Introduction: 3D Print & Walnut Lamp

About: A husband & wife team. Amateur makers. Expert high fivers. New video every week (or so).

We really wanted to combine 3D printing and woodworking so we made this 3D printed and walnut lamp! The base is 3D printed, we added walnut panels to the facets, and we detailed it with copper tape.

You can download the 3D model (and template we used to cut out the panels) here if you'd like to make it yourself: get the model and template.

And here are the tools and materials we used:

Step 1: 3D Print the Base

The 3D print is hollow to save on material and it prints without supports, woo! You can download our 3D model here. We'll use this as a base for the rest of our lamp. To summarize the design process:

  • we sketched the main polygon shaped
  • extruded it with a tapered angle
  • recessed the faces to make space for the plywood
  • shelled out the inside
  • added a hole at the top for the lamp thread
  • added chamfers and cleaned everything up for 3d printing

If you'd like to learn more about Fusion 360, Instructables has a nice class on it here.

One quick feature we can share, for those using Fusion 360 already is how we used parameters. We created a parameter (kind of like a variable) for the number of faces we wanted. When modeling we used this parameter instead of entering a number which allowed us to very easily edit the model as we went along.

In particular, it controls the number of faces for the main polygon shape, the number of times things were patterned, etc. When we had the lamp mostly designed we could preview how it would look with 5,6,7,8, etc faces which was SUPER valuable. Facetnating, no? :P

Step 2: Apply Copper Tape

This copper tape is made from real copper and has an awesome shine to it. It's really easy to work with too! The lamp base has raised "spines" that will, in the end, lay flush with the wood panels. We put tape over each of these raised areas and across the top of the lamp base. At corners, we snipped the tape a little (you'll see what I mean in the video) so that we could fold it down along the sides of the raised spines. We taped the top last so that it had a nice uniform surface.

Step 3: Cut Wood Panels

We used our model to make a paper template (get it here) to cut the wood panels. We attached them to the wood with spray adhesive and cut them on our band saw slightly outside the line, then sanded them down to the line on our belt sander little by little. It's easy to accidentally go too far, so be careful not to make them too small and test fit as you sand them down.

Once you have one top panel and one bottom panel made, you can use trace those for the rest of the panels.

In order to print the lamp base without supports, we had to chamfer the bottom panels slightly. This means, the wood has to be chamfered slightly as well. It wasn't hard to do on the belt sander, we just eyeballed it, tested it, eyeballed it, tested it, until they fit.

Step 4: Lamp Kit and Cord Outlet

This was our first time using a lamp kit but luckily it was pretty easy! It makes a lot more sense watching it in the video, but we'll go through the basic steps here too.

First pull the cord up through the top of the lamp put down the base piece of the lamp kit, then the piece with the screws. You'll want to curve the wires at the end of the cord into 2 little u-turns, and loop them around the 2 screws clockwise so that when you tighten the screws, it pulls the wires tighter. Tighten the cords, put the cardboard cover on, then snap in the metal cover and you're done! Again, this makes a lot more sense watching it in the video, but hopefully this written part helps too :)

We also realized we forgot to add a hole in the side of the lamp for the cord to come out of, so we drilled a hole and 3D printed a little cover for it that the cord pops through.

Step 5: Glue on Wood Panels (and Oil Them)

The main thing we'd do differently if we redid this project was how we glued on the panels. We oiled the wood first, then glued them with E6000 and superglue (superglue to essentially clamp them on, but the E6000 for the long lasting hold). We wanted to tape the panels in place after applying the glue, but because the wood had been oiled our painters tape didn't stick at all! In a panic, we started trying different tapes, and electrical tape worked so we frantically wrapped it up. Spoiler alert- electrical tape leaves a lot of gooey residue, womp womp. So we cleaned/sanded it off and re-oiled the wood.

What we'd suggest doing instead is to not oil the wood til after the panels are attached, that way you can use painters tape. It would have been so much easier!

PS, the wood oil we use is Natchez Solution, it's great if you want a matte finish.

Step 6: Shade and Lightbulb

Add the shade and light bulb, and you're done! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please let us know if you have any questions!

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