Monday, February 4, 2013

Learning Log 1 or Lamps

This is a prototype of a lamp that I developed while working at James Dayton Design.  Jim had an idea for a lamp and set me to work putting it together.  It was a wonderful project to work on. I learned a great deal about fabrication woodworking, lighting, and the creative process.  I was given a drawing with dimensions and materials and told to figure it out.  I was fortunate to have some master woodworkers to work with in order to get a good idea how to proceed.  Thanks to Tatsu, I figured out how to make an interior skeleton on which the wood panels are attached.  The exterior panels are made out of a very expensive wood which didn't give me a lot of latitude to mess up on the milling of the panels.  With a cheaper material I would have spent more time working on the milling as I couldn't get it quite perfect.  Our table saw was a little too small for the task, a larger saw would have created more uniform pieces.  Where the real sticking point came was with the light source itself.  In the first prototype I placed the light right in the middle of the plexiglass upper quadrant.  This caused a very distinct bright spot in the light area of the lamp.  We were also concerned about the lamp overheating as there was nowhere for the heat from the lightbulb to escape and the integrity of the plexiglass box was important to Jim.  So I went back to create another prototype with the lightbulb placed lower below the lip of the wood.  This solved the bright spot problem but created a very dim lamp.  At this point we were stumped and the project languished and to my knowlege hasn't gone anywhere since.  This work was happening back in 2005 and it was before a lot of new lighting projects were on the market.  I would love to revisit the project with some of the new LED lights that are on the market these days.  A lot of these lights have different properties and none of the heat problems associated with heat that regular incandescent bulbs have.  I'm betting that there might be some kind of material out there with fiber optics running through it that could make the panels a source of light instead of just a diffusing device.  With some things technology doesn't seem to change much but lighting has changed a lot recently and I think recent developments could make this project much more realistic.  Implication: this project wasn't possible in 2005 but in 2013?

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