University Lighting Project
Glow is a minimalist lamp inspired by Scandinavian design. It features a directional light source in the head of the lamp and an ambient light source in the stem of the lamp. It was designed to give users a huge amount of flexibility over the lighting of their room, as both light sources can be controlled independently to create everything from a subtle glow to a focused, working light. The lamp also utilises a subtle, yet intuitive, interaction, as the central dial can be rotated to adjust the light intensity and pressed to change which light source is being controlled (the stem or head).
After sketching out many ideas on paper, I moved to the computer to develop a detailed 3D model. This helped me plan what processes I would use to develop each of the different components.
Creating the joints
The joints in the lamp were 3D printed in ABS and finished with acetone to give them a glossy appearance. They feature small holes which allows the wiring to pass through the stem of the lamp giving the product a seamless look.
Creating the stems
This was the most difficult part to create for the lamp as it took a lot of testing and different iterations to get right. Step one was laminating a piece of acrylic in between two pieces of hardwood. The acrylic was sanded to ensure a better bond with the adhesive and after lots of tests I found that an expanding wood adhesive works best. A scrap piece of wood was also glued to one end of the stem to give the lathe center something to press into (as it would crack the acrylic without the scrap piece.
After the adhesive had set it was then time to turn the stems on a lathe. This step took lots of patience as removing too much material at once would cause the acrylic to chip or completely detach from the pieces of wood.
Next it was time to cut a groove into the stem to allow the wiring to run through the centre of the lamp. I created a custom jig to to cut the parts safely on the table saw, which made this step fairly simple. Finally, I glued a piece of wood in the groove while leaving a hole running through the centre.
Here you can see the range of prototypes I created (5 in total).
Creating the base
The base is constructed from a solid piece of ash to counterbalance the head of the lamp. First a hole for the adjustment dial was drilled out before adding fillets to all the edges. Holes were also drilled for attaching the base to the joint.
Creating the lamp head
I created my first version of this component using blue foam. This allowed me to create an organic, fluid shape easily. It also helped me visualise my idea before 3D modelling.
I CNC milled my second version of the head using a denser foam. This allowed me iterate faster and to develop a more refined model .
I wasn't completely happy with my second version so I adjusted my 3D model and CNC milled another version.
This version came out perfectly so I CNC milled my final model out of a solid piece of Ash.
Assembling the lamp
With all the different components complete, it was finally time to assemble and wire the lamp. The product uses an ESP8266 microcontroller, which allows the dial (a push button rotary encoder) to adjust the different light sources. This also allows the lamp to connect to the internet, so it can be controlled with a smartphone or smart home device (i.e. Amazon Echo, Google Home).
Here you can see how the wires are routed through the lamp and how the LEDs illuminate the stems of the light.
The finished lamp