The Light of Men

First posted during the winter of 2021

By copying designs created by others, I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. In this case, miniature giants.  I've seen many variations of these articulated desk lamps online, and I decided to make some for my nephews for Christmas.  I worked out a model in SketchUp to get the proportions right and then started on the build using some anigre I had on hand.  I made one pair to the initial design, and then a second pair with a slight modification to articulate the shoulders.
The lamps were a bit top-heavy when not in a sitting position, so I made removable bases to support the gents when they're standing. Here are a few construction photos and some posed shots (which is the fun part).
With a few strips of anigre machined to a square cross-section, I cut out the individual pieces - square ends on the crosscut sled and 45 degree ends on the miter saw.

I used the tiny Dominos on the fixed joints of the assembly.


I cut the tapered head pieces on a purpose-built table saw jig and just glued the pieces together without fasteners.

Test assembly on the usual messy assembly table.

The light fixture is mounted in a 1/4" plywood plate that is wedge-fit and glued into the head.  (For anyone who is curious - like Ron Stewart was on the initial posting - the foam in the cup is not brain matter.  It's PU glue that's foamed-up.  I use a paper cup multiple times to scrape the glue off a squeegee.)
I couldn't resist a full assembly and some poses before applying some finish.

"I am curiously and wonderfully made."

"I've got gas."

The last step was a couple coats of oil-based poly.  I rigged-up a 2x4 full of nails as a makeshift drying rack.

And of course, I had to get a few more posed shots once they were complete.

"I feel a certain kinship with you creatures."

Hanging out with his three-legged brethren.

"Who am I?  Where did I come from?"

"I dig my new hoverboard."

"We could be twins!"

For the second pair, I made one change, and that was to articulate the shoulders for better posing possibilities.

"The running man."


"Rock-em, Sock-em Robots"

"Alas poor Yorick.  I knew him, Horatio"

"I'll bet I can make this plant grow simply by staring at it."

"Decorating is hard work."

"For me?  Oh, you shouldn't have."

"Confidentially, you look ridiculous in those antlers."

This was a really fun project - both building and the posing (obviously).   Definitely a recommended build.


Wow this is so cool 👏

Martin Sojka, Maker of Craftisian

Love these Ross, thanks for sharing.

Main Street to the Mountains

i remember those ross,very whimsical.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Love these guys. These are one of those projects that have been floating around in the back of my mind for a while. I may bug you with some questions when I get around to making some. Great idea on the foot hold stands.

Mike in McMurray

Awesome Ross! I couldn’t have them in my house, I’d go around swapping them into inappropriate posses when my wife wasn’t looking, then wait to see how long it took her to find them…then I’d probably get called a child, maybe yelled at, definitely get the eye roll 🙄 Nice work!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Tis the Season of the Elf.

We see what Ryan does with the Elf!

Main Street to the Mountains

It’s true. That what happens when you don’t have kids I guess…someone has to juvenile!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

This is so cool, thank you for sharing
I loved those the first time around, and I still do. Your workmanship is impressive, and that's probably the most entertaining project post I've ever read. It definitely warrants the Craftsy for most whimsical project presentation.

I have a suggestion for you in three words: stop. motion. animation.

And I still say that's brain matter. :-)
Excellent design and execution.  

Could you provide more details on the lights you are using?  Any issue with the wood getting too hot?
Oh my goodness .. I’ve never seen anything like these love that pic with the book 

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

Neat little fellows to have around I like them a lot. Good job.

-- Soli Deo gloria! ( To God alone be the Glory)

Wow, thanks for all the kind words!  These guys did generate a lot of smiles while they were here in the house, and my nephews got a kick out of them, too, so I'm happy. 

Birdseye49 - I got the pendant lamp kits on Amazon.  They had a built-in rocker switch nearer the plug end.  Here's a link to what I bought.  The bulbs are LED floods, and they don't get terribly warm.

Ron - if I had the skill, these lamps would have made great subjects for a stop motion video.   The gauntlet is thrown down.  Someone needs to do that!

Ryan - the farting pose was as risque as I dared.

Bagtown - no problem, I'm happy to answer questions.

Debbie - yeah, I like the book one too.
Wow, these are really something! Once I get my table saw up and running, I'll try some of these.

Steven- Random Orbital Nailer

Who doesn't need a lamp that makes you smile?!  These are so neat.  Great gifts!
I just saw this post because of the ones Dutchy made and referenced your build. These are so cool and this post should be in the "Trending" section so everyone has a better chance at seeing it. I had some bad news today and reading this post and your posing the lamps made me smile. Thanks Ross for the laughs, and I might ask for the SketchUp file before next Christmas.

.................. John D....................