Desktop steel marbles mood lamp

This build falls firmly into the category of “I don’t know what it is or why I want it but I need it.” Twiddle the steel marbles (sounds nicer than “ball bearings”), and curate your own desktop disco according to your mood.

Let there be (colour-changing) light

Maker Joe Wreford Stiff explains that the product itself is easy to use: you place the four steel marbles on the top of the device in various positions (with a really satisfying click), and depending on their placement you get a different brightness or colour. You can use multiple marbles at the same time to mix your own colours.

It’s really fun and tactile to play with, sliding the marbles up and down and experimenting with colours. The light produced is very much an ambient mood light which can be either just plain white or a mix of red, green, and blue.


For those hands-on Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, the product has a bit of a special feature. Joe designed it to be easy to service, so you can take it apart. You can add your own code to the Raspberry Pi Pico and tailor the device to create your own effects.


Joe warns that, “This certainly requires specialist knowledge of electronics, coding and working with Raspberry Pi Pico, so it must be stressed that this is at your own risk, but if you wanted to customise or add features and effects, it is possible.”

How was it made?

Joe spent five months developing the mood lamp at home, iterating through various designs and 3D printing each version in his office. He tested each one and repeated the process until he had something with a high enough quality of finish to be happy with.

We do appreciate sexy packaging around here

After finalising the design, he sourced an injection moulding company and worked with them over a few iterations until the parts looked really good and fitted together as he wanted them to. It took another twelve months after the design was complete to source the right packaging and other components for the assembly of the product.

Buy your own desktop mood lamp

Each product is assembled by hand, and Joe has launched a limited run of units in each colourway for sale online. If you’d like to party with your own desktop disco, and maybe venture further to break it open and have a fiddle with your own code, visit Joe’s shop.

Desktop diva

You may remember Joe from another dinky desktop build we featured on the blog. If you missed it, click below to check out the summer cute Raspberry Pi Zero-powered weather display. We love the dreamy aesthetic of all the products we’ve seen so far from Mustard Corner. Let’s see what they come up with next.

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