Preparation for 3D printing and test piece

In a previous post I’ve discussed why 3D printing will be the best option to produce a high quality  prototype that incorporates all of the added detail that could not have been done in a ceramic. The images below show the rendering build from start to finnish. Using 3DSMAX I created the largest lamp first by using a variety of tools that allow me to extrude the entire shape making it hollow, the software also allowed me to soften the edges accurately by 2mm and also to add the indents around the base of the lamp.

very white render

By adding indentations I hope that the conductive material  will sit neatly against the lamp but protrude enough for the lamps to connect with the largest mains powered lamps conductive strips. This will mean that the conductivity has become part of the aesthetic of the lamps rather than being a separate technicality that takes away from them.


3 together before first print

The three lamps in line, front view

bird eye

Birds eye view of the three fully constructed models

This is the form before the rings are removed to leave a 1.5mm indentation. There is copper available at various thicknesses but I don’t want it to thin that it becomes less of a feature. The 3mm copper rod would sit half in the indent and half out allowing the copper to remain on show enough so that the user would see the rings touch but also feel it.

close up view

These drawings will be sent to the 3D printer and then printed from a white powder. I will send the smallest from to the printer first as a test piece , from this I will investigate the finish, wall strength , light quality as well as transparency and colour.  Issues that need addressing after the test will  stem from these tests but others include, the manufacture of a handle and a fixing for the electronics to sit within. I will also need to add holes to the indent lines of the models for the wires of the inner batteries to touch the copper.

T  In order to clearly portray the importance of the journey of these lamps and their emotional connection with the user I think the visuals should tell a story. A document that shows the lamp’s together, moving, and in a separate context such as hanging would be the ideal I also plan to create a small narrative that will be used alongside these visuals that describes the lamps story and my approach to the issue of interacting with light.

The 3d printed test piece.






The smallest lamp’s base was sent  to the workshop’s 3D printer for a test as it would provide me with all I needed to know about the rest of the lamps and meant I wasn’t wasting money and time by printing them all. I was pleased to see the finish of the lamp was close to the ceramic texture I’d been searching for, it could be made even more like a ceramic by sanding away any lines and adding a resin glaze. The bright white colour complimented the simple form and enhanced the appearance of the copper, it’s very natural and would fit into many homes. The indents held 3mm copper rod perfectly allowing it to sit neatly but still protrude enough to touch the other lamps copper to carry the charge across.  The wall thickness of this print was 3mm which made it very strong and sturdy but unfortunately allowed no light through whatsoever. This was a large issue as the lamps need to glow when sitting on a surface, this meant the wall thickness of the print will need to be much thinner and if it still produced no light it would mean the material used by the printer was too dense to demonstrate the concept correctly. I would need another test piece to be sure that the print material wasn’t suitable, the material used by the university printer contains a plaster in the powder but the rest of it’s ingredients are guarded for copy right reasons.

Altering the 3DSMAX file would mean the walls could be made thinner but also that holes could be added inside the indentation rings so that the copper ends can enter the lamps to attach to the electronics for charge to be passed.  The test print gave me the opportunity to ensure the electronics fitted into the smallest lamp and to also test out how the warm light of the LED was directed by the form. As the images show the lamps create a direct pool of warm light that’s the right power for a small lamp in a domestic setting.  Light from the lamp reached a meter above it and spanned half a meter wide across the wall which reassured me that the amount of light that will be emitted from the bottom would be enough to light up a surface below when hung or to guide the way of the user when moving from space to space. This model also provided me with the reassurance that the lamps can still sit nicely and roll on their side, this means the lamps can be placed laying side on directing light in an upward angle.


This entry was published on May 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm. It’s filed under Final Major Project and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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