Final Report Part 1 2020: Desk Lamp

Desk Lamp Enclosure

Currently, the completion of my project has been delayed by factors outside of my control. While I was relieved to hear that as of Wednesday (4/15) evening, my enclosure panels had arrived in Commerce City, CO, according to the UPS tracking number, no transit progress was made for multiple days. The scheduled delivery description shifted from “Thursday 4/16” by end of day to “Please check back later for scheduled delivery”. The “Updated:” description in the top right corner of the image below is operating off of EST, two hours ahead of MST:

This is usually a sign of an unexpected delay, and sure enough my package remained in Limbo in Commerce City, CO for over three days according to the UPS tracker until earlier today (around 1 PM) the tracker was finally updated with a Delay notification. My enclosure panel package had been sorted incorrectly, and is now in Chelmsford, MA.

Over the course of my main project, I had to pivot from my initial chosen material of Baltic Birch twice. First after the pandemic hit, I switched to Ponoko’s laser cutting service and found that Maple Hardwood was less expensive than Birch as a material. Shortly after tweaking my CAD model and DXF files to press fit together according to the Maple Hardwood sheet thickness of 0.13″, a supply shortage at Ponoko meant that the Maple Hardwood was no longer available in sheets of 31.1″ by 15.1″, the necessary sheet size for my enclosure’s decorative panel DXF to be cut. I then switched to my final, ordered material of Amber Bamboo Plywood, sightly more expensive than Maple Hardwood, but with a more aesthetically interesting amber coloration. I then updated my CAD model and associated DXF files for the final time to support press fit construction of the enclosure for the ABP sheet thickness of 0.11″

Enclosure CAD

Prior to my material changes, I had considered three iterations of the precise geometric shape that I wanted my panels to be, and added a second layer frame such that my lighting fixture would be mostly hidden from view, with only the socket and bulb itself visible. The evolution of my CAD model is shown below, from top to bottom.


While initially planning to only have 20 panels, I decided that 30 thinner and less steep in height gradient panels looked more aesthetically pleasing to me. I also added a slight angle to the panels,  with hopes to help diffuse the central light bulb more. The final DXF files for the final CAD model are shown below, and were submitted to Ponoko for laser cutting.

Light Bulb and Sconce

I had been thinking over my desired futuristic aesthetic, and since I needed to change enclosure material to a more expensive Amber Bamboo Plywood, I had figured that I would wait to see the unaltered finish of the wood, especially since ABP has a much more vibrant, amber coloration than my previously chosen materials of Baltic Birch and Maple Hardwood. Accordingly, I chose a light bulb recently that would match the more rustic unaltered Amber Bamboo Plywood, for more of a rustic modern aesthetic. The light bulb and sconce I chose to comprise the functional components for my main desk lamp project are shown below:

The black metal sconce with brushed brass ring has a 16ft cloth covered cord that I will snake through the decorative panels of my enclosure to reach a socket. I purchased the sconce from Brighttia [1] and the G.E. VintaAline bulbs from Target.

Project Expenses

The main cost for this project was the laser cutting service Ponoko. All in, I spent just over $130 on my project. The cost breakdown is shown below:

The project costs added up fast, though I hadn’t identified an exact budget at the project’s outset. I tried to reduce costs whenever possible when choosing laser cut material and looking for lighting fixtures and bulbs online.

Product Citation

[1] “Black Plug In Wall Sconce Light With Brushed Brass Ring – Flush Mount Wall Lamp Fixture – Mid Century Industrial Modern Edison Bulb Lighting” Brighttia. Accessed 25 March, 2020 from


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6 Comments. Leave new

  • miles radakovitz
    April 30, 2020 11:08 am

    Hi Justin,
    Sorry to hear about your shipping issues, hopefully things all fit together when they do eventually come. I really like how you decided to shift your aesthetic into something more focused on using the natural grain of the wood as opposed to painting it! Do you think that you will do more things like this in the future?

  • Benjamin Robles
    April 27, 2020 9:03 am

    Hey Justin!

    Man sorry to hear you weren’t able to laser cut this at the ITLL, it would have saved a lot of time and headaches. But this looks awesome! When you finish it, you should update your post with it! I wanna see it!

    Great semester man, best of luck.

    Ben R.

  • I think that if you did this again with a different kind of wood, then painting it would look really good. But I think the aesthetic you’re going with now is really awesome and comes together well. Also I understand how frustrating it is to have packages stuck in the mail, I’m in the same boat right now waiting on stuff I ordered over a week ago! Hopefully it gets here soon!

  • Kyle Neubarth
    April 20, 2020 11:19 am

    It seems like you did a good job of adapting given the circumstances, there were a lot of obstacles but I’m surprised you were (mostly) able to keep your design intact.

  • Noah Verspohl
    April 20, 2020 11:16 am

    Statement of meaning:
    I like how you pivoted to rustic modern. I think that this paired with the futuristic design and Edison bulb will bring a unique blend of past, present, and future.

  • This is super cool! I’m sorry that you weren’t able to lazer cut this yourself, but i think it’s great that you continued with your project.


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