We are three students Industrial Design in our second year at University of Ghent.
We were instructed to design and make a plexiglass chandelier that chould be produced with our own designed DIY plexiglass bender.
We were allowed to use standard DIY tools and digital production techniques like lasercutting to make our plexiglass bender.
The plexiglass bending technique we had to use was 'twisting and bending a predefined freeform'.
We chose to plexiglass spiral lamp.
This instructable will give you step by step instructions and lasercutfiles of how to make this plexiglass bender and lamp.
Step 1: Materials
Here is a list of the materials you will nead to build the plexiglass bender.
- 46 M3x20 hexagon button head screws
- 46 standard M3 nuts
- 4 400mm long aluminium L profile 15mm x 15mm
- 8 6mm thick MDF plates dimensions: 450mm x 600mm
- 1 3mm thick MDF plate dimensions: 400mm x 400mm
- 6 copper linear bearings with inner diameter 8mm
- 3 400mm hardened steel axles diameter 8mm
- 2 Elstein FSR 245mm x 60mm ceramic infrared radiators (be carefull with them because the easily break)
- 2 ceramic connector blocks.
- 1 electric cord
- 3 400mm x 400mm 0.5mm thick aluminum plates
- Epoxy glue
- 1 hook bolt (M4) with nut
- 4 20mm hinges with 16 wood screws
- 2 table curtain clamps
Step 2: Lasercutting
When you have your MDF plates ready, they can be lasercutted.
The second and fourth file must be lasercutted twice.
Make sure the settings on the lasercutter are correct (6mm MDF).
Step 3: Preparing Aluminum Parts
- Cut the aluminum L-profile to size (length is 400mm) and file the scharp edges.
- Drill the holes with a diameter of 3mm in the aluminum profile according to the plan.
- Repeat this 4 times.
- Cut three 0.5mm thick aluminum plates to size. (400mm x 400mm).
- Cut the circle with diameter 275mm out of the first plate with a sharp cutter. You can use the circle you've lasercutted out earlyer as a template. Make sure the circle is centered!
- Cut out the two rectangles out of the second 0.5mm thick aluminum plate according to the plan. It is a good idea to drill holes in the corners of the rectangles before you cut them out and then file the edges and corners.
Step 4: Assembling the Top Part.
After al the MDF parts are lasercutted out and the aluminum parts are ready, you can start assembling the plexiglass bender.
- Carefully insert the copper bearings in the 2 top pieces (1 small square piece and 1 rectangular piece).
- Put a triangle on the two top pieces so the bearings are sitting flush with the surface and secure this with a bolt and nut in the middle. Make sure you use the triangles with the big holes.
- Assemble the whole top piece and fasten everything with bolts. Make sure the two triangles are on the inside as shown on the picture.
- Put the three steel axles through the copper bearings and secure the top and bottom of the three axles with 2 triangles on each side. Make sure you use the triangles with the small holes.
Step 5: Assembling the Side Plates
- Bolt the aluminum L-profiles to the two side plates. Make sure the correct side of the profile is faced upwards and they are positioned on the inside of the side plates.
Step 6: Assembling the Heating Plate
- Glue the aluminum plate with the 2 rectangles cut out to the bottom plate (the MDF plate with the two bigger rectangles cut out) with epoxy glue. Make sure the aluminum plate is nice centered on the MDF plate. It is also a good idea to lightly sand the surface of the aluminum and the MDF before glueing so you have a good bond.
- Install the two infrared radiators with the provided clamp. The radiator itself should be on the side of the aluminum plate and the clamp should be on the side of the MDF.
Step 7: Assembling the Clamping Mechanism
- Screw the 4 hinges to the two clamping plates (the two plates with the big circle cut out) on the provided spots as shown on the pictures with the provided wood screws. If the wood screws are to long, you can file them off on the other side.
- Saw four strips of 3mm thick MDF. The dimensions are 340mm x 50mm for the sides, so cut this twice, 400mm x 50mm for the front and 400mm x 40mm for the back (= the side of the hinges).
- Glue the MDF strips into place so you have the circumscribed circle and the plexiglass spiral fits perfectly in it. Make sure the circumscribed circle is concentric with the circle that is lasercutted out of the top and bottom plate.
- Glue the aluminum plate with the big circle cut out on the bottom side of the clamping mechanism with epoxy glue. Before you do this, make sure the screws of the hinges are flush with the MDF. It is also a good idea to lightly sand the surface of the aluminum and the MDF before glueing so you have a good bond.
Step 8: Assembling the Cover Plate
- Cut out a 400mm x 400mm square out of a 6mm MDF plate.
- Glue the last aluminum plate to the MDF plate. Again lightly sand the surface of the aluminum and the MDF before glueing so you have a good bond.
