Introduction: "Thinking of You" Remotely Operated Dodecahedron Lamp - Communicate With Light!
I made this light for my faraway love! We lose so much in text-based communication, I wanted to convey more meaning, emotion, and presence with this 'Thinking of You' lamp. Make two of these lights and connect with loved-ones by changing their light colours from far away. Included in this Instructable is an example of how you can use different colours to communicate!
The smart bulb used in the light can be remotely accessed as long as the bulb is connected to wifi, and you have internet-access on your phone, tablet, etc. This enables ultimate long-distance remote control of the light, which is great for family, friends, and loved-ones who live far away but are a meaningful part of your life. The tunable, colour-changing bulb acts as a mini 'sense of presence' and fills the whole room with the light of your person.
I made a lamp for myself too and a little light-language guide for what each colour means for two-way light-based communication. It's so much fun :D
The magic of this project is in the Globe Series LED Smart Bulb, which is a wifi-enabled 'smart bulb' operated with the Globe Suite app (suitable for IOS and Android). This bulb has 2000K-5000K (bright warm-to-cool) LED, and full range of colour blending, controlled by the very user-friendly app.
Note: the owner of the lamp also has control, and can set timer's etc. to turn the light off and can use it as a regular light as well!
Ps. Thank you to the Comox Valley Make It Zone for being such an awesome and encouraging makerspace, and Griffin of Otagai Designsfor discovering the neat features of the Globe bulb!!
Step 1: Gather Supplies!
Materials: (get two of everything for two-way communicating!)
Globe Smart Bulb (wifi enabled with full colour spectrum and tunable white) here
Open-ended Electrical Cord with wall plug in (with or without switch)
3mm Balsa board that fits in your laser cutter
Heavy duty tape (I used clear to let light shine through)
Trotec Printer Software [for laser cutter]
Globe Suite App [IOS and Android compatible]
Required for usage:
Phone or Tablet to use Globe Suite App
Wifi connection - must be 2.6 GHz [factory requirements]
Step 2: Design Plan
This pattern uses 12 pentagons which assemble into a dodecahedron. The design file was made on Inkscape, a free design software compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Your final design file should contain 12 pentagons; 11 with your design, and one with a circular hole for easier assembly and to insert the light.
1. Choose or draw an image you would like to recreate on your lamp. I loved this design, and figured I could turn the inside of the line into the cutting path, and remove the full wraparound edges in Inkscape. (Imagine here the white diamond shape is the only part cut out of the lamp face) [photo 1].
2. Open Inkscape and use the 'Star' shape tool to draw a pentagon. Choose '5' points and use the 'polygon' shape. VERY IMPORTANT: to ensure its an equilateral polygon, hold down the "control' key which keeps all 5 sides the same length. If your sides are inequal, your lamp will not fit together.
3. Import your chosen image to Inkscape and centre it in the pentagon [photo 2].
4. Trace the line to a 'path' - this allows further edits and is what the laser cutter will read for cutting!
Do this by selecting your design, then clicking 'Path' then 'Trace Bitmap' - this turns your graphic into lines that are individually editable. Amazing. You can change the 'threshold' settings if the first pass doesn't result in a clean image (usually lowering the threshold works, or raising the contrast on your original photo) [photo 3].
5. The new 'bitmap' will show up as a layer on top of your original graphic in the main window. You can move it by clicking and dragging. Delete your original image if the bitmap looks good!
IMPORTANT: Make sure there are no lines that fully span the area you want cut out. I deleted all continuous lines by using the 'edit path by node' tool and deleting all the nodes [photo 4]. If you don't, you will be left with a large hole instead of a gorgeous mandala. I've loaded my mandala with only cut lines so you can see the difference! [photo 5].
6. Group your final design together by selecting all objects (can shift click, or click down, and drag your mouse across all objects while holding down) then select Object>Group for easier maneuvering. Copy the group by hitting 'Control C' or right clicking on your selection and clicking the 'copy' option.
7. Paste 12 times! Arrange your files so they fit tightly together, and think about the size and shape of your laser cutter's print bed for optimum space and material usage. I will keep fiddling with my arrangement to make the most of the dimensions of our Make It Zone's print bed!
TIP: rotate the pentagons by 108° to arrange tightly together. Do this by selecting 'Object' > 'Transform' then inputting 108° for the rotation angle in the left side menu.
8. Prepare design for your laser cutting software! In the Make It Zone, we use these settings for fully cutting through the material:
Colour of line: 100% black, 100% opacity
Line width: 0.001mm
Line Style: Solid
Export as: PDF
9. Send your design for cutting! We select 'Print' then choose 'Trotec Laser' as the print destination, which brings up the Trotec Laser Cutting program.
