DIYson Lamp Hides Cables Between The Seams

[Steven Bennett] is so fond of Dyson’s new Lightcycle lamp that he’s decided to clone his own version in the spirit of the original. Dyson, however, knows what makes their lamp so special — so much that they patented their technique for tucking away the power wiring. Undaunted, [Steven]’s latest challenge has been to create a cable management solution that captures the elegance of the original without making a flat-out duplicate.

[Steven]’s latest update starts with the details of the original model’s patent. In a nutshell, Dyson’s elegance comes from both a flat cable (a flex PCB, perhaps?) and a magnetic interface that transfers power between the two primary structural beams. The latter half discusses [Steven]’s alternate solution: a miniature drag chain that can be 3D printed to arbitrary lengths. Like the flat flexible cable, this cable rides in the groove of the lamp’s two structural beams; but unlike the original, it spools outwards into a hoop on one end of its travel length. Overall [Steven] is quite happy with this result, and we think this solution gives the lamp a charm that’s distinctly original.

Capturing the design essence doesn’t just stop at wire management though. Have a look at some previous video logs in the series to get a sense of some of the other challenges faced in both heat dissipation and mechanical feel.

Wire management, when done well, scratches a design itch somewhere in the back of our heads. If you’re curious for more cable management solutions, have a look at some of these other tricks that use tape measure or involve a DIY coiling method.

50 thoughts on “DIYson Lamp Hides Cables Between The Seams

  1. It looks like Dyson really likes to patent anything…
    I feel there is nothing patentable to that Design… Power Transmission to a movable system has already existed for a few decades and the system to keep the distance of a cable or rope allways equal, is something you see on a few machines in a gym (height settable pulleys for example)

    1. Indeed. A patent for air-cleaning headphones, anyone? Dyson has stifled others that have dared to use cyclonic dust separation, which is a 100-year-old idea used in grain silos and so on, and also denying other ‘bladeless’ fans that simply use the well-known Coanda Effect.
      Not a millionaire/inventor/entrepreneur ‘hero’ I look up to, that’s for sure.

      1. You can patent stuff but that doesn’t always mean it will hold up. And they don’t thankfully. The whole system is full of such nonsense that If every inventor quit as soon as they saw something in the patent heap, we probably wouldn’t even have steam engines right now.

  2. It should be noted that implementing a patented design as a one-off for yourself is *not necessarily* patent infringement. It all boils down to notions of exploitation, which may differ per jurisdiction. And to add further nuance: design patents work different from general patents and may or may not accumulate with copyrights, again, this varies per jurisdiction. Generally speaking, it is perfectly fine to reverse engineer the implementation a patented invention and to publish your journey of doing so on the internet. The whole point of patent law is ostensibly being a trade-off between granting an invention a temporary implementation in exchange for making public the gist of the technological innovation. And yes, there is no such thing as a global jurisdiction, so you may happen to be in a jurisdiction in which this may not be fine, but that is likely to be an edge case.

    1. 2 wires without a drag chain might not play together, so aesthetically speaking, having 2 clearly separate wires wouldn’t be as nice.
      It looks like the flat wire strip could have been stripped slightly to fit, but then the drag chain solves any potential friction issue.
      Regarding 5 wires not fitting in the drag chain, wouldn’t the wires have fitted without the outer sheath?

    2. I agree, either copper strips, or stiff copper wires in a 3d printed tslot insert (easier replacement/cleaning), and a brush to touch each of the strips. Think how old rc race tracks used to work. Worried about metal shaving getting in and shorting it? Do one strip in the top channel, one in the bottom.

      1. I think it will be very very practical for some locations and users. It is a similar concept to something I’ve doodled out to put lights (and a few other helping hand type objects) over my workbench for instance – can be very handy to be able to move the light to where you want it to be but know it really will stay exactly there, which the flexible shaft lamps inevitably don’t over longer reaches. The friction gripping screw lamps might stay put but will often still creep and don’t always have the reach you want either…

        I agree its not exactly pretty, though I don’t mind the more industrial workshop look myself, its certainly a lot prettier than my bodged together from leftovers camera mounting system, that has pride of place in the room – about the only good things you can say to that is it works, and it really fits the space I have like it was made for it (which of course it was within the limitations the scrap parts left me)…

          1. If you mean the ones with the springs to help counter the mass on the end they are still locked by friction, and in my experience still tend to creep once you start getting into the longer reach and positions for which the springs are not close enough to the perfect counter force (or you need tools to really crimp them down enough, at which point they can not be repositioned without tools either – this concept is much simpler to have a reliable and repeatable lock, so anywhere it can reach it should be just as easy to lock in place). The Architects lamps also occupy lots of space themselves just in a different way.