Step 9: Assembly of the Whole
- Bolt the bottom plate to the back plate.
- Position all the plates that fit into each other on top of the side plate before pressing them carefully all together in the side plate.
- Bolt the side plate secure to the other plates. The easiest way to do this is to slide the construction section by section over the edge of the table so you can easily acces the mounting holes.
- Press the second side plate on the construction and bolt it down.
- Connect the infrared radiators to the electric cable with the ceramic connector blocks as shown on the picture. Make sure you put the electric cable throught the provided hole in the back side.
- Install the hook bolt through the hole on the top triangles.
- Slide the clamping mechanism and the cover plate in place. The clamping mechanism goes above the cover plate.
- Put the table curtain clamps over clamping mechanism so it doesn't go open when thermoforming the spiral.
- It is a good idea to check the temperature with a thermometer. We tested two different kinds and the second one is the most precise.
- Cut two circles out of a scrap piece 3mm MDF with a lightly bigger diameter than the small circle that has been lasercutted out of the center of the spiral and drill holes in to the centers (diameter 3mm).
With these circles and a long M3 bolt (or a M3 threaded rod) you can attach the spiral to the triangles from the sliding mechanism as shown on the pictures.
Step 10: Building a Lamp
Now you know how to make a plexibender, we are going to use it.
In the next steps we'll show you how to build a plexi lamp.
Step 11: Materials
-2 plexiglass sheets (60x45 mm, thickness:3mm)
-Aluminum profile 10x10 mm
-Aluminium tube Ø13mm (outer diameter), thickness 1 mm
- Electric wire
-A pusher switch
-A silicone knob or a knob with a diameter of 30 mm
-A shell for table legs
-Rivets Ø3.2mm, 12mm depth
-LED strip (1m)
-Power supply cable
-White heat shrink
-Glue (Trans 7)
-A laser cutter
-An electric drill
-An utility knife
-A wire stripper (recommended)
Step 12: Lasercutting
First we are going to cut the PMMA with a laser cutter. The plexi that we are going to use has a thickness of 3 mm
These are files you will need. The green lines represent etched surfaces, the red lines represent cutted lines.
you will have to place the sheets like this
the last picture is a picture of the full assembly
Step 13: Tube Cutting
In this step we cut the tubes to a total length of 170 mm. The tubes should be equally as long. It is also important to cut these tubes perpendicular to their center axis. You should do this by measuring the distance from the top which is usually horizontally (if you buy this in store the tubes are well produced). To test this put the tube on the table and place something flat on top of it.
Step 14: Soldering
Solder+to+ side on all 4 sides and -to - on all sides. Leave one part open to connect with switch and adapter. We have put the led in series. You can place another block at the bottom of the profile to make sure it will always push in the switch. Before you start it is important to make sure you are soldering directly on the copper and not on the film beneath the silicone scratch off the film first. After you have soldered the LEDs in serie, check if all the leds are burning. Make sure that the leds aren't exposed to forces on the soldered points when you push at the ends of the profile.
Step 15: Installing Pusher Switch
Put the pusher switch in the spacer.
You will have to cut the alumium tube at a length of 14 mm. Put the switch in the tube and solder the end of the power supply cable to the one end of the switch and the jumper wire to the end of the ledstrip.
Step 16: Gluing Top and Bottom
Glue the aluminium profile to the centering cap. Then glue the top tube to the centering cap as well. Then we are going to attach the cap to the spiral itself. If this doesn't work try a knob with nail at the end and make a hole in the centering cap and the aluminium profile. You can then put the knob with the nail on it trough the hole in the centering cap and the aluminium profile. Then glue the cap to the aluminium profile.
You should leave the ledprofile, the tube and the centering cap to dry. While you are waiting test the leds if the soldering is still ok.
Glue the spacer at the bottom to the bottomplate to be sure nothing starts moving. This is only to keep it in place while assembling the lamp. The spacer only gets pushed downwards.
Step 17: Soldering Switch to Leds
Put some heat shrink around the wires and solder the wires form the leds to the wires of the switch. After you have soldered shrink the heat shrink with a lighter.
Step 18: Placing the Tube at the Bottom
Place the tube back at the bottom and glue it from the bottom so that it is fixed.
Step 19: Connecting Adapter
Try the connector for a moment and see if everything works correctly (all LEDS are burning? Is the switch working properly?) Make sure to check if you need a 12V or a 24V adapter. You can shrink white heat shrink around the power supply cable for a better look. Then loop the cable around the center piece in the middle disc and put the cable between the bottom and top discs.
Step 20: Riveting the Holes
Put the rivets in the holes and use a riveter to connect the four bottom discs and the spiral. Squeeze tight but be careful not to break the plexi.
Step 21: Finishing Touch
Place another knob on the top for a better look.
Click on your new lamp.