There’s something about light fixtures that attracts makers like moths to a flame. [danthemakerman] wanted something with a more configurable light output and built this Sculptural and Customizable Plywood Lamp.
In his detailed build log, [danthemakerman] describes how he wanted something “sort of like an analog dimmable light.” By using a stack of split plywood donuts hinged on a brass rod, he can vary the output and shape of the lamp. These shutters allow the lamp to go from bright to nightlight without using any electrical dimming components.
The plywood was rough cut on a bandsaw before being turned on a lathe. The light cover sections were then hollowed out with a Forstner bit and split in half. The tricky bit is the overlap of the cut on the hinge side of the shutters. Cutting the piece exactly in half would’ve required a lot more hardware to make this lamp work than what was achieved by patient woodworking.
After accidentally crushing the plastic envelope on a cheap LED light bulb, [bigclivedotcom] figured out he could make custom ones using OpenSCAD in any shape he wants. He previously hacked a bunch of these inexpensive LED bulbs last month, discovering they all shared a similar circuit topology. All the ones he experimented with drove the LEDs hard, something that’s bound to reduce bulb lifetime. By reverse engineering the current control regulator, it turns out it is easy to adjust the drive current by changing a resistor or two. Reducing the current should not only increase lifetime, but could allow repurposing the bulb for other uses, such as decorative lighting.
Three OpenSCAD scripts are provided which generate what he calls diamond, obelisk, and globe styles. Basic parameters for each style can be tweaked by the user, such as feature sizes and number of facets. He mentions the lack of OpenSCAD customizers in his script — this can easily be added as shown in the following example (this section of the User Manual on customizers explains the syntax). Note that you can’t make the slider generate real numbers, only whole numbers, which is why the scaling factor is multiplied by 10.
These fancy globes can be used as night lights and possibly outdoor lighting, if you can make a good seal with the base. Custom chandeliers, anyone? Indicator lamps for very large panels? Any other ideas? If you want to explore the LED lifetime issue further, inveterate tinkerer Ted Yapo wrote a deep dive into the mythical 100,000 hour LED bulb. Thanks to [Cliff Claven] for the tip.
The gorgeous Shoji-style lamps you’re seeing here aren’t made of wood or paper. Beyond the LEDs illuminating them from within, the lamps are completely 3D printed. There aren’t any fasteners or glue holding them together either, as creator [Dheera Venkatraman] used authentic Japanese wood joinery techniques to make their components fit together like a puzzle.
While we’re usually more taken with the electronic components of the projects that get sent our way, we have to admit that in this case, the enclosure is really the star of the show. [Dheera] has included a versatile mounting point where you could put anything from a cheap LED candle to a few WS2812B modules, but otherwise leaves the integration of electronic components as an exercise for the reader.
All of the components were designed in OpenSCAD, which means it should be relatively easy to add your own designs to the list of included panel types. Despite the colorful details, you won’t need a multi-material printer to run them off either. Everything you see here was printed on a Prusa i3 MK3S in PETG. Filament swaps and careful design were used to achieve the multiple colors visible on some of the more intricate panels.
You can tell from looking around his workshop that [Paul Jackman] likes plywood even more than we do. And for the bases of these lamps, he sandwiches enough of the stuff together that it becomes a distinct part of the piece’s visuals. Some work with a router and some finishing, and they look great! You can watch the work, and the results, in his video embedded below.
The plywood bases also hide the electronics: a transformer and some LEDs. To make space for them in the otherwise solid blocks of wood, he tosses them in the CNC router and hollows them out. A little epoxy for the caps of the jars and the bases were finished. Fill the jars with colored glass, and a transparent tube to allow light all the way to the top, and they’re done.