (magnetic_light_base_50)

Here are some examples of my magnetic bases in use.

The above photo shows 2 magnetic bases with 4 lights. This is what I like. One light on the headstock side. Lighting the chuck area. One light on the tailstock side. Lighting the live center area. Two lights in the middle.

I often reach up an adjust the lights when I am turning. The 19" gooseneck on the "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light" is just right. Not to stiff or soft. It stays put were you put it. Easy to adjust on the fly.

Note: This photo was taken at night, with just one overhead light on in my studio. Just enough overhead light to see the gooseneck lights in the photo.

I have lots of windows and overhead florescent warm white lights in my studio. If I take photos with the sun out or my overhead lights on then they over power things. There is way to much STUFF in my studio. You will not be able to pick out the gooseneck lights in photos.

Photo: Magnet Locations (magnetic_light_base_51) Magnet Locations

When I do not have an Overhead Steel Light Bar , I like one magnet on the headstock with 2 lights and one magnet on my Big Gulp Dust Hood with 2 lights.

I have a piece of 1/8" thick by 2" wide by 12" long steel attached to the back of my Big Gulp Dust Hood with pop rivets. This give me a place to attach the magnet. I can easily grab the magnet, pull it off, and move it anywhere (left or right) on the dust hood. I can also move the entire hood forwards or backwards.

I have a shelf on the top of my headstock (see Headstock Shelf for Powermatic 3520C Lathe for more info). Thus I added a little metal "L" bracket for the headstock light magnet. The bracket is attached to a piece of Strut Channel from Home Depot electrical department.

Note: The Strut Channel attaches to the headstock via the bolt holes molded into the headstock of my Powermatic 3520C for the guard/comparator bracket. The bottom of the strut channel is used to attach my dust hood. It is a "Big Gulp Ultimate Lathe Hood" from "Penn State Industries". i.e. there are 3 adjustable, sliding mounting bars on the bottom of the dust hood. On of the bars connects to the bottom of strut channel via another "L" bracket. Thus I can slide the headstock and the dust hood as one unit.

Photo: Just 2 Lights (magnetic_light_base_52) Just 2 Lights

This photo was taken at night, with NO overhead lights on in my studio.

This is how much light you get from TWO of the "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light" lights. They are 500 lumens each. Like two old fashion 60 watt incandescent light bulbs.

See "How Bright Is The Light?" in my "QUANS Led Lamp replacement for IKEA Jansjo Led Lamp" blog entry for more info.

Photo: Just 4 Lights (magnetic_light_base_53) Just 4 Lights

This photo was taken at night, with NO overhead lights on in my studio.

This is how much light you get from FOUR of the "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light" lights. They are 500 lumens each. Like four old fashion 60 watt incandescent light bulbs.

This is what I like. 4 lights. Plus my overhead lights on the ceiling. (No overheads lights in this photo.)

Note: The two and four light photos look pretty much the same. Why? Because the auto brightness function on my digital camera makes them look the same. You really can't trust, or evaluate the brightness of any photo taken with modern digital cameras and/or run thru Photoshop. Yea, I could go back and dork around with my in camera manual mode and take the photos again. But, I have better things to do!

Photo: Let There Be Light (magnetic_light_base_54) Let There Be Light

I have LED lights on magnetic bases all over my studio. On my bandsaws, drill press, and grinders. On the dust hood in my carving area, etc.

I had to stage this photo. Otherwise the black goosenecks on the lights just disappear. That is what you want when you are using them! Not good for photos.

Purchase Magnet

Photo: Purchase Magnet (magnetic_light_base_14)

I like to use a Round Base CERAMIC cup magnet with a Chrome or Zinc-Plated Steel base. The magnet I like has 80 pounds of holding power and is 2-5/8" diameter by 3/8" thick magnet. The middle one in the above photo.

It is just right! Not to strong. Not to weak. Not to big. I can pull this magnet off with a good hard yank. But, it is not easy. Thus, it will not come off on it's own. It works good for hanging two "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Lights" from an Overhead Steel Light Bar.

I have tried the other round base magnets in the photo. The one on the right is a 3-3/4" diameter by 1/2" thick magnet with 140 pounds of holding power. This magnet is way to strong. I CAN NOT pull it off. Prying it off with a screw driver is a bitch!

The round one on the left is a 2" diameter by 1/4" thick magnet with 42 pounds of holding power. Not strong enough. To wimpy.

The square magnet on the left is a "Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base". The magnet pulls when the switch is in the "On" position. The magnet does not pull when "Off". Some people like this style of magnet. I have mixed feelings about them. They work fine. But, they are heavy! Lots of square edges. If one of these accidentally fell off my Overhead Steel Light Bar it could really hurt me.

