Check Out This Icosahedron Shop Lamp

Woodworking Workshop
Check Out This Icosahedron Shop Lamp


If you’re a geometry wizard, you may know that a truncated icosahedron is a 20-sided polyhedron. Even if you knew that bit of mathematical trivia, there’s a good chance you haven’t realized its potential as a shop lighting fixture. Fortunately, Ben Ezzell has, and shows how to make one using a v-nailer in this Instructables article.

His interest in this project started with a little research into v-nailers (as seen below), which are generally used for picture-framing purposes. After procuring one of these tools, he decided to try out a 3D shape. According to Ezzell, “the icosahedron seemed like the right combination of complexity and simplicity. Just 20 of one shape and 12 of another.” According to him, this project would have been much harder — if not impossible — without this interesting tool.

Even with this shape not being extremely complex, it still took Ezzell in the neighborhood of 30 hours to complete the fixture. One challenge is that there are quite a few non-standard angles that have to be cut to get everything to line up perfectly, but, to his relief, the joints did fit together properly. What few imperfections remained in the joints were filled in with wood putty.

The polyhedron was then sanded and painted with both two coats of primer and two outer coats of white paint, resulting in a very smooth finish. After this, Ezzell turned this “normal” truncated icosahedron into a light fixture. First he sourced a normal opaque globe light from a hardware store and cut out a hexagon shape to cover one cell. This hexagon was then connected to a second “ceiling-mounting hexagon” via a piece of PVC pipe that also holds the wiring.

Although Ezzell has an idea where this will mount in his house, it now resides on an I-beam in his workshop. If I’m being honest, very few of my projects make it past the garage, but, unlike most of mine, this one looks like it actually should be proudly on display!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook