Loft

2015

Lighting design studio

This is a desk lamp I designed and built in a semester at DAAP. The prototype works almost as well as I'd like it to. Loft sits on your desk and provides a nice, bright, friendly place for you to place and work on important things. It's not a literal platform but an open-ended space. Maybe you put your phone between its arms while you're at your desk, or you just want more space to draw. It looks a bit like a crop mark at the corner of your desk.

I designed and cut some molds on a CNC mill so I could make rubber molds to then make nice, shiny resin parts. Pouring the resin took forever, so I had to make a switch to hard maple to meet my deadline. I want to go back and make a version in resin soon. These pictures are on here because I'm proud of the molds and think they look nice.

I cut the wood parts from a beautiful block of maple held by a vacuum to the 4' x 8' CNC router bed. For the reverse side, steel dowel pins register the block, which is screwed into 1" melamine particle board. A thin strip of wood at the vertical midplane held the finished parts in place in the block for manual removal by bandsaw and sanding.

The whole process up to this point—including programming toolpaths, driving to get the material, setting up tools, cutting, and sanding off the excess—took about 8 hours. Much more time-efficient than casting resin. I made enough parts for three lamps.

I used a manual lathe to "frost" the outside of the acrylic rod. I simply shaved off about .02mm at a very slow feed rate, creating a beautiful sandblasted look.

I made a nice little hand-bending jig and pattern. The .25" aluminum didn't stand a chance. The math involved to figure out the angles of the rods to make everything meet up was an interesting challenge.

I machined these aluminum cores on the lathe to fit perfectly. They rotate together so well that they almost didn't need bearings.

The finished prototype lights up nicely. I want to find someone who can make a small custom switch that turns the LED on when the rod is turned, because the internal mechanism I put together could be a lot more efficient.