Another draw back is moving one these bases pretty much requires two hands. The base will drop off or drop over when you switch it to off. Thus you need one hand to hold the base and one hand to switch it off. You can just pull my round ceramic cup base magnet off with one hand. A real advantage when you are moving them around on the fly as you turn.

The label on the side of the HF base says it is 45 pounds of holding power. It actually feels like it is a little stronger than that to me. It is ok. But, not as strong as my 80 pound round magnet.

Photo: 80 lb Round Base Magnet (amazon_80lb_magnet) 80 lb Round Base Magnet

This is the 80 pound HOLDING POWER, round base CERAMIC magnet that I like.

I like 80 pound magnets because I can pull them off with a good hard yank. But, it is not easy. Thus, they don't come off on there own. They work good for hanging two "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Lights" from an Overhead Steel Light Bar.

Google "CMS Ceramic Cup Magnet 80 lb"

Note: Amazon recently change the name of this item on the web. It was "CMS Magnetics Powerful Cup Magnets 80 LB Holding Power Dia 2.65", Large & Strong Ceramic Round Base Magnets with Mounting Hole, 3 Pieces".

Photo: McMaster 80 lb Round Magnet (mcmaster_80lb_magnet) McMaster 80 lb Round Magnet

This is the McMaster version of the above magnet. I purchased most of my magnets from McMaster. Amazon is now 3 for the price of 1 at McMaster.

I can't tell the difference.

Note: McMaster sells Ceramic and Neodymium magnets. If you just search on round magnet, it comes up with the more expensive neodymium magnets. Search for "Encased Ceramic Magnet" on www.McMaster.com, item # 5819K35.

Neodymium magnets are commonly called "Super" magnets. The 2-5/8" diameter x 3/8" thick Neodymium magnet on McMaster is 200 pounds of pull. To strong! You are going to need 10 strong men to pry that magnet off!

Photo: Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base (hf_magnetic_base) Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base

This magnetic base is the starting point for lots of DIY projects all over You Tube and the web. Why? The price is right! $13 on 10/11/23 at Harbor Freight in Poughkeepsie NY.

The label on the side of the base says it is 45 pounds of holding power. It is ok. But, not as strong as my 80 pound magnets.

Google "Harbor Freight Multi Position Magnetic Base"

Note: The HF base is threaded to take a metric M8x1.25 bolt or machine screw. i.e. the end of the silver rod sticking up in the photo is metric M8x1.25.

Photo: Amazon On/Off Switched Magnetic Base (amazon_132lb_magnet_base) Amazon On/Off Switched Magnetic Base

If you want to pay more for the above Harbor Freight base you can get it on Amazon. $22 at Amazon on 11/1/2023.

Amazon with free prime shipping may be cheaper if you don't have a local Harbor Freight.

Google "Amazon Magnetic Base Without Adjustment Arm"

Purchase Light

Photo: QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light (amazon_quans_gooseneck) QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light

You can use any gooseneck LED light that floats your boat. If not a LED light then the head may be to heavy for my suggested magnet.

I like the "QUANS 5W COB LED Gooseneck Light". Because it is like the old IKEA Jansjo light. The perfect light. Not to bright, not to dim. The 19" gooseneck is not to stiff or soft. It stays put were you put it. The Amazon price was $17 on 10/11/2023.

See my QUANS Led Lamp replacement for IKEA Jansjo Led Lamp blog entry for more info.

Photo: Cord and Switch are 110 Volts AC (magnetic_light_base_01) Cord and Switch are 110 Volts AC

BEWARE! The cord and switch on the "QUANS 5W COB Led Gooseneck Light" are 110 volts AC, all the way to the lamp head. If you cut and splice the cord, then you need to use wire nuts or solder the connection and insulate with good electrical tape or heat shrink tubing.

This warning is here because the old "IKEA Jansjo Led Lamp" was 7 volts DC. People use to cut it up and use it for lots of DIY things. If you got things wrong and you were only dealing with 7 volts DC, then no big deal. The little box on the plug end of the IKEA light converts from 110 volts AC to 7 volts DC. The cord and switch were only 7 volts DC.

The little box on the plug end of the QUANS light is empty. Nothing in it. The cord connects directly to the 110 volt AC plug. See photo.

I really don't see anything wrong with this. We have been living with old incandescent table lamps, etc with 110 volt AC cords and switches for years and years.

Make Adapter Base for Harbor Freight Base

Photo: Make Adapter Base for Harbor Freight Base (magnetic_light_base_31)

After screwing around I decided that using a ROUND adapter on top of the RECTANGULAR "Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base" is the best solution.

