Introduction: 3D Printed Lamp Shade

Picture of 3D Printed Lamp Shade

Many people overlook lampshades everyday, but here is an indestructible to show you how to make one for a 3D print that will give your guests a double take and sure to be a conversation starter at your next dinner party. I will be going through the steps in creating a cylindrical surface for which to use the paneling tools plug in with Rhino -Grasshopper to create a unique looking punctured lamp shade.

Step 1: Design Your Surface

Picture of Design Your Surface

The easiest way to start is to create simple cylinder by either using the LOFT command with a couple circular curves or by using the SWEEP 2 command (which was what I used). Once you are happy with what you made, you are ready to get into Grasshopper to start penalizing your surface.

Step 2: Paneling the Surface

Picture of Paneling the Surface

Now we are ready to start our grasshopper definition. Pop open the plug in by simply typing GRASSHOPPER (this goes for most tall commands as well). In Grasshopper, simply double click the back grid to reach this command line.

1. Type SURFACE to add this button (right click this to select the awesome surface you just made)

2. Next add a BREP COMPONENTS button for more versatility use for down the line in steps. (trust me here)

3. Now we can start using the paneling tools. Find the SURFACE DOMAIN NUMBER button (shown above)

4. After you connect the designated tabs, we need to establish the number of panes for the grid - SLIDER button

Note: If you see some buttons are light or dark grey, that means they are either visible or not (right click to adjust)

Step 3: Adding Some Depth

Picture of Adding Some Depth

This step will give us more depth to our desired panels as it will create a second grid for the panel to expand in the normal direction form the surface.

1. First, add an OFFSET button (see above).

2. Next, add a second SURFACE DOMAIN NUMBER button for which to plug the offset surface to

3. We now have two grids around our surface. Lets combine the two with a MORPH 3D button

4. Now, select a BREP button to act as the panel that you wish to populate all of these wonderful panels with

Note: Don't panic if you don't see anything happening yet (patience young grasshopper). Also if you have orange or red buttons, this just means there still needs to be an element assigned to it or that your chords are mis-plugged.

Step 4: Making a Panel

Picture of Making a Panel

Now for the fun part, lets make a cool panel! This ones is mostly up to you and your own design aesthetic. Above I showed a quick example of how I took a plane with some holes to create the pattern I wanted (make a better one)

1. PLANE command (keep it square for now)

2. draw some curves on the plane, make sure they are flat.

3. Use the SPLIT tool to cut this shape out cookie cutter style

4. Select this surface, right click the BREP button in grasshopper and assign it.

Did someone say cookies? Now right click the MORPH 3D button and bake it, Waalaa - Delicious lamp ready

Step 5: My Bedroom Lamp

Picture of My Bedroom Lamp

Now before you run off and think you are done, remember, you need to add a thickness to the surface. 3D printers are amazing but they cannot print just planes. Use the OFFSET SURFACE command to give it the necessary thickness you want. (make sure to check the 'solid box')

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!


JaimeF11 made it! (author)2017-11-16

Grasshopper is not an easy program, and the way you explaining is not really understandable. Fortunately for me I have a lot of experience with GH.

slicelab (author)JaimeF112017-11-21

JaimeF11, I am glad you figured it out and you're right we definitely did breeze over the GH part as we wanted to focus more on showing the zoomed out process of going from digital to tangible. We should be going into a more in depth version of the GH steps in the near future, stay tuned!

74albia (author)2017-01-12

Nice project! But for a beginner (like me) the GH-files would be really helpful...


AceP10 (author)2016-09-24

Is it possible for you to post the grasshopper and rhino files? I followed the tutorial but i'm getting the following errors;

1. Solution exception:Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

2. Data conversion failed from Brep to Point

Thanks in advance

About This Instructable



Bio: Slice Lab is a think tank specializing in innovative digital design. We conduct virtual experiments where sculpture, technology and the organic world all crash together ... More »
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