Upcycle Final Report | Cardboard Lamp

The original inspiration for my project cane from the website ylighting.com I was browsing through the following images on their website:

and was inspired to create my own take on one of their fixtures. The design process was initially straight forward until I reached a major hiccup when I talked to the owner of the laser cutter and asked about cutting cardboard. These were my initial sketches of what I wanted the fixture to look like:

The initial concept had a lot of layers in it to make the final shape. I figured that with the ease of using the laser cutter I would be able to make all of these cuts without a problem. When I found out that I would not be able to use the laser cutter I scrambled to think of another idea that would not take up as much time as having to cut all of these layers out by hand. My design process ended up looking a little something like this:

Once I settled on a new design I got right to work creating my new design. I had an old LED camping lamp that I thought would be perfect for this project. To create the template for the layers that I wanted to cut out I first laid down the lamp on the cardboard and drew a square around the outer diameter of the circle. Using a ruler I then used the width of the ruler to draw another box around the inner box and this was now the geometry of all of my layers. Once I cut out all of the layers I then realized that the light was not going to shine through the corrugation of the cardboard as much as I wanted it to. I then decided to add spacers in between the layers to add some more height as well as making more room for light to shine through. I also didn’t just want the the lamp to be a box so I played around with how to stack the layers together, I came across adding a little but of an angle to each layer to create a spiral effect that I came to like. I am very pleased with how my final product turned out considering all of the scrambling that I had to do right towards the deadline for the project.


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7 Comments. Leave new

  • Dean Alibrandi
    March 1, 2017 2:02 am

    This piece is very interesting due to the fact that your cross sections are square cutouts, yet you were able to stack them in a way where you achieved a curved, swoopy shape. It also adds some really nice contrast once you turn the light on as you can easily see the pattern of the layers. Very impressive considering it was entirely made of cardboard. Good work!

  • This project was very interesting. I never really thought that cardboard can be used to make a lap. I was surprised that the rotation pattern worked the way it did with that type of material. It was a great idea to use a water bottle to make that consistent pattern. Great Work!

  • Preston Marcoux
    February 20, 2017 10:25 am

    Marcus, I think you have done a great job in your report. I am confident that I could recreate your project and process with a little time. I think you did a great job in your loop and how you redirected your project. It is unfortunate that the laser cutter couldn’t handle your cardboard, it could be an interesting idea to make a similar lamp out of material that the laser cutter can handle. Great work and I hope you continue to redefine your cardboard lamp.

  • Hey Marcus,
    I cut out cardboard by hand too, so I know how long that takes, kudos for having so many layers. It’s interesting that we both came to the same conclusion about having the spacers. I wonder if you had a laser cutter, would you have still put the spacers in? One thing could be a good addition to your design is some way to cover the top of the lamp where the light is, so that you can’t see if from above. Is the square-and-spiral design totally unique, or does it remind you of anything you’ve seen before? The final product looks really nice, especially in the dark.

  • Faisal Al Balushi
    February 15, 2017 12:32 pm

    Great job Marcus. The swirl in the cardboard made it look really attractive and aesthetic, like its made of something other than cardboard. I really like the design as well, I agree that you can make it longer and have a stronger lamb as well. Maybe you could use two instead of one lamb so one at the top and one at the bottom.

  • You design iterations were very productive it seems, even though you weren’t able to get your project into the laser cutter you made very good use of the tools you had. The squares are so simple but the way you stacked them is extremely creative. Good work, and i agree that you could use a more powerful light, and with that you could probably make the cardboard layers more dense without have to use spacers.

  • Cool project! I really like the final shape that you made with the simple square cutouts and accommodating to the resources we have available. The use of the spacers was also a really good design decision in order to let more light come through.


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