Why? The top of the HF base is 2" x 2-1/2" rectangle shape. 2" minus two 1/4" walls is 1-1/2". If you just drill a 1-1/2" hole in the adapter to accommodate the threaded ends of two gooseneck lights and wires then there is not really enough space. Routing out a rectangle hole is not worth the effort. You still don't really have enough space. A 2-1/2" round adapter on top of the HF base is easy, works and looks good.

The HF base is threaded to take a metric M8x1.25 bolt or machine screw. You need to drill a 5/16" hole in the center of adapter base to accommodate the M8 bolt. I have show this in the directions below.

See Make Adapter Base for Round Magnet section below for step by step directions.

Make Adapter Base for Round Magnet

Photo: Make Adapter Base for Round Magnet (magnetic_light_base_30)

I attach the lights to the magnet via an adapter made out of scraps of GOOD 7 layer 3/4" plywood.

See my Good Quality Plywood blog entry for my advice on finding good plywood.

Note: I use the same Adapter Base for round silver magnet or "Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base". The only real difference is the size of the center hole. You need a bigger hole for the HF base. 5/16" rather than 7/32". For more discussion see Make Adapter Base for Harbor Freight Base section above.

Photo: Cut and Drill Plywood (magnetic_light_base_04) Cut and Drill Plywood

The finished adapter will be 2-1/2" diameter by 3/4" tall. Start with an oversized scrap piece of 3/4" thick plywood. A piece that is big enough to SAFELY hold down or clamp down when you drill a 2" diameter hole in it.

Draw 3 concentric circles on your plywood with a compass. A 3" one, with a 2-1/2" one inside of it, with a 2" one inside of it. The 3" one is your rough cut line. The 2-1/2" is the finished diameter of your base. The 2" one is the recessed hole you are going to drill in the center.

Drill a 2" diameter hole, 1/2" deep with in the center with a forstner bit. This hole forms a recess that will be used to accommodate the nut and wire on end of the LED light gooseneck.

Then drill a 1/8" diameter hole all the way thru the plywood. We will use this hole in the next step to center the plywood on the lathe.

BEWARE! You need to use a drill press. The forstner bit is going to try to rip the plywood out of your hands. Thus, you need to clamp the plywood down. Or put the plywood up against a fence. I am using a fence in the photo.

Photo: Make it Round (magnetic_light_base_05) Make it Round

Rough cut the 3/4" plywood with a bandsaw (or what ever you have). Cut OUTSIDE of the 2-1/2" diameter line.

Install ANOTHER scrap piece of plywood in a chuck or on a faceplate. It should be at least 3" in diameter. True it up and make it round if necessary.

Use the tailstock with a live center to jam the adapter base plywood up against the plywood on the chuck or faceplate. Just the tailstock holds it there. No screws or glue. Use the 1/8" hole that you drilled in the previous step to center it, on live center in tailstock.

Use a 1/2" bowl gouge to make it round and 2-1/2" in diameter. Switch to a 1/2" spindle gouge to finish it up and cut thru the last 1/8" into chuck plywood.

Photo: Determine Gooseneck Hole Location (magnetic_light_base_06) Determine Gooseneck Hole Location

Use the light gooseneck NUT to determine where you should drill the hole for the gooseneck. See photo.

You need space to spin the nut to tighten it up. I decided that 5/8" from center is good. See next photo.

Photo: Layout Holes for Goosenecks and Wires (magnetic_light_base_06b) Layout Holes for Goosenecks and Wires

In previous step I decided that 5/8" from center is a good place for the holes. Layout 2 holes (left and right of center) for gooseneck. And 2 more holes (top and bottom) for light cord wires. See photo.

The mounting hole for the machine screw (bolt) that attaches the adapter to magnet goes in the center. It is already marked by hole left over from live center.

Note: I like two gooseneck lights per magnetic base. You can go with just one if you like. Not in the middle!

Photo: Drill Mounting Holes (magnetic_light_base_07) Drill Mounting Holes

Drill two 3/8" diameter holes for the goosenecks.

Drill two 3/16" diameter holes that allow the gooseneck wires to escape.

Note: If I had to do again, I would drill just one 5/16" hole for the wires. Put both wires thru the same hole. This would make splicing the wires latter easier and neater.

If you are going to mount the adapter on a round silver base then drill a 7/32" hole in the center for a 10-24 bolt.

If you are going to mount the adapter on a "Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base" then drill a 5/16" or 8 mm hole in the center for a metric M8 bolt.

Photo: Bottom of Adapter with Holes (magnetic_light_base_08) Bottom of Adapter with Holes

This photo just shows what the bottom of the adapter looks like after drill mounting holes.

