Introduction: "Loulou" Lamp

This articulated, "steampunk"-style task light was created as proof-of-concept, showing that complex designs can be achieved in a reasonably well-equipped Fablab (3D printer + laser cutting machine).

This project is published under a Creative Commons licence (BY-NC-SA), including all modelling files required to build the task light :

  • 3 svg files for the laser cutting machine (download)
  • 4 stl files for the 3D printer (download)

We will start off by helping you build the parts (3D printing & laser cutting), then provide step-by-step instruction on how to assemble all the pieces and finally, we will explain how to connect the electrical parts with a toggle switch.

Step 1: Bill of Materials

  • For the laser cutting machine : 3 plywood board of 60 x 35 cm minimum, with a thickness of 5mm like here if you are in France :-) (you can also cut a standard board into 3 pieces)
  • For the 3D printer : 80g of 3D printing filament (preferably ABS) in your preferred colour.
  • For the electrical system :
    1 electric wire (you can re-use a classic extension cord for instance) To connect the switch to your domestic socket outlet.
    1 sheathed electric wire, 1 meter long, to connect the lamp socket to the switch (you can find nice ones here). Try to pick a colour that matches that of your 3D printing filament... so chic !
    1 E27 socket (you should probably buy it at the same place as you buy the sheathed wire to make sure the measurements are correct).
    1 toggle switch. For a nice design, choose it big enough, vintage-style (see here for an example)
    1 pretty E27 bulb (Edison style with filament) to round of the design. You can find it on the net (here or here). Make it 40w or it will be too bright for your eyes !
  • Additional tools :
    Sandpaper to smooth the laser-cut wooden parts.
    A thin file to adjust the interlocking of the parts. (3D printing precision is not always perfect because of thermal expansion and your laser-cut plywood boards may not be perfectly flat...)
    1 screwdriver to assemble the socket and the switch.
    1 box cutter ( or better yet, a wire stripper) to remove the electric wires' coating.
    1 soldering iron and some tin to connect the electrical wires to the switch.
    1 glue gun to strengthen some rivet fitting, glue together some wooden parts, and isolate electrical connections.

Step 2: Make the Pieces

We will not give a detailed description of how a 3D printer or how a laser cut machine works but we advise you to join your local Fablab to learn how to use those machines or get some help ! We will only provide technical specifications related to our files.

Laser cutting machine

Use 1 plywood board per downloaded svg files. The third file does not use the whole surface of the board but the remaining wood could be useful if you need to cut some pieces again. Schedule approximately 2 hours altogether to work on the different pieces.
Specifications : black and red lines must cut the wood. Blue lines must carve 1mm (to accommodate the rivets). No other colours are required for these files.The following specifications are suitable for a 40W laser cutting machine but they may need to be adjusted depending on the machine you will use : • BLACK and RED : Power = 100% ; Speed = 3% ; 500ppi ; • BLUE (not to be confused with CYAN) : Power = 100% ; Speed = 27% ; 500ppi ; 2.

3D Printer

We feel the design is better when all 3D elements are of the same colour, so make sure you have at least 80g of filament left in your colour of choice. FYI, the whole set of pieces may take as long as 7 hours to print.
Specifications : We used a a MakerBot Replicator 2X. No need for "supports" or "rafts". Print in in "standard" mode : Infill density 10% ; Infill Layer Height 0,20mm. You reduce the printing speed if there are problems with some of the parts.

Step 3: Build the Lampshade

Lay out all the pieces in front of you, with the engraved holes facing out.

Trick : When you have a doubt about how to assemble a part, remember that the holes of engraved pieces must be seen from the outside (see picture)

Here are the pieces that we will need in order to build the lampshade (see the first picture). Strip some wire coating from the sheathed wire (see picture).

  1. Open the socket, insert the sheathed wire go into the hole and fit the 2 wires in with the screwdriver. Close the socket. It's is possible to improve the electrical isolation by applying some glue inside the hole.
  2. Fit the biggest wood circle-shaped wooden part at the bottom of the socket and "sandwich" it in by screwing the socket's plastic panel in.
  3. String the smallest circle-shaped wooden part into sheathed wire, after inserting the 2 small carriers that will hold the lampshade (you shouldn't have to glue them ; applying some force should be enough).
  4. Now we have our 2 circles which accommodate the 8 "botanical" slices around the socket. Once again, there should be no need for glue.

