We love lamps here at Hackaday, especially if they imitate natural light sources. [Scott McIndoe] used his love of lamps to fashion a chandelier replicating his favorite constellation, the Southern Cross.
Starting with the Southern Cross’s four major stars and the pointers of Alpha and Beta Centauri, [McIndoe] sketched out a breaking wave form between the six stars to form the spine of this light source. By using smart bulbs for each of the six star positions, he was able to set a scene that replicates the color and relative brightness of each star for that extra astronomical touch.
The top and bottom of the chandelier is laser cut from 3 mm plywood and fitted together using glue and finger joints while the sides are a wood veneer. The entire piece was sanded and coated with a bit of filler before painting. Mounting is accomplished using three eye hooks mounted on the top side of the chandelier.
Standing desks (also known as sit-stand desks) are somewhat polarizing. The height is adjustable, but the idea is that you move between sitting and standing while you work. Hundreds of manufacturers are out there, but they’re all the same. Two metal legs that extend and one or more motors to move the legs up and down. [JAR Made] tried to make something slightly different for their standing desk with an extending curved surface.
The build started with some gorgeous alder that was milled into square with a track saw and a planer — no jointer was required. However, he wanted long boards and was debating how to butt join the pieces together and decided on pocket holes with dowels to try and clamp the boards together while the glue dried. The resulting product was one that [JAR Made] was unhappy with. He pivoted on his feet by switching Baltic birch plywood for the main desk surface. Which was bent using a kerf-cutting technique (though just using a track saw rather than a CNC bit).
Here is where you can see him learn from his earlier mistakes. He routed a half lap in the plywood for the butt joint to give it more strength and devised a clever clamping mechanism using CA glue and painter’s tape to get good clamping pressure. The alder from earlier came in use to serve as a front edge for the plywood and a groove to hold the sliding piece of plywood that extends and retracts as the desk goes up and down.
Regular old standing desk legs screw into the underside of the desk and allow it to move up and down. Overall, it’s a wonderful build of a gorgeous desk. We love seeing people make mistakes and then pivot and learn from them. Perhaps the next step is to automate the desk to move on its own.
CNC machines are incredibly versatile tools. At a machine shop, they can machine all kinds of metal and plastic parts. Beyond that, they can engrave various materials including glass, and even create PCBs. [Steve] has a CNC machine of his own creation in his shop, and while he might be employing it for those common uses, his artistic creations are on the showcase for today with these 3D topographic relief maps.
The key to creating a good topographic relief map is good material stock. [Steve] is working with plywood because the natural layering in the material mimics topographic lines very well, especially with the high-quality marine-grade birch plywood he is using. Making sure to select pieces without knots improves the final product substantially, as does taking the time to fill any voids. Selecting good stock is only part of the process though. [Steve] is using TouchTerrain, an open source project helmed by [Dr. Chris Harding] of Iowa State University, to create the model which gets fed to the CNC machine. Originally intended for 3D printing applications, the web-based tool lets you easily select an area on the globe and export its topographical data to a standard STL or OBJ file.
With good stock and the ability to easily create 3D topographic maps, anyone with a CNC machine like this could easily reproduce their terrain of choice. We imagine the process might be easily ported to other tools like 3D printers, provided the resolution is high enough. We have also seen similar builds using laser cutters, although the method used is a little different.
The build starts with a motorized corner desk frame that can be bought from amazon for just $550. To create the chevron-finish top, [WoodCraftly] grabbed some plywood sheets, and cut them into a series of 1-inch strips. These were then flipped 90-degrees onto their side, and glued together to create a panel that showed off the individual layers of the plywood. This panel was then cut into 3-inch wide strips at a 45-degree angle, and these strips were then placed back to back and once again glued up to create the attractive herringbone design.
From there, it was a simple matter of gluing up panels into the L-shape required for the desk, adding mounting holes, and rounding off the corners for a nice finish. The desk was also given a thick coat of epoxy on the bottom which soaked into the wood and helped give the desk some strength, and a top coat that was sanded back to a natural-look finish.
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.
Anyone who’s ever played guitar to at least the skill level required to form a terrible garage band knows the names of the most legendary guitars. The driving sound of the Gibson Les Paul played by Jimmy Page, the upside-down and smooth Fender Stratocaster from Jimi Hendrix, or the twangy Rickenbacker made famous by George Harrison are all lusted-after models. The guitar that [Frank] really wanted was a Danelectro DC59 and since they’ve been steadily creeping up in price, he decided to build his own.
The body of the clone guitar is hollow and made from effectively scrap wood, in this case plywood. As the original guitars were in fact famous for using the least expensive materials possible, this makes it a great choice for a clone. [Frank] made the guitar using almost exclusively hand tools and glued everything together, but did use a few donor parts from a modern Stratocaster-type guitar. With most of the rough shape of the guitar finished, it was time to add the parts that make the guitar sound the way that a real Danelectro should: the lipstick-style pickups. He purchased these completely separately as they are the most important part to get right to emulate the tone and feel of the original.
With everything finally soldered and assembled, [Frank] got right to work recording a sample audio track which is included at the end of the video. It certainly sounds like the original to our untrained ears, and for around $100 it’s not a bad value either. If you’d like to see a guitar built from the ground up without using another as a clone, take a look at this build which brings a completely original guitar into existence, entirely from scratch.
The solar analemma is the shape the sun traces out when photographed each day at the same time and same location for a whole year – but you probably knew that already. [makendo] decided to use this skewed figure-eight shape as the inspiration for a chandelier, and the results are stunning.
A laser cutter was used to cut out segments of the analemma shape in plywood, such that they could slot together into the full form. These were then glued together on to a plywood sheet as a template to cut out the full-size form in a single piece. Some laminate edging was then added and the entire thing was given a coat of black gloss paint. String lights were cut up to provide the many globe fittings required, and installed on the back of the chandelier.
[makendo] notes that with a full 51 bulbs in the chandelier, it’s way too bright for most dining room settings. A dimmer is thus used to tone down the output to reduce eyestrain at mealtimes. It’s a fun build, and we’ve always loved light fixtures that are inspired by astronomy. If you like the moon more than the sun, though, there’s a build for you too!