Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fixing a floppy magnifier lamp

My dad (RIP) left behind an old, crusty, but good magnifier lamp with a floppy head that he'd shimmed with neoprene and paper. After the zillionth time the lamp head flopped down while about to solder a tiny electronic component, I decided to do something about it. Here's how I fixed it.

The head is attached to the arm with one screw. Remove that and don't lose the spring underneath the screw. The two halves of the clamp that hold everything together will probably fall all over the place, possibly landing on your toe.

You'll find that the head has a thin brass bushing clipped to it. Roughen the flat side with 100 grit sandpaper. Also roughen the surfaces on which the bushing ride.

The arm end has a shaft on which the other end of the clamp rides. Roughen this surface as well then attend to the remaining halves.

The critical step is that over the years these surfaces have worn down, so the clamp can't close far enough to exert sufficient force. You have to clearance material from the clamp, on the edges in my case. The bright shiny parts are what I removed, using a benchtop belt sander.

Finally, roughen the surfaces on the clamp where the bushing and shaft both ride as best as you can.

Reassembling was a challenge. I started by fitting the electrical wire into place in the clamp, then coiling the rest into the hollow space in the bushing, then holding everything together, and screwing it back together. I don't have a picture because I lack a third hand. :)

That's all there is to it. My magnifier lamp works beautifully now, happily keeping its position no matter where I place it.

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