Step 4: Build the Body

In this step we are going to assemble various 3D-printed and laser-cut parts. As mentioned previously, the parts may not be absolutely perfect. Do not force them into place. Instead, use the thin file to adjust the interlocking points.
You need to repeat the same steps twice (keep the pairs of the 4 visible parts on the first picture).

The shapes are rather easy to fit together, but make sure the engraved holes are visible (see second picture).

Then, those two elements are fitted together to form the so-called "engine" of our lamp. We then finish it off by integrating a large rivet in the middle of the design (there are only two types of rivets: small and large). We can glue this rivet by applying a shot of the glue gun to the tip before pushing the piece into place.

Repeat this step to end up with the two visible pieces on the fourth picture.

Step 5: Build the Legs

This is an easy step but pay attention to the direction each element is facing. The little drawing below speaks for itself. The word " bas" (meaning "bottom") helps you know which way to go, and always make sure the engraved holes are facing out.

Step 6: Build the Base

  1. Gather up the elements.
  2. Two pieces are inserted on the underside of the base to raise the whole assembly in order to fit the electric wire. Those two pieces also ensure the stability of all the interlocking and should be glued with the gun once the two crosspieces are fitted into place.
  3. We then insert 2 side reinforcing parts that will prevent the lamp from falling forwards (use the glue gun to secure them into place), as well as a part at 90° to the crosspieces to consolidate the structure.
  4. Now, we only have to assemble (most likely without any glue) the numbered slats that will conceal the toggle switch's electrical connection.

Step 7: Assemble the First Drive Axle

  1. We will string several pieces into the longest five-sided axle.
  2. This will go through the back hole of the lamp's base, like in the second picture.
  3. Once that is done, we can "close it off" by placing the sun-shaped rivets on both sides of the handles that are marked with arrows.

Step 8: Assemble the Second Drive Axle

On the top part of the 2 "legs", we place the parts in a row using the remaining five-sided axle. The largest cog-wheel has to be inserted "sandwich-style" to reach the smallest cog we have previously placed on the bottom axle.

Step 9: Assemble the Extensions of the Central Part

In this step, we assemble the pieces related to the central part in 3 places

First, a fairly peculiar element which accommodates the electric wire and also serves as an axle. We fix it with the glue gun, using large rivets.
Secondly, a couple of very fine pieces to insert with a 35mm axle (handle with care).
Thirdly, the 2 legs which join the whole structure to the base: use two 9mm rivets for that.

Step 10: Assemble the Connecting Rods

We place a simple washer on the piece located halfway up the legs with a 13mm axle.
We then add the lower connecting rod to this axle, which links up to the off-centre part of the "sun" wheel. Once again, pay attention to the orientation of these two pieces and to the superposition of the elements.

All the force will be applied around there (see second picture), so we highly recommend fixing those two places with a large rivet, using the glue gun.

We then fix the higher connecting rod with a "cable-threader" axle, after adding a small washer between the connecting rod and the large rod that holds the lampshade. We then fix the whole structure with a rivet, using the glue gun.

Important! By this step, the connecting rods' attachment point (off-centre axle) on the "sun" wheel must be in the same position as its mirror point. This means that the two cogs need to have identical positions for the two connecting rods to operate at the same level.

Step 11: Connect the Lampshade

Put a bunch of washers together at the tip of the two rods, and place the piece that will hold the lampshade in between them (use a 46mm axle). Then assemble the lampshade with a 25mm axle with the two remaining fine arms.

Make sure the electric wire goes over the structure.

Step 12: Fix the Electric Wire

Fix the wire onto various attachment points, in order to run it later through the base's small opening which will accommodate the toggle switch (see red arrows).

Step 13: Solder the Switch

Once the fabric sheathed wire is fed though the base's opening, we can solder a wire of the same colour, taken from a second-hand electrical connection. We then solder the two blue wires (see first picture).

Once this soldering joint is insulated with tape, we can solder (or screw, depending on the switch) the two remaining wires to the switch (1 will have to be in the middle, and the other one on either end). All that is left to do now is to re-assemble the switch to make the toggle stick out through the base's opening and to fix it with a clamping clip, often sold with that type of component.

Step 14: Job Done!

Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016