Handle manufacture

The manufacture of my handles would take just over a day for both and I would need to take their measurements before refining my 3DSMAX models for the 3D printed elements. I had prepared for their manufacture by creating a working drawing with all the measurements I’d need but also by glueing blocks of mahogany ready for turning on the lathe.

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Once on the lathe I rounded of the block and marked out each section with a pencil before beginning to file away layer by layer, measuring with a callipers as I went along. The danger with the lathing process is getting carried away and taking away too much, once this has happend allowances have to be made across the whole piece to ensure it remains in proportion to the drawing. IMG_2275

Once I’d created the right diameter for the base of the handle it needed hollowing out. To do this I attached the piece to a chuck at one end and used a drill attachment to begin the hollowing process. The lathe turns the piece while you drive the drill inwards to the specified depth.

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This is the drill bit inside the piece hollowing out.

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I used a file to spread the hollowed out area and ensure it was even before removing the piece from the chuck and reattaching to the lathe so that the rest of the handle could be completed.

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Here is the handle once lathed before a finish is applied.

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The grain of the wood really begins to show during the sanding process. IMG_2271

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The handles are sanded and sealed whilst still on the lathe so that their finish is smooth. I then used a sander to taper the ends before drilling small holes on either side so that hooks could be attached. I hadn’t decided on what style the hook would be, only that I wanted it to be made from the same kind of copper that would be wrapped around the base of the lamps.

I decided I would need to experiment with a variety of handles so I created some quick mock ups.

The hook needed to flatter the form of the lamp and appear a clean, simple extension of the handle. I quickly mocked up some different shaped hooks and placed them on the lamps to see how they looked and worked. The large, squares and perfect circles immediately did not appeal to the eye or work with the handle so I created a more angular option of a triangle. I created two sizes so that each handle had a corresponding size of hook and the triangles looked very appealing. Their central point would also along them to hang centrally from a wire, but they did not sit neatly against the neck when not in use and would more than likely mark the wood over time.

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I referred back to my inspiration of the tilley lamps and saw how their handles fold neatly over them, laying flush and I decided my handles could have a hook that did the same. I created the hooks by hand using 3mm copper rod, a ruler to measure central and folding points and a pliers to bend them neatly. I’m very happy with the final hooks that follow the form of the handle because they sit flush to the handle which ensures they don’t cause discomfort in the hand of the user when being picked up. The hooks have a nice up and down swing, easily gliding into place. They also have a wide ended opening so that they can be hooked on to a variety of different styled brackets but could also still be attached to string or rope if need be.

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The assembly of the lamps, handles and hooks.

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The process of assembly is simplified but clear to understand by this diagram. The handle is pushed in through the base of the lamp and glued in place, the handle is them attached into the already made holes. Electronics are assembled and placed within the cavity of the wooden handle before being secured into place by gluing a white acrylic ring to the rim of the wood. Because the electronics are already assembled, the placement of them should be relatively simple. There is a small opening in the acrylic ring for the LED to sit centrally and another indent at it’s rim to allow for the charger cables to reach the copper rings that  will sit around the outside of the lamps.

I’m very happy with the standard and quality that I was able to make the handles and hooks, it feels great to finally see them after months of drawing and testing. The manufacture process was relatively quick even though I did it in a relatively traditional way. Some of the problems I had to overcome where

1.Lack of accuracy-  As mentioned earlier, the lathe requires a stop and start approach to ensure that you don’t take too much away

2. Finding a drill-bit long enough to hollow out the neck was difficult. I had to use an engineering drill-bit  initially before using wider drill bits afterwards to widen the hole.

3. Removing the shiny finish, I didn’t want to end up with a very shiny surface after the seal so i used wire wool and some wax to make it more matt.

If mass manufactured the handles would more than likely be cut by a CNC machine and this would shorten the manufacture time considerably whilst also ensuring accuracy when reproducing  large numbers.

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This entry was published on May 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm and is filed under Final Major Project. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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