            Not saying they are a bad choice, it is the type of lamp I have more of than any other atm, just that I can see situations where this design concept is the more practical. In the same way you can cut your bread with a calvary sabre, bayonet, machete, etc all sharp thinish blades that are hard enough to cut it, but you would be far better off with the rather similar but slightly better suited to the job bread knife…

      2. Furniture prices, like clothing prices, have nothing to do with utility, quality, or practicality.

        It’s all about market segmentation. The only people who consistently buy fancy furniture are people who don’t care about how much it costs. The majority of these products are there to pull money out of the richest 20% and/or people who don’t have a good understanding of relative value or utility. In other words, fool and money are effectively parted.

        The last kind of person also kinda means everyone else, because the market is playing a game on you: the existence of an outrageously priced object makes the expensive but still affordable option seem more sensible, even desirable, because it looks like you’re getting a bargain when you stand it up next to the item that costs 10x as much for not much additional value. That’s especially true when you have no idea what things really cost to make – only a relative comparison between prices.

        Rather than paying $19.99 for a basic articulating desk lamp, you’re willing to pay $59.99 for a more fancy one, because you’re subconsciously comparing it with the $599 Dyson lamp you will never buy. It makes the more or less insignificant differences between the basic and “better” model seem more important. In reality, the more expensive item may even be worse made than the cheaper one – it just looks different.

        1. Lol, that’s the dumbest engineer take. “I decided this isn’t worth it to me, so it’s stupid.” Aesthetics have value to most people, even if they don’t to you. Not everyone needs to optimize their life by eating Soylent and using a 10 year old Android.

        2. Or there’s the middle path; got to a charity shop and pick up an old Anglepoise for £10 and solder a new mains lead on to it. Admittedly it depends what you can find for cheap, but mine’s been going strong for twenty years.

  3. Can you shorten that video to less then two minutes?
    I managed to sit through it to just beyond 03:20 to see the pulley in the vertical beam,but I could not cough up enough interest to watch any longer to see the horizontal beam.

    Although I admit the lamp looks ok-ish on first sight. I do not find it a very “clean” design with the weels sticking out that much. If you’ve got the money to have custom extrusions made, then integrating the wheels inside the beams would have been an easy extra step. For a DIY option, an MGN12 rails put inside an U type extrusion may be a nice option.

    I also would not want it myself. The long horizontal beam sticking out at the back takes up way to much space. It would not be feasible to put this thing anywhere near a wall for example. There are far too many gadgets in this world that look flashy at first sight, but are impractical when examined closer.

    For the horizontal beam, I have some simple improvements.
    First, don’t put the wheels at the vertical column, but move them to the lamp for a distance of about 15cm.
    Then make the beam 30 cm shorter. This would have the same total reach, but the beam won’t stick out as much on the back side.

    But for practicality, I would make the whole thing in the form of for example a SCARA robot with an extra hinge in the horizontal arm.

    1. Can you shorten your comment to less than 5 sentences?

      I managed to sit through it to just beyond the second paragraph to see the initial arrogance,but I could not cough up enough interest to read any longer to see the other complaints

      1. +1 i get that he has not enough interest to stress his attention span to more than 5 minutes. If he is not interested, then he is not interested. But why bother and write an essay nobody cares to read on HAD and not even on youtube where the whole thing is posted in the first place?

        I sense a generel lack of attention span combined with a disability to skip parts of a video and on top a strong desire for attention. My guess: he is a tiktoker.

        1. I don’t comment on youtube because I refuse to create or use any account having to do with google. Same for all those other “social media” sites, I don’t participate in any of them.
          It’s also nearly impossible to to skip parts in such a video. The thing I’m interested in is how it actually works, and those show up in very short pieces of the video and if you start skipping you will miss them. (on the other hand, you can skip lines of text without missing other parts).

          I do have some attention span and concentration problems, and in this video they got triggered a lot by the guy telling some 10+ times how wonderful the thing is without any content.

          I’m also both amused and confused by this human psychology thing. The video does not show anything in the first 3 minutes, but the guy is enthusiastic and that rubs off on most people, while my opening sentence had a negative connotation and that triggers hostile reactions regardless of content. So I stick to my point, 2 minutes would have been long enough for this video, the other 10 minutes are (probably) just fill, or bad editing skills similar.

          1. Assuming you watch YT on a computer, learning the keyboard controls will improve your viewing experience greatly. Key keys: left and right arrows to skip 5 seconds back or forward.

    2. Who are you asking? The creator isn’t necessarily here, as HaD is mostly an aggregator site of interesting things found elsewhere.

      The original creator has a bill of materials up on GitHub, and the wheels and extrusions are commonly available (looks like the same v-slot wheels and 2020 aluminium extrusion you’ll find in a lot of 3d printers)

      If you want to make your own, or do better, feel free. He’s literally trying to recreate the design of an existing “high end” lamp out of cheap, available materials, and you’re lambasting him for not making something completely different and the sin of being enthusiastic.

