Color and light have always fascinated me. I've been a fan of mid-century, Danish and modern lighting design for quite a while. I’ve been collecting retro swags for a number of years, as seen above because I love their look - they represent one of the most innovative times for the use of plastics in lighting design.

Multi-part, modular construction pieces however, like the PH Artichoke lamp and IQlight (recreated as an Instructable here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Universal-lamp-shade-polygon-building-kit  as well other multi-part designs peak my attention as they represent an approach to the design and structure of housewares that made the owner part of the process, either by providing their lamp in kit form forcing the owner to build the lamp themselves, or by providing a number of like parts that could be assembled in various ways to produce different outcomes.

A number of designers responsible for that approach were architects turned furniture designers. A few of the more famous mid-century designers attended Cranbrook Design School, a few miles from my home. Charles and Ray Eames ("Eames Era") met at Cranbrook  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranbrook_Educational_Community#Notable_alumni_and_faculty

A quick visits to the Cranbrook Art Museum to see their works in their native setting started the creative juices flowing, and so, inspired to give it a shot, here is my Instructable on making a mid-century modern style lamp shade using AutoDesk 123D Make.

This Instructable is a jumping off point and instructions on "how to approach" not necessarily a "how to reproduce” my project. Let creativity guide you and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Step 1: Design - Chicken or egg?

While working on my other Instructable entry for the Hurricane Laser Cutter Contest http://www.instructables.com/id/Cool-AutomataFaux-Steampunk-inspired-CD-Case  - I went out to the Autodesk 123D web page and viewed the 123D Make tutorial movie http://www.123dapp.com/make  While watching it, my attention was captured by a model of a torus done in interlocking slices mode (waffle) that made me think - "man if that were done in a colored acrylic, you could drop a bulb in the middle of it and make a really cool mid-century style lamp!  Additionally, the software provides an animated "how to put your model together" animation that would make an amazing instruction manual if you processed the screen shots into a booklet.

While cool as it stands, it certainly wouldn’t be much of a project to simply package someone else’s work, even if that someone was a computer program :)   I  wondered if some editing could be done to the individual model pieces to alter the shape, add some additional protrusions, perhaps making it less symmetrical or add additional details. I exported one of part's outline into Illustrator for some quick editing, then a second import into a 3d program to see what was possible.  While possible, it quickly became evident that due to the way the pieces had to go together, chances were good my editing of the original shapes might  destroy my ability to assemble the model - after all, acrylic is not a very flexible material, and if I made an edit that didn’t allow the parts to pass through one another as required for assembly, I could be stuck with a big pile useless cut plastic

The correct approach would be to design the "completed" 3D shape first then have 123D MAKE slice it into kit parts.

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Bio: Done lurking, time to create and share!
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