Install and Wire Gooseneck Lights

Photo: Install Gooseneck Lights (magnetic_light_base_11) Install Gooseneck Lights

Install the gooseneck lights in the 3/8" holes. See photo.

AFTER installing the nuts, I dripped some THIN super glue on the nuts and threads for insurance.

Shove (this is a highly technical term) the wires back up thru the wire holes.

The 10-24 bolt in photo will be used latter to attach the adapter to magnet.

Photo: Splice Gooseneck Wires (magnetic_light_base_09) Splice Gooseneck Wires

BEWARE! This is a 110 volt AC connection. Do a good job and insulate things! See Cord and Switch are 110 Volts AC section above.

IMPORTANT! Put the wires thru the holes in the plywood BEFORE you splice them! Install shrink wrap tubing BEFORE you solder!

You can make really ugly connections here with SMALL wire nuts or pretty soldered connections.

If I used wire nuts (not shown in photo), I would put the 3 main wires together and secure them with a wire tie. Then cover the hole mess (wire nuts & wire tie) with electrical tape. If you accidentally yank really hard on the wire going to the plug you should NOT be able to yank the wires out of the wire nuts. The wire tie will ensure this.

Spice
Wires End To End Soldering the connection is the way to go. NOTICE how I spliced the wires end to end in the photo to make a nice inline connection. See photo. The red wires have already been soldered. The black wires are ready to solder.

NOTICE how I installed my shrink wrap tubing BEFORE soldering the wires! The blue is 1/8" shrink wrap that will be used to insulate each wire. The clear is 1/4" shrink wrap that will be used to cover the hole mess. It will keep the wires together for safety and make it look pretty.

The clear tubing is just barely visible in the photo, on the bottom right. Sorry. You can clearly see it in next photo. If I did this again, I would purchase and use black 1/4" shrink wrap tubing rather than clear. This would make the joint almost invisible.

Notes:

1. You can purchase shrink wrap tubing at local hardware store or Amazon.

2. Making and hiding the splice UNDER the adapter cap (rather than on top, like I show in photo) is an option if you are into frustrating the hell out of yourself. There is not enough room under the cap. Dealing with tiny really short wires sucks! Remember it is 110 volts AC!

Photo: Shrink Tubing - Top of Finished Adapter (magnetic_light_base_10) Shrink Tubing – Top of Finished Adapter

Use a heat gun to shrink the heat shrink tubing. First the blue. Then the clear.

Photo: Bottom of Finished Adapter (magnetic_light_base_11) Bottom of Finished Adapter

This is what the bottom of the finished adapter looks like. See previous photo for the top.

The 10-24 machine screw (bolt) in photo will be used to attach the adapter to magnet. See next photo.

Install Magnet

Photo: Attach Magnet (magnetic_light_base_12) Attach Magnet

Attach the adapter to the magnet with a 1" long 10-24 machine screw with a stop nut. You can use a regular nut and lock washer if you don't have a stop nut.

If attaching to "Harbor Freight On/Off Switched Magnetic Base" then attach with a 25mm (1") long metric M8x1.25 machine screw. A machine screw with a allen wrench button head will make your life easier.

Notes:

1. A stop nut is a hex nut that has a built in nylon collar/insert that increases the nut's resistance to loosening.

2. Bolt or machine screw? "Bolts" have a hex head. "Machine screws" have a Slotted, or Phillips, or Allen wrench head.

Photo: Install Duct Tape (magnetic_light_base_13) Install Duct Tape

The metal edges on the bottom of the magnet are not sharp. However, they can scratch the paint off of things when you pull the magnet off of a painted metal surface.

I cover the bottom of my magnets with duct tape to make them scratch free. I use electrical tape to cover up and secure the edges of the duct tape and make things pretty.

Hint: Let the duct tape over hang the edges of the magnet on all sides by at least 1/4". Trim the duct tape to overhang by 1/4" with scissors. Cut slits in overhanging duct tape. Fold it over. Secure the edges of duct tape with electrical tape.

Black duct tape and green electrical tape in the photo.

Notes:

1. One or two layers of duct tape is ok. It does NOT significantly reduce the pulling power of the magnet. Adding a thin foam layer or what ever is NOT a good idea. It will significantly reduce the pulling power of the magnet

2. I have given up on cheap electrical and duct tape. I now purchase 3M brand electrical and duct tape. "Life's Too Short To Use Crappy Tools!"

3. "You only need two tools in life: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape."

Overhead Steel Light Bar

Photo: Overhead Steel Light Bar

See my Carl’s Overhead Light Bar (and Camera Bar) bog entry for more info.