  4. i don’t get it. why is it illegal for an individual to remake any patented unique material for individual non-profit use?

    or does youtube monentization count as profiting in this instance?

    i feel like if he sanded down the sides of the flat cable he found, he’d be able to get 2 2-conducter versions in the channel for switching and power

    1. I think the issue is that ideally you’d want to make those in bulk to keep the cost down for the community, so maybe he’s thinking about buying everything in bulk and selling kits, but even if he did so at no profit, technically he’d still be selling a product that is infringing patents.
      So if making your own one off, I think you’d be safe, but for a community shared project, avoiding infringing patents is safer?
      Also it seems the patent doesn’t give out all the details anyway. You could say that in which case, if you are inferring something not stipulated on the patent, you’re safe, but if you’re Joe Doe, you probably want to steer clear from litigating with Dyson even if you think you’re safe!

    2. yeah, I wondered about the same and came to the conclusion that monetizing videos on youtube is commercial activity. If that commercial activity involves using a patented mechanism without having a license to, that’s infringement.

      I think this might really be a cornercase; a lot of advanced lectures explain things that are patented, and it’s not trivial to argue that all educational settings are non-commercial.

      So, we should maybe a) ask him personally, and b) this might be different between different jurisdictions, and he simply has no interest in being demonetized because say, some pacific island state’s patent law says he is in violation of a patent that dyson also registered there.

      1. I suspect even not monetising your video, so you gain nothing is commercial activity – as the platform still making money out of it. Very tricky area to know for sure what the legal approach would be – far safer to steer clear.

    3. I think there are some big misconceptions about patents.
      I’ll quote Wikipedia:
      A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time…
      Typically, a party (other than the patentee or licensee of the patentee) that manufactures, imports, uses, sells, or offers for sale patented technology without permission/license from the patentee, during the term of the patent and within the country that issued the patent, is considered to infringe the patent

      The way I read it, is that the patent is limited to the product itself. You may copy it, you can make video’s of it and monetize those (the video’s are your own creation). The unfortunate thing is that the patent mechanism has a lot of teeth and lobbying power to stretch and distort what a patent is, and what it can do, and they obfuscate as much as they can the limits of patents. And there is no counterweight to this mechanism. the “average” consumer or tinkerer is not going to invest much energy to enforce his rights and even a very vague threat containing the words “lawyer” or “infringement” is enough to scare him away. Apparently this has been ingrained so much into peoples minds they accept it and don’t even think about it anymore.

      I’d say the whole patent system is bonkers and 95% of it should be abolished. Ideas are cheap, and I don’t see why paying lots of money to have it patented should give you the only right to commercialize it. 100’s of people before you probably had the same Idea, but no means to commercialize it.

      Take for example torx screws. Apparently there was a need for a better interface for screwdrivers. It does not take much brains to go from hexagonal to torx. Torx got patented, and it is only now becoming more popular after the patents have expired.

      Patents should not be abolished completely. There are plenty of products that start with a novel idea, but can need years of effort to get into an actual product, and without a mechanism to protect that investment, the investment probably would not have been made.

      In the example of Torx it’s different. Torx is born out of a need for a better screw interface for mass production, and it would have been invented and produced without the patent too.

  5. Regarding the feeding of a 5-conductor cable through the smaller version of the drag chain, I’m wondering if [Steve Bennet] could simply remove the sheath and feed the 5 individual wires through the chain. For esthetic reasons they would all have to be black, which would make wiring a bit less convenient; but it might be worth doing in order to have the circuit board in the base of the lamp.

  6. Commercial lighting manufacturers have produced lighting track for years, I can’t see what Dyson is claiming to be novel in this design which looks similar. Shop display lighting have an aluminium extrusion with a copper bus bar sitting inside the profile, the bus bar is enclosed with an insulator on all sides except one; the attached light fitting has a retractable contact that engages with the open side of the bus bar.

    1. You’d need to watch his whole playlist on this project to understand why it’s more than just a desktop track light. The super smooth and silent movement in all directions (practically zero resistance) with the use of a counterweight, clever bearings, and clever electric design are what makes this unique. Try moving a normal track light with the relative effort of a feather while trusting it’ll stay put exactly where you leave it.

  7. The type of patent will depend on how much you can get away with in terms of infringement. A utility patent protects a new and novel fundamental concept or mechanism. A design patent focuses more on the execution of such mechanism in a working product; the aesthethics and function. And being sure to cite the prior art demonstrates ones awareness of existing patents related to whatever your attempting to improve upon.

  8. You can use the frame as a wire, because aluminum is a good conductor. Then you can install a copper strip over an insulator(for example double sided tape) in the bottom of V-slot. Then the voltage can be picked up by a small bearing.

    1. The two frame pieces are not electrically connected together. While you could put a ground terminal at the bottom of one and the end of the other, you’d still need a way to make them connect to each other across the rollers, keeping in mind the oxide issue.

  9. What if the rails were the wires? Metal rails and wheels to conduct the power to the light. As long as the metal wheels are touching the metal rail, power would be provided. Cover the rails in a stylish rubber.

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