Introduction: Laser Cut Candle Holder "De Drie Wijzen"

About: Hi! I make stuff. Sometimes I write instructions about them.

Every sunday in Belgium there is a show I watch called "De drie wijzen". One thing that really stood out to me is the decor, but more in particular the overhead lamps. I thought they were so cool that I made one for myself, but for holding a candle.

What do you need:

  • two 30x60cm 3mm MDF panels
  • cable ties
  • wire cutter
  • laser cutter

Here I used a laser cutter at my local fab lab. You can find one nearby at the fab lab map.

Step 1: From Picture to Design

The only resource that I had were stills from the tv-show. I asked on Twitter if they had close-ups, but they didn't :(. Luckily for me, the show is available for a limited time online, so I just opened up the stream and took some screenshots.

I then inserted those screenshots into Inkscape, my preferred (free) vector drawing program. It doesn't really matter which program you use, as long as work with paths (vectors) that you can export to either DXF, SVG or PDF.

From the pictures I deduced that the design is a Dodecahedron with a longer top half. To draw it out, I started out with three pentagons. Five of those are the elongated ones

I started out with the bottom half of the design by looking at the (low res) pictures and trying to see a pattern. The pattern is made out of rounded squares and a squared "three". When the pattern of the bottom half was done, I copied it to the elongated pentagons and filled it in according to the screenshots. Finally, the top pattern was a pattern I liked, since it's not visible in the screenshots.


Step 2: Cut It!

Like in my other instructables, where I built a christmas tree and a temperature changing color cube, we're going to cut it with a laser cutter!

Take the drawings from the previous step and head over to your laser cutter. If you don't have one, like me, there are fab labs all over the world where you can use one! You can locate one nearby here.

Instructions on how to cut are available on location, but a basic tutorial is available here.

At my local fab lab they have Trotec Speedy 300, but any laser cutter capable of burning through 3mm of wood should work. The board size here was 60x30 cm, but the drawings can be adjusted with free SVG editor like the before mentioned InkScape to move the layout around.

Step 3: Assembly

The assembly is quite self explanatory. I started from the bottom up with the five regular pentagons. You start with one and use the cable ties to chain them together to form a base. From that base you then attach the elongated pieces.

Don't fasten them all the way, first attach all parts loosely so that you find the right angle. Afterwards tighten them and cut them with the wire cutter. After some time you should be done!

Step 4: Closing Thoughts

This experiment was partially to show the capabilities of a laser cutter. It was also a new challenge to make a more complex 3D-shape from a 2D design. Not ignoring the fact that I only had low resolution screenshots as a reference. I'm happy how it turned out, I only made two mistakes:

  • Not enough holes to properly attach all the pieces
  • Adding the top part; I removed this since the candle was singeing it (which made my good friend, the smoke detector unhappy. He welcomed me with the song of his people.)

But besides those two, I am really happy with the result. Every evening I light a candle and appreciate the abstract shadows it casts!

I've recorded my process and put it on YouTube. Its in Dutch though.

Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017