Posts Tagged 'ponoko'

Knicks LED light, use of digital fabrication for design prototyping

This light was in the making for a long time and is now finally completed. See earlier post. Its design includes several digital fabrication processes like laser cutting (acrylic and brass) and rapid prototyping (gold-plated stainless steel) using Ponoko‘s distributed manufacturing system. All metal surfaces are gold plated taking advantage of Ponoko’s US based production hub which offers rapid prototyping directly into metal.

Its dimensions are: 600 x 150 x 710 mm and the light head holds four 1watt LED’s.

More lights of this series here.





CAD to gold-plated stainless steel

Web-based fabrication has gotten even more exciting with a new material/process offered through the Ponoko system. Getting computer models ‘printed’ in 3D using online rapid prototyping processes is established but having the CAD parts arrive in stainless steel with a gorgeous rich gold coat is quite something.

ponoko stainless steel gold-plated parts

This new material/process is offered through the US hub and is equally as easy to order as the 2d laser-cutting service. I found that dimensions ‘shrink’ slightly eg holes I had modeled as 3.9 mm turned out to be 3.4 mm in the finished parts. Being mostly stainless steel (with some bronze wicked into it) it proved very difficult to drill the holes to the right size. High speed drill bits (even titanium tipped) are blunt after drilling only 6mm deep. Reducing the speed from the recommended 1000 rpm to a third helped to improve their staying power slightly. I look forward to the carbon-nitride drill bit I ordered to finally finish the job.

These parts are for a new light using a mix of digitally fabricated and manually made elements. The ‘gold’ parts are intented to connect carbon fiber rods forming the main structure of the design.

design sketch and wire model

Light objects for Art School Library, making

This post describes some technical and making aspects of the Light objects for the ANU School of Art library. You can read more about the design aspects here.

reading pit at ANU School of Art

During the making of these lights a mix of manual and digital fabrication processes have been used.  Brass and aluminium pieces have been laser cut while the translucent red elements had been rapid prototyped by ‘Rapid Pro‘ in Victoria, Australia.

The black curved arms are five 2.5mm layers aluminium, riveted together to create an inside channel concealing the cables up to the brass cylinder. They have been laser cut locally in Canberra by Acuform.  The cylinder forms a central hub from which four conical carbon fiber tubes stretch out and support two light heads on each lamp. The lights have a wingspan of 1.4 meter.

right of two light objects

Each light head has six one-watt LEDs. The LEDs are mounted on a decorative brass cooling plate (cut by Ponoko) and are cooled by a fan. The following parts had been used: LED ring with six one watt LED (LSP6-WW-XXX) and Controller/Driver (MDU9-SC-3570) from Future Electronics. All elements are enclosed by ABS housings. These housings are rapid-prototyped using translucent red FDM material from ‘Stratasys’.

Three views of the light head

Views of light head

The curved aluminium arm extent from the main brass fitting which is strapped onto the existing column with an aluminium strip. This strip has custom brass connectors to adjust the tension of the strapping.

Main bracket and centre bracket

The electronics – led drivers and fan power supplies – are placed inside the void between the column and the main brass fitting. The 12 volt fans are driven by 6 volt power-supplies letting them run without developing noise. Before the installation the lights had been tested for several days.

Obrut colour variations

This image shows some of the possible combination of materials and colours I played with for the 2nd series of this light object. Basically all 3mm materials could be used as a base. Ponoko has many exciting colours in their materials catalog.

Obrut light in different colors. This light is designed by Gilbert Riedelbauch

Obrut light colour variations 1st set

Preparing for Highlights, 3

Further to my last blog, Preparing for Highlights, 2.
Yesterday, my first Ponoko laser cut pieces arrived and it was worth waiting for. After peeling off the protective sheet, that still showed the impact of the laser’s heat, clean clear pieces popped out of the cut Perspex sheet. I had used the clear 2mm thick Perspex material out of Ponoko’s material catalogue.

Peeling off the protective layer

Peeling off the protective layer

The edges are clean and appear almost polished and do not show, as I had expected, some ‘burn’ marks. As Ponoko suggests in their ‘starter kit’ the dimensioning of interlocking pieces might need a bit of fine-tuning, I found that while having a good fit the slots I had designed have been a bit too wide. This will be easily fixed in Illustrator, as I have in mind to get more of the same parts cut in different colours for further variations of this lamp.

close up of the lamp's head with heatsinks for Led's

close up of the lamp

These parts form the ‘head’ of the desk-lamp for which I had already made all other parts. The assembly was straight forward as everything, the rapid prototyped and laser cut parts fitted very well together. I used sandpaper to make the surface of the parts opaque as the clear was ‘too’ transparent. Now the LED’s make the whole head light up.

Prototype put together

Prototype put together

Opaque surfaces

Opaque surfaces

I am very pleased about the straight forward way Ponoko’s system enables me to include precision cut pieces as part of my designs. Living in Australia made it a three week turn-around-time which was somewhat testing. But I already look forward to the next shipment with parts that will combine laser cutting with laser engraving. Ponoko has great instructional videos about this on their site.

Preparing for Highlights, 2

I just put together the prototype of a desk-lamp. This object uses polished stainless steel, ABS plastic (rapid prototyped parts), an aluminum tube coated with carbon fiber, laser-cut Perspex and 3 warm white 3 watt LEDs.

Computer rendering 1

Desk lamp computer rendering

For the first time I will use a net based producer for part of the making process. Most of the lamp’s head part – the laser cut Perspex – will be produced by Ponoko . A clever (company) setup that laser cuts and laser engraves materials based on ones own design. Ponoko’s well working website makes it easy to get started. From selecting the materials to producing the right file formats for cutting and/or engraving all is explained in easy to follow steps. I am eagerly awaiting the first shipment of the 2mm thin cross-sections for the ‘reflector’ part of the lamp’s head.

After modeling the lamp shade as a ‘solid model’ first in CAD (formZ) I then sliced it into the cross-sections, these sections were then imported into Adobe Illustrator and saved out in the right format for Ponoko’s processes.

Cross-sections for laser cutting

Before uploading the file to be laser cut, I printed and cutout the Illustrator outlines and put together a mock-up of the lamp shape to see if I like the design and to get an idea if the pieces fit together.

paper mock-up of the lamp's head of lasercut design

paper mock-up of the lamp

Computer simulated lamp head

Computer simulated lamp head

I also rendered a simulated view of the final head-piece as well as the whole desk lamp. I hope the final ‘real’ object will closely resemble this simulation.

prototype of desk lamp with paper shade

prototype of desk lamp with paper shade

images of work