My project has been complicated by the closing of the ITLL due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My only option for fabricating my laser cut desk lamp on campus is now the Rapid Prototyping Lab’s laser cutter within the Idea Forge. The Idea Forge now has reduced hours (open 9 AM – 5 PM) for the remainder of the semester. Assuming I will be able to use the Idea Forge laser cutter, my timeline for this project moving forward is shown below. I hope to purchase all needed materials over Spring Break.
I have looked into the price of 1/8″ thick Baltic Birch plywood, and have gotten an estimate online from the retailer Rockler Woodworking, shown below. The more expensive components of my desk lamp will be the lighting element and metallic silver paint.
Laser Cutter Logistics
I have finalized my SolidWorks model, tweaking the height such that the panels can be cut from a single 30″ by 24″ Baltic Birch plywood sheet of 1/8″ thickness. I have also created a separate SolidWorks file to lay out my decorative panels for laser cutting, saved as a dxf file. An image of the layout is shown below as Figure 1.
As can be seen from the above panel layout, I will be reverting my design back to be similar to the initial inspiration design with 30 thinner (1″ wide) decorative panels. One variation I have added is that I have angled the panel slots within the frame and base so that the thinner panels serve as better lamp “shades” and the bare lighting element will not be as visible within. I have included SolidWorks renderings of my finalized design below.
I have also added the second base I discussed in my Design Review presentation and the Part 1 blog post, which is more of a frame that can move freely up and down the decorative panels, as it does not interlock with them. The only thing I should need to change with my SolidWorks file and the Desk Lamp Frame dxf is the size of the hole to match the lighting element socket. An image of the desk lamp frame dxf file for laser cutting is shown below as Figure 2.
I have also updated my desk lamp base dxf to not have a hole and to have the proper 30 degree rotated slots. An image of the updated desk lamp base dxf is shown below as Figure 3.
I am aware of the SolidWorks watermarks on all of my files, but they shouldn’t be an issue if I laser cut the desk lamp sections myself. The only problem would be if the Idea Forge and its Rapid Prototyping Lab closes down completely for the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic progression, cutting off my access to the laser cutter.
Contingency Plan #1: Order Laser Cut Desk Lamp Sections
I spoke briefly over the past weekend with Dr. Hertzberg about a contingency plan for my project if I were unable to access a laser cutter for the remainder of the semester. One option would be to order the laser cut wood sections from an service like , which Behruz informed us of on Slack.
Contingency Plan #2: Redesign Desk Lamp Material for Hand Fabrication
A second option Dr. Hertzberg let me know of for completing my project if I were to lose access to a laser cutter would be to change up the material I make the desk lamp sections out of. I could pivot to foam core or cardboard easily enough, and would be able to make the necessary geometries shown above without a laser cutter.