The corner of my studio where my mini mill sits is definitely under-lit. When I got my mill, I first installed a cheap IKEA gooseneck LED lamp, which worked pretty well but was often in the way. So I built an LED ring light for the mill, which gives broad and even light, moves with the cutting tool, and is super low-profile.
- Clear acrylic parts (PDF)
- LED ring light
- 12V DC power supply
- Toggle switch (rated at at least 12V DC)
- 3x 5mm x 20mm stainless bolts (I used stainless)
STEP 1: LASER-CUT PLASTIC PARTS
The parts for the ring light are pretty simple, though I cut my clear acrylic pieces on our laser-cutter. If you don’t have a laser cutter, you could have them cut using a service like Ponoko, or do it by hand.
Here are the parts, with three holes to fit the existing ring on the mill:
STEP 2: STACK WITH LED RING
The wires on the LED ring are too short, and are pretty flimsy. I’ve soldered a 8″-long piece of shielded cable, which will protect the wires from chips and oil. Stack the plastic pieces with the LED ring inside – it seems to help to put one bolt in to keep everything aligned.
The finished assembly: note the little blobs of hot glue, which aren’t necessary but may help hold the light in place.
STEP 3: BOLT IN PLACE
Once the stack is aligned, bolt it into place on the mill. Be sure you’re not pinching the wire. The last ring of acrylic should be sitting below the iron surface of the mill head.
STEP 4: WIRE IT UP
TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE MILL FIRST! Drill a small hole in the back of the electrical panel on the mill and run the LED wire through it. Remove the fault LED and drill out the hole to fit a toggle switch. Wire up your 12V DC power supply, either by running the power up the side of the cable tube, or do what I did and snake it through for a clean look.
STEP 5: TEST
Once everything is wired up, close the panel and turn on the power. Try your light! Also try turning the spindle by hand to make sure nothing binds.