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Working with the stamped aluminum Lampshades and Escutcheons



  1. Our lampshades and escutcheons are fabricated out of .005" thick aluminum and are therefore delicate. However, due to their compound shape they standup very well when handled carefully (normal modeler handling).
  2. If your application requires painting the shade or escutcheon, punch or drill holes as required first, clean with denatured alcohol, air dry, glue to supporting structure (tubing, rod, whatever), then paint. Being aluminum, any type of paint can be used. If properly cleaned, primer shouldn't be necessary.

NEW! Punching holes in shades or escutcheons NEW!

If you have access to a drill press (any drill press) this is definitely the preferred method. It's quick and easy and makes clean holes. Once setup, you can process about 6 shades or escutcheons per minute! Click here for the procedure.

Drilling:  (the no sweat, let's get on with it... method)

  1. A little patience makes the difference. We are experimenting with various techniques, but to date, our favorite holding fixture is still the finger. Mount whatever size drill you're going to use in your favorite small pin vise.
  2. Place a shade upside-down against your fingertip so you're looking at the inside of the shade. Good magnification is very helpful here.
  3. Place the drill point into the shade center and gently start twisting your pin vise to drill through the shade.

CAUTION: the intention here is NOT to drill into your finger!!! Pay attention and this won't happen.

  1. As it turns out your fingerprints make a wonderful gripping device for keeping the part from rotating while you're GENTLY drilling into it. The "sponginess" of the finger tip prevents the shade from being distorted under pressure. Going slowly, you'll be able to "feel" when the drill point is getting close to breaking through the top of the surface.
  2. At this point, rest the part between your first finger and thumb and finish drilling through.
  3. If you take this process slowly there will be virtually no burr on the hole in the part and a clean hole will be produced.
  4. The whole process takes much less than a minute.

Drilling: (the cautious approach)

  1. Make a small indentation in a piece of smooth wood. This indentation should be small enough to support just the top portion of a shade or escutcheon placed in it upside down.
  2. Place a tiny amount of 3M Spray Mount artist's adhesive (or Kodak picture tack) into the indentation and place a shade. Alternately, Walther's Goo or other flexible or non-permanent cement can be used. Whatever your preference is. The key is a TINY amount.
  3. Using minimum pressure, drill through the shade.
  4. Successful removal will depend on the amount of adhesive used. If need be, use a scalpel and "cut" the indentation out of the wood (shade and all) and soak in solvent to separate the shade.


  1. Soak the shades or escutcheons in denatured alcohol for roughly 5 minutes and allow to air dry in a dust-free environment.
  2. For overall bonding to most materials, our preference is 5-minute epoxy. It provides a strong bond and will adhere to nearly anything. CCA works well and is very fast but is not recommended if your plan to paint afterwards


  1. Again, surface preparation and cleanliness is a prerequisite. If your going to use a shade or escutcheon in conjunction with a fiber optic filament, we recommend painting the filament with a coat of Poly Scale Night Black, first. We've tried several blacks but this particular product seems to give the best coverage with minimum "shine through" (test with your light source, you may want a second coat). Also, it is a very black, black. Once dry, it can be over painted with any color (we used white in our photo sample). If your going to "hang" a shade in a overhang area such as a depot or loading platform and want the focus only on the lampshade and light, leave the filament black and it will disappear from view.
  2. If your considering something like our Micro LED as a light source, try letting the shade hang from just the twisted and painted magnet wires (very old-fashioned and great looking) like in a bar, saloon or old feed mill. Paint the shade top surface Poly Scale Signal Green and the inside Reefer White. Alternately, mount it on tubing as we've done for our examples and it can be painted about any color to suit your situation from bright "showy", to dull waterfront rusted gray.
  3. For special situations you may want brass fixtures. In this case we've had great success using Plaid Enterprises Liquid Leaf #6150 Brass. We've painted brass wire with this paint and it's hard to tell where the paint starts and the brass leaves off.



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