I got more of my work laser cut by Bespoke Laser UK on Friday, ready to sand it all down and fix it together!
Transitioning into a much thicker material has not been easy, and not all of the reconfigured measurements were successful. The pulley light has fallen by the wayside recently, and I am not sure if I will have a finished piece for the degree show or a working model. I have had issues with the second piece of hinge that allows the form to bend back on itself. I have now got the design to work in 6mm MDF, but as I have had to make the hinge section larger I now have a much shorter object. I will need to elongate the design to get the final size larger. This cannot be done using a laser cutter at uni, so I will have to cut it with Bespoke Laser UK.
I have cut green 8mm Valchromat with Bespoke Laser UK, a laser cutting company based in Cwmbran. This is because there is not a laser cutter that it powerful enough to cut through the material at university, this includes the Fab Lab’s laser cutter.
This is the box light with a few changes made from the last cut. The front is longer, and can be compressed to distort the front panel. The next challenge is to find a way of holding the distortion, I plan to use laser cut toggles and elastic, but needed to wait for this piece to be finished to begin to figure out the size they need to be.
I have been experimenting with the spacing of the cuts of the hinges and the pattern they can create. The top image is of a cross pattern which has limited flexibility but is not as successful as the more simple rectangular and square cut designs.
The second image is an experimentation in spacing of one of the original hinge designs. It is apparent that it is not the simply the size of the cut that affects the flexibility, it is more about the negative space in relation to the amount of material that is left around it.
There is also the possibility to cut more rounded shapes to create hinges, but I prefer the look of the straight line and the way they work with light and shadow.
I have been using my Pinterest account as a tool to organise the research I have done this term, I also have some important pieces dotted around my sketchbook and design sheets.
I feel that Pintereset is more useful than simply sticking in images from my sketchbook as I can link directly to the source of information and I will always have these reference points. It also keeps me more organised and is better for the environment. So far I have four boards based on my interests:
A link to my board: “Artefacts” which is full of lighting products and designs:
A link to my board “Kits” which is full of DIY kits and those that can be bought:
A link to my board “Instillation Art” which is filled with exhibitions and collections:
A link to my board “Joints” which includes innovative ways of joining materials together:
After the success of the bendy wood I have created, I am now working out ways in which to imbed an E14 bulb holder and a pygmy LED. I have worked out that the smallest the wood can be is 40mm by 40mm to allow for the size of the bulb holder, it is quite a large fitting to hold such a small bulb.
This is the first attempt to cut into the wood to allow this all to fit, and for the bulb to shine through. I have cut a 33mm hole 84mm into the wood, which allows for the bulb holder and the bulb to fit in snugly. I have had a problem with this first piece, as I then attempted to create 20mm holes around each side. I have learnt the hard way that the wood is too fragile for this as you can see in the bottom picture it has broken.
I have since attempted to create these holes again, but instead I have created the smaller 20mm holes before cutting the larger 33mm hole and it has been successful. The wood left at the corners is quite fragile, but I like the look of the fragility and it adds a bit more interest to the piece, rather than a bendy stick of wood.
Next I need to tackle the design of the base, I don’t want something over complex as I feel it will have to potential to take away from the beauty of the bend.
Here are two of the laser cut “kits” that I am working on. The first has not yet been successful, but when hun the springyness of the cuts is something that I want to develop and use. I was hoping I would be able to get these to slot together, but I was not precise enough when drawing them out to be cut. I am hoping that I will be able to find a solution to this, as I like the idea of creating a cone like structure. I will also experiment with cutting the hinge design at an angle, to allow a wrapping effect for another kit.
The second kit is almost there, it slots together nicely but there is a slight overlap of the materials. I also feel that the little notches are too small and fiddly and will not work well in wood, so I am going to make these larger before the next cut. I will also add a fitting for the light bulb to be inserted, but I am not sure what to do with the base. This light could be created as a pendant, or with adjustments, to turned into a table light.
I have taken a break from laser cutting and have decided to play with strips of cardboard instead to get a feel for what these lights could look like.
The first design is quite simple, created with two pieces alternately cut and slotted together, this design has potential, but a “kiss” cut using a loser cutter would also be needed. This type of cut does not cut all the way through the material, but comes close. It would allow more bendability of the material.
The second involves a fluorescent (or LED) tube fitted through the middle. The bends in the wood could be made using the living hinge designs that I have created, or through a method of cutting wood called “kerf” cutting, where a cut is made using a circular saw that can be adjusted so it does not cut all of the way through the wood. I am yet to experiment with this method.
The third simply employs the use of a living hinge but is tapered at the top. This design could use individual LEDs that are slotted into the gaps at the bottom (it would also aid the tapering of the material). It would also be interesting to see how this would work with the use of conductive ink, eliminating the need for wiring but adding the difficulty of concealing a power source.
My fourth design could also benefit from the use of conductive ink and LED bulbs. I want to further explore the idea of creating layers of the laser cut material and the possibility of allowing these layers to be moved up and down with the use of a threaded rod. Adding this to the design of a hinge could prove difficult, so a method of slotting each hinge into another piece that could wind around the thread would need to be employed. The design could also be turned ninety degrees to allow for a design that could move from left to right. It would be a useful light to have above a workbench as the lighting source can be adjusted to different sections of the bench.
The fifth design is relatively simple and allows for any number of parts to be added on. This would need to have conductive ink to allow for the design to work, as wiring would compromise the concept I have created and limit the possibilities of an infinite number of parts. Again, barely power could become an issue as one battery would be needed to power a small number of these loops.
I think some of these designs allow the potential to create a variety of kits that allow the consumer the choice of purchasing a kit that is simple to put together or can become quite skilled and complex.
To develop the idea of modular lighting I need to create a way of joining the lighting parts together. The joints I have made include a circular form of joining and a castling form. By putting holes into the joint parts it allows the use of a component to reinforce the join. The picture below shows the use of Plumber’s Mait, a putty that does not set, to keep the parts together. This still allows movement of the join, which is not working out very well. I need to experiment with this using a join that is attached to a more weighted or larger piece of material to really be able to assess the use of it.
Other ideas I am planning to work through include the use of heat shrink materials, as these can be heated to form a tighter join and simply cut off to take apart the light. Other options include the use of cable ties and lacing the parts together. I will be carrying out these experiments soon.
I am also hoping that some of the joints I can create will hold their own and this will eliminate the need for a component.
Creating curved wood formations. I am experimenting with construction veneer to create circular and semi circular forms.
The process involves using two sheets of wood with wood glue between the two layers. the piece is either fastened around a form, like the first image above, or it can be pressed using a form, like the lower image. I am yet to test the second method, but I feel that it will be more successful than my previous attempts.
The larger piece in the first image has bamboo veneer laid over the top, as this will allow light to pass through the laser cut holes and a pattern using a lighting source behind.
The smaller two pieces have been laser cut using a “living hinge” concept that allows wood to become more malleable. I feel that the use of glue here has made the wood less bendable than before it was glued, the wood feels more fragile when held.