Introduction: Orbit Lamp

Inspired by the Kerf lamp The Orbit Table Lamp is a interactive, open design to be downloaded,
customized and assembled using 4mm Poplar Ply and a simple Arduino circuit to control the LED’s.

Using movements of the hand, the lamp is able to turn on, off and change its brightness using an ultra sonic sensor.

In this tutorial we have uploaded all you need to make your own Orbit lamp, that invokes diverse moods of light from the cylindrical structure. We look forward to see your own modifacations and versions you may generate from this idea.

The project was part of a Massey University, Industrial Design paper at the Wellington Fab Lab in New Zealand. Designed by Elliot Gonzales, Jan Louise Ballesfin, Ron Christiansen and Devon Mahoney.

For more infomation about our process please visit our blog -Team Wavy

Step 1: Required Equipment



6x1 + 8x1 Header pins

.1uf Capasator

10uf capasator

10K reistor

499 Reistor

LED 1206 SMD


Switch Tactile SMD w-gnd

160gf N - Channel Mosefet

5V regulator

Circet board

Mini PCB

Electrical compoents

12V Power supply (200MA+) with 6mm adapter plug 6mm power jack

Ultra sonic motion sensor

12V LED strip (3 LEDS)

10x Single Port Female to Female Jumper Wires

6x Single port Female to Male Jumper wires


Polar ply 4mm (A/A grade) Arcrilic Clear 3mm

Programing Hardware

AV programmer USB to TTL serial cable (3.3V)








PVA glue

3mm Poly ply

Step 2: Manufacturing the Lamp

In the process of manufacturing the structure of the lamp, we used a laser cutter to cut the segments out of 4mm Poly Ply and glued the respective parts together, use the attached illustrator file.

Make sure the laser settings are strong enough to cut 4mm poly ply all the way through, otherwise you may need to take a second pass again which will end up producing burn/smoke marks that will ruin the aesthetic of the units. It pays to do a few tests on the Poly Ply if it isn't something you have laser cut before.

If you have one or two segments which have not been fully cut out from the poly ply you can use a knife to score the back end of the cutout line to complete the cut out.

Use Poly Ply which is as flat as possible to get the best results from the Laser Cutter as any bowing or bending will push parts of the wood out of the lasers focus and will result in burns. Depending on the laser cutter you may be able to tape down the edges of the board to minimize this issue HOWEVER -Ask the owner of the laser cutter first.

Step 3: Assembly

When following the steps above to assemble the seporated parts be sure to align them correctly and to make sure the orrientation of the arms are the same on either side.

With the rods of the lamp enclosure add each one on the opposite side of the last -this will ensure that the disks are aligned and secure.

The Electrical components will be assembled later however installation is easy as you just need to slide it in.

Step 4: Making the Electronics and Programming the Arduino

Step 1. Set up your circuit board securely on the bed of the router using double sided tape (make sure there are no wrinkles) be sure the circet board is level and firm with the point of the drill bit. Using a 1/64 milling bit, mill the circuit paths with the circet file copied from above (the mostly black .png with white lines). Then, after chaning to a 1/32 milling bit drill round the edge with the border file. You need to define the type of cut whether it is milling or cut out under the the defaults option. Remember to note down the routers coordinates so you can use the border png file to then cut out the circuit with a drilling bit. It is important that it is set correctly otherwise some of your circet may be cut by the cutout file.

Step 2. Clean your board. A lot of issues you will have can be solved
now by making sure there are no stray fibers of copper on your board, go ver it with a small piece of steel where needed and gently rub off any sharp parts being VERY carful not to pull the copper off the board when doing so.

Step 3. Collect all the electronic parts and solder them onto the circuit board, using the circuit diagram (above) as a guide. it is important to take your time during this process, over heating components with the soldering iron may result in the parts failure.

Step 4. Attach the 6 pin set to the top 6 platforms using solder, be gentle, use tweesers and do not over heat the board as it will lift the copper off the board (this is because of the amout of solder you will be using)

Step 5. Check your board. Make sure no lines are being bridgeed with solder that are not ment to be, to know what lines are ment to be connected and which ones are not refire to the Eagle file (attached to this step).

Also, make sure all you the lines and connections work using a multimeter, you want to make sure you have no dry joins (solder joins which do not actually bridge the gap) you want to check the pins on this too.

Step 6. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the min board files, This board only has a mosfit and a 5v regulator attached to it, with the for pin holes facing up solder the mosfit on the left and the regulator on the right with wach foot on one of the squares milled into the circet board.

Step 7. You need to program the a chip by attaching the USB from the AVR programmer to your computer and then attaching the other side to the board. You do this by inserting the 6 male heads of the 'Male to female wires' into the AVR plug and the female ends into the 1x8 pins of the Arduino (use the image above for the plug configuration matching labels) Attach to the USB port on the computer. Step 5. Attach The AV programmer USB to TTL serial cable to the top 6x1 Pins. -Green and black on the right hand side. (to orrientate the board the dot on the ATMEGA should be at the top left)

Step 8. To program the chip you can use Arduino which is a free downloadable software. After installing this software follow the instructions in setupguide (above) you will need the files in atmega master (above)

Step 9. Using the Ardunio software load orbit lamp script (above) and in the drop down menus above set the chip to 16 Mega hrts, the correct board type (ATMEGA 382P) and the select BURN BOOT LOADER.

After this is complete with the code still up press upload.

NB: You only need to do this the first time you upload to your chip. If it comes up with an error, recheck all your connections on the circuit board. Download the code file for Arduino, verify the code and upload it. Test your sensor!

Step 5: Back Pannel Assembly

Step 1. Remove the pins from the circet board, cut the male ends off the male to female connectors and solder the cut ends into the board. Be careful not to bend the wires until one side is done, then secure the wires with hot glue at the join.

Step 2. cobbect all the wires and solder the joins of the LED strip and 6mm Power Adapter, the rest should already be soldered from step 1 or be a female to pin connection.

Step 3. Assemble the back of the lamp as shown, you will also need to build the sides -use the remaining parts and use the Assembly step as a reference.

Step 4. Enjoy your Orbit Lamp.