Laser cut wood veneer lamp

This laser cut dodecahedron wood veneer lamp is part of a "Temporaries" series that I designed together with Toon Welling and Jonathan Kraayeveld. In case you want to buy one or see the other shapes hereís a link to our webshop. In case you want to make one yourself please follow through with the instructable!

Step 1: Materials

Laser cut wood veneer lamp
  • Wood veneer
    One of the things that makes this lamp work is the translucency of some wood veneers. The best species of wood that I found are either Beech or Ash. I advise to use a paper backed veneer, which is much more durable and easier to handle than the regular one. If you still decide to go with normal plain veneer,be extra cautious handling it.

    Youíll need enough of it to fit 11 pentagons in rough radius of 15 cm. The veneer needs to be anywhere between 0.4-0.6 mm in thickness if you want to use the vector drawings provided.

  • MDF
    One sheet of 20 cm * 20 cm standard 4 mm thick MDF.

  • LED bulb
    I've used a 4 watt 240V LED bulb with the standard E27 fitting.

  • Wire+switch+electric plug
    Any 1.5 m wire will do. In this particular case Iíve used braided cord with a plug already attached to it.

  • Mount for bulb fitting
    Iíve used this particular fitting that I riveted to the base. Itís hollow, so the wire goes through it and I can screw the bulb fitting on it. In case you canít find a piece like that in your area, it doesnít really matter how the bulb is attached as long as itís firm and safe!

    In the first prototypes Iíve laser cut a few cylinders from MDF that I glued to the bottom and just stuck the bulb fitting in

  • Glue
    To glue everything together. Friction fitting works almost well enough, but having a drop of glue on certain points wonít do harm (I put it at every connection point). Regular PVA does the job well enough.

  • Tie wrap
    To secure the wire to the lamp.

    Step 2: Tools

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

  • Lasercutter
    Anything that can slice through 4 mm MDF and has a bed at least 21 cm * 30 cm will do perfectly! I have used a small LS3020 35 watt laser cutter.

  • Basic tools to work on the wiring and a drill

    Step 3: Vector files

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    The pipeline I used to make the .svg files is as follows. Google sketchup 2013 Make > SVG Export Plugin. The laser cutter I'm using works through Visicut, which does the job fine right from the .svg

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    clamps_base_mdf.svg134 KB
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    dodecahedron_veneer_small_v1.skp167 KB
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    pentagon_faces_wood_veneer.svg23 KB

    Step 4: Laser cutting

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    One tip on handling the wood veneer. Often it isnít flat, and it can give a hard time for the laser beam to focus, you can either bend it in the opposite direction (which can result in breaking it) right before you put it down on the laser bed, or you can use some metal weights to press it down. heavier metal washers tend to work well. Also helps to use as small sheets as possible.

    Step 5: Cleaning MDF clamps

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Ideally you should end up with all the parts clean no additional work required. But as the tiny clamp parts have an opening of 0.5 mm thereís usually some ashes or a tiny sliver of MDF left stuck in there. I found it easiest to clean it with the back side of a utility knife.

    Step 6: Prepearing the base fitting

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    As I mentioned in the beginning I used this particular fitting, I assumed this wonít be a universal solution, so I haven't included the holes to mount it in the vector drawing.

    I drilled the holes in particular position and riveted the fitting on there. As well as drilled two holes about 2 cm from the center one (where the wire comes through) for a tie wrap that will press the wire down to the base. I found that a thicker fabric wire lifts up the lamp and prevents it from standing on itís feet, so adding the tie wrap really helps.

    Step 7: Gluing the feet

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Put a drop of glue at each cutout and set all the feet in place. If youíre using PVA (like me) let it sit for 10 minutes for it to get a grip and harden.

    Step 8: Wiring the chord

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    While the base was gluing up I used the time to work on the wire and attached a switch to it.

    Step 9: Assembly - first part

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Step 10: Assembly - second part

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Step 11: Wiring the fitting and attaching the bulb

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Step 12: Tie wrapping the wire

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Step 13: Last piece of the puzzle

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    Donít glue the top piece with the rest (in case you you used any glue at all), its handy to have easy access to the inside.

    Step 14: Finish

    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp
    Laser cut wood veneer lamp

    I hope you will enjoy this lamp as much as I do and if you have any questions, donít hesitate, Iíll be right here to help. Share your versions and insights if you make one. Cheers!

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