Step 3: Building the wire guide.

There are many different methods for coiling wire in the shape that I have.  This method was the one that worked best for me and was simplest for me to make out of what I had available.   

We will be putting a hole in the center of the bit using the 1.5" (38mm or close) hole saw.  A pair of scissors would probably work if you are using cardboard.    

First, grab the bit of 2"x4" (50mm x 101mm) plastic/wood/cardboard/whatever.  Using a pencil/marker/eyeliner; make a mark in the center of the piece.  Precision is not really required; you can eyeball this.   Measure ~2" (~50mm) from the mark you made and place a mark. Do this again in the opposite direction.   You should now have three marks on the material.  The center mark is where the 1.5" (38mm) diameter guide rod will eventually go.  The two side marks will be where the wire will be threaded through.  

With the 1.5" hole saw bit affixed to your drill; create a hole in the center of the material where you marked.   Swap out the hole saw with the drill bit and drill a hole on each of the other marks.  Your finished piece should look nothing like this.  This was done with the above tools minus the drill.  

On to the guide rod.   We will want to mark out every half inch (12.7mm) on the guide rod to help us in spacing our turns.  So, with a ruler, go through and do so.

Place the rod through the guide hole, and you are almost ready to create the double helix.  

I'm trying to recreate this with some extra twists (fiber optic cable too out outside the tube) but I'm stuck on the growing the crystals part. Its becoming very frustrating. I've used a big back of alum granules from the internet then I went to the store to buy 10 more little spice alum granules (not mccormoicks) and now I'm thinking my best bet is going to be lab grade (found 500g for $11). Because the crystals just arent growing on the structure, theres a layer on the bottom. Any help would be extremely useful
Very impressive! We had done something somewhat similar (minus the awesome lights!) with copper wire and silver nitrate. I will try your to make your lamp, and use the silver nitrate for the crystals!<br>Great job!
A word concerning another problem you may have in time: the laser-cut acrylic plastic can crack due to internal stresses set up by the laser-cutting process. Any cutting process heats (and melts) the surface at the cuts. These surfaces cool and try to shrink, but are braced by the bulk of the unheated material. They remain in tension, and cracks can start from imperfections over time.<br><br>You can see these stresses by illuminating the pieces with polarized light and viewing through another polarizer. Stressed areas will pass light; the rest will be dark.<br><br>The solution is to anneal out these stresses. You take the parts (remove the protective paper) after fabrication and put them in an oven. They are heated to a temperature that allows stress to relieve, but not enough to warp (probably about 180 degrees F), hold at that temperature until the bulk is at that temperature, then cool slowly so that essentially the entire bulk cools together. This will require at least 12 hours. The large gear will be the item you must watch carefully for warping. Annealing can be done more slowly at lower temperatures. The quality of the anneal can be checked with the polarizer set.
Thank you for the wonderful information!! This is really good stuff! I just started to notice these cracks and I was wondering what was causing them since they didn't form in areas that would experience stress. Thank you for clearing that up for me and everyone else viewing this! I hope you don't mind, but I've included the information you posted into the instructable.
WOW! You should enter in the teacher contest... ;)
Hehe, thanks. Though I think I'll leave that one for the actual teachers out there. :) They don't get enough love as is.
Very cool. Well structured 'able, plus it was entertaining to read. It was obvious you had time to devote to writing out each step and it was well spent. I'm curious if you did the same with RGB LED strings if you could actually mimic a DNA strand or at least sync your base string with the encapsulated string as the base appears to wash out the EL wire a bit.<br><br>Good luck in you job hunting. If nothing else, maybe you can sell a few of these to some high end boutiques, maybe even turn them into a 'smoking accessory' and tap that market - heard a few of those sold in the thousands...
Hehe, thank you! Yeah, I had thought about the RGB LED strands, it is a good idea but it complicates the process a bit since supplying it with power becomes a bit more difficult than the current process. I think it is totally doable and I have considered it, but it hasn't gone much further. As for washing out the EL-wire. I think that is likely due to the batteries being low when I was taking the photos and videos. Initially it was much brighter. Though, I suspect I may skip the el-wire in future versions. I've had two strands fail on me so far and I've yet to track down the failure point and the difference between on and off is noticeable, but only if you know what you are looking for.
This is great stuff guy, check out my friends art work featuring crystals... http://www.twentytwelvenataraja.com/Gallery-%20Main.htm ...Hope you enjy! :)
Thank you for the kind words and the link. Your friend's artwork is really impressive. Those are wonderful paintings.
Going to make it into the Left-handed DNA hall of fame (http://www.fred.net/tds/leftdna/). DNA is usually a right-handed helix.
Dorght, I was thinking that as well. Either way, it's fantastic. Brilliant work :)
Fascinating, I was completely unaware that it had a preference, though I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. Thanks for the info!
Excelente!!<br>Sin dudas una escultura con mucha ciencia..<br>Voy a tratar de reproducirla. Es probable que cambie algunos materiales, pero intentar&eacute; que quede lo m&aacute;s parecida posible.<br>Mis felicitaciones por tama&ntilde;o trabajo!<br>Ah! Seguramente puedas desarrollar este y otros trabajos para poder comercializar y asi pagar tus cuentas y hasta puedas seguir siendo un artista independiente para hacer lo que te gusta y vivir de ello.<br>Te deseo felices fiestas y un pr&oacute;ximo a&ntilde;o lleno de bendiciones y fortuna.<br>
Thank you!! I would love to see the results when you finish it! I am hoping I can, this is kind of my first attempt at doing so. We'll see. Happy holidays to you as well!
FYI, heating distilled water can be a bit dangerous. It can become super heated without boiling, and when you stick a spoon in it, it will instantly boil and explode all over, possible causing burns. If you are stirring the entire time though, it shouldn't be a problem and I think having the alum in the water will prevent it from doing this as well.<br><br>Nice looking lamp by the way! I like the idea of using crystals to shape the DNA.
Wow! I had never heard of this. Absolutely fascinating though. Thanks for the info!
Cool lamp, you should try to do so.
Congratulations on being featured. Great looking sculpture. I hope it looks good on your resume.
Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I am glad people seem to like the project.
Autocad inventor? 2010?
Oh, oops, I should clarify. <br><br>Autodesk Inventor 2012. I was using the 30 day trial version that changed over to the student/unemployed version that they offer through their education community. http://students.autodesk.com/ <br><br>
I have Autodesk 2012 also, but I don't like one of the menus and the new rendering process, however I got a new videocard so it might run smoother. I currently run Autodesk Inventor 2011 Pro. You can even see some of my &quot;widgets&quot; I made on my instructables page. I don't even have the more sophisticated ones on there like my new computer case I'm building in a HS shop class, Since I'm a junior on my last shop class, I'll leave with a BANG!<br>I have some pictures of the 3D Rendering in ACAD. My favorite part is that you can either draw it in 2d or 3d and convert between them. I'd rather make an object then make steps, even if I have to redo it over for them, like in my tutorials I've done it at least twice before I record so it free-sails nicely. Tell me what you think of my project. I was actually going to make your lamp, but i'm a little low on money right this moment...<br>
Nice looking stuff. Personally I am rather impressed with Inventor as a whole. This is my first real attempt at making something using it. I was impressed at how intelligent it was overall. <br><br>On your project, it looks nice. Very stylish for a computer case. Good work.<br>
Gorgeous lamp, it looks amazing!
super awesome!!!!!
I love the way this looks, nice job!

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Bio: I am a visual effects artist (games mostly). I enjoy building random stuff, especially lamps. I am hoping to move into producing commercial products in ... More »
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