Introduction: RGB Icosahedron Mood Lamp
Geometric shapes have always captured our attention. Recently, one such fascinating shape piqued our curiosity: The Icosahedron. The Icosahedron is a polyhedron with 20 faces. There can be infinitely many non-similar shapes of icosahedra but the best known is the regular icosahedron, in which all the faces are constructed from equilateral triangles. In this project, we attempt to create a mood lamp in the shape of a regular icosahedron to add this wonderful geometric shape into our daily life.
The lamp was made using digitally fabricated parts with the help of a laser cutter and a 3D printer. The mood lamp is also Alexa controlled which allows us to control the color and brightness using our echo dot device.
If you like this project do support it by dropping a vote for it in the "Lighting Challenge".
Step 1: Materials Needed:
Here is the list of all the parts required to make your very own Alexa controlled RGB Icosahedron Mood Lamp. All parts should be commonly available in hobby stores or hardware stores. Links to these parts are also provided alongside.
Materials and Parts:
- Square wooden dowels. The parts and joints are designed to fit dowels of 1cmx1cm cross-section. You will require 4 and 1/2 meters in total. (https://amzn.to/2EjGsnY)
- 1 x RGB smart bulb (https://amzn.to/321WmvA)
- 1 x Bulb holder (https://amzn.to/2EfH0ve)
- PLA filament. We recommend black filaments for the best effect. (https://amzn.to/3iZb9hB)
- 2mm white acrylic for the diffusing panels. (https://amzn.to/3aExaPw)
- Hot glue (https://amzn.to/2EeM5UL)
- 3D printer (https://amzn.to/327CS8P)
- Laser cutter
The total cost of this project excluding the tools and filaments is approximately 10$.
Step 2: 3D Modelling the Joints and Digital Fabrication
We begin by 3D modeling the joints. This was done using Autodesk's free to use software Fusion 360. We will refer to these pieces as the vertices from this point. The vertices have 5 attachment points in which the square wooden dowels will fit. Once we created the model of the vertex we 3D printed it using an infill of 40% and 2 perimeters. We recommend that you use black filament because that creates a good effect when combined with the color of the wood and white acrylic panels. Note: No support structure is needed to print this piece. In total, you will need to print 12 vertices since an icosahedron has 12 vertices. All the prints combined should take approximately 12 hours.
We then decided to laser-cut the diffuser panels using 2mm white acrylic. You will need 19 pieces in total because an icosahedron has 20 faces but one face will be custom made with 3D printing since it will be the face that holds the bulb.
The bulb holder panel requires supports while printing. We recommend and infill of 40% and 2 perimeters.
The CAD files for the vertices, panels, and the bulb holder are attached below. Here is a summary of all the pieces.
- 12 x vertices: 40% infill, 2 perimeters, black
- 1 x bulb holder: 40% infill, 2 perimeters, white
- 19 x panels: 2mm white acrylic.
Step 3: Cutting the Square Dowel to Length
Once the joints are 3D printed, it's time to cut the wooden dowels to the correct length. The long dowels need to be cut into 15cm pieces. Using a pencil and ruler mark 15cm lengths on the dowel. Next, clamp the dowel into a vice and use a saw or a Dremel tool to cut the pieces. In total, you will need 30 pieces since an icosahedron has 30 edges. From this point, we will be referring to the 15cm pieces as edges.
Note: The pieces can be made longer or shorter if required, but that would require you to scale the diffuser panels accordingly such that the panels fit.
Step 4: Assembling the Icosahedron Structure: Base Structure
Begin the assembly by gathering 5 3D printed vertices and 5 wooden edges. Push the edge into one of the protruding slots of the 3D printed piece. We will be referring to the protruding slots as petals from this point. The joint should be quite snug but we recommend adding some hot glue into the slot before pushing the wooden dowel in. Leave one of the adjacent petals and fit another edge into next petal and add a vertex to the other end of the second edge. Repeat this process until you have created a pentagon shape.
Add 5 edges to the side of the pentagon that 5 individual petals separating the edges and complete the five faces by using a vertex piece to join the 5 new edge pieces.
Flip the structure over and start adding edges to all the remaining petals and complete the next 5 faces by joining the converging edges using 5 new vertex pieces.
This process might appear to be a bit confusing at first because of the complex structure of an icosahedron but soon you will get the hang of it and you will understand the pattern.
Step 5: Assembling the Icosahedron Structure: Final Pieces
Join the top vertices using 5 new edges and you will notice another pentagon. Add 5 more edges to the remaining petals and complete the structure using a final vertex. Fitting the final vertex could prove to be a little tedious since everything is stuck together but the structure will have enough play for you to wiggle the final vertex into place. With this, you have created the icosahedron structure and you can begin to add the acrylic panels to the faces.
Refer to the images attached with the step in case you have any doubts.
Step 6: Attaching the Acrylic Diffuser Panels
Once the wooden frame of the icosahedron is built, you can begin to attach the diffuser panels onto the triangular gaps. Begin by peeling the protective covering of the acrylic panels. Next, use some hot glue along the wooden edges and at the 3D printed corners and push the panel into the gap. The panels should sit approximately halfway into the wood. Make sure to line up the panels well to avoid gaps which may ruin the effect. Repeat this process for the rest of the 19 faces. One face is being left uncovered for the light bulb fitting. This face will be the base for the mood lamp.
Step 7: Wiring and Fitting the Light Source
Depending on the light bulb holder, you may or may not need to do the wiring yourself. To connect the bulb holder to a plug begin by stripping the wires of the plug and connect them to the holder by tightening the screw terminals. If you are not confident with this step, get a professional to cross-check your work, or often it is a better option to get a professional to do it for you since bad wiring can be very dangerous!
Next, pass the bulb holder through the 3D printed part and screw it together. This step could once again be a little different depending on the kind of bulb holder you have. The 3D print is designed to fit standard sized bulb holders with a radius of about 2.5 cms. Finally, attach the bulb to the holder by screwing it in.
Similar to the other panels, line the edge and corners with a bead of hot glue and press the bulb holder panel into place. We would recommend an extra layer of glue on this panel since it will be supporting the entire weight of the bulb if you plan to hang it.
Step 8: Setting Up With Alexa
Depending on the brand of your smart bulb, the following instructions may be a little different. In our case, a user manual was provided with the light which provided clear instructions to get the light bulb set up. It required us to download an app from the google play store or the IOS app store and connect the light bulb to the local WIFI network. At this point, you had the possibility to control the bulb using the app. Next, we logged into the Amazon Alexa app and installed the corresponding "skill" from the inbuilt Amazon "skills store" and followed the instructions to link the light bulb to Amazon Alexa. Once it was set up, we could use our echo dot to control the RGB icosahedron mood lamp.
Step 9: Final Results
And that's it - the build is finished!
The RGB Icosahedron mood light provides a very relaxing light and it can be used as a table lamp or even a night-lamp. There are two ways you can use the lamp. You could either rest it on a table and use it as a reading lamp or table night, or you could hang it by the cable and attach it to an overhead socket.
We have been using this lamp for over a week now and we enjoy setting the light to a warm color and reading books next to it. We hope the Instructable that we made was useful and informative and has inspired you to create your very own RGB Icosahedron mood lamp.
If you liked this project, you can support us by liking this Instructable and voting for this project in the Lighting Challenge. Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions about our build. Make sure to also share your own creations that are based on or inspired by ours, we would love to see them.
Thank you, for reading and till next time! :)
Second Prize in the