That's just our workflow, check in with your local makerspace for the best print settings there. From there, check that your design fits on the print bed, and if you have to resize, ensure the design will still be large enough to accommodate the light bulb!
Note: if you are sending this job off for cutting, check in with them for the best file type and settings before sending off!
Note: File for the lightburst complete layout is attached!
Step 3: Laser Cutting!
I'm not going to go too much into 'how to laser cut' here, hopefully if you have one or have access to one this part will be fairly straightforward and you'll know what to do! Check in with your local Makerspace for intro courses, lasers are so much fun and are not that hard to use! If you don't have access to a laser, I've seen lights like this made from cut out cardboard. Just make sure that the light is far enough away so your light is not a fire hazard :)
A few notes on this design and laser settings:
This design only uses 'cutting' settings, which runs the laser on 100% power and 5% speed for a complete through cut on 3mm balsa. There is a bit of a dark edge on the cut edges - if you prefer a non-darkened edge you can run the laser faster, and may need to run multiple passes for a complete cut. If you are wanting to incorporate engraving as well (which might result some really neat light effects), change the colour of the line in your original design, and ensure settings are set to the correct colour in your Trotec or other laser cutting/engraving software.
Ready to go?
1. Turn on laser cutter and go through pre-cut checklist (ie. fan on, computer connected, emergency fire suppressants close by, print bed is clean and dusted/vacuumed, etc.)
3. Check laser software and ensure your design fits on the print bed. If not, resize your file in Inkscape and reprint.
2. Place your chosen wood on the print bed. Ensure as flat and level as possible. Always re-focus your laser in between cuts and double check your settings!
3. Start cutting!
4. Watch to make sure the laser settings are working - you want the pieces to be fully cut through on one pass without too much burning. If the settings are too slow you will see a lot more smoke and charred edges. If too fast, the laser will not cut all the way through. Tweak your settings to your preferences.
This cut took 21 minutes on our laser! I was making a few lamps during this build session, so after the first lamp pieces were cut I started assembling while the other lamps were cutting.
Step 4: Assemble the Light Cover!
This part is finicky and really rewards attention to detail!
1. Make sure you perfectly line up the edges of the pentagons or your light will be wonky and wont fit together [photo 1].
2. Use strong yet flexible tape that works well on wood and is flame resistant (just to be safe)
3. Assemble the two 'sides' of the dodecahedron separately, then attach together. I used the base (pentagon with hole cut out) as the middle of the first 'flower', then recreated the top in a similar fashion. From there tape the side-edges together to make the flower 'bloom' [photo 2].
4. The hardest part is putting the two sides together! I pretaped the base side, then very gently placed the second half on top, and then fit my hand through the hole to fix and secure tape from the inside. The mandala pattern being large enough to see through also really helped for the first couple tries!
Parchment paper creates a lovely, diffuse light that makes your lamp really enjoyable to look at, and is much stronger than tissue paper. This part is also tricky, but really gave this light-cover the finishing touch. I cut circles that spanned the size of the mandala cut-out then used tiny pieces of tape to place the pieces over the cut-out after the light was assembled. Why after? I wanted the light to have all the structural tape secured first, then I taped the parchment on top of that. There's only so much room around the edges of this design, if I had done this backwards the light would have been held together with the strength of parchment paper instead of the strength of wood [photo 4].
TIP: folding the parchment in many layers, then tracing the circle saved a ton of cutting time [photo 3]
Step 5: Wire the Base!
This was my first time doing any wiring that would actually be plugged into a wall! Luckily it is very easy. These parts were stocked in the lighting area of Canadian Tire. I bought a lamp-socket with small base and a cord with open ends and a switch.
NEVER WORK ON ANY ELECTRICAL PROJECT WITH THE CORD IN THE WALL OR EVEN NEAR THE WALL :D
1. Wrap the free end of the wire around appropriate screw, doing as best as possible to not fray wire, and use end of screwdriver or knife to push as much of wire underneath the screw head as possible.
2. Cover with electrical tape that can handle the voltage! The heavier-dutier the better.
3. Screw in the lightbulb and turn on! This will automatically begin device pairing on the Globe Smart LED.
TIPS: Double check which wire goes where based on manufacturers directions! For the cord and lamp-base I bought each had very simple clear markers for which wire connected where. I then used electrical tape to make sure no one would get electrocuted, and in the future will make a better base!
Step 6: Set Up Globe Suite App and Pair Light, and Establish Communication Code
1. On whatever device you have, download the 'Globe Suite' app and pair to your device following directions in box.
2. Play around with all the settings. This little light is SO COOL. So many options!
3. Now for the super cute part- enable device sharing! (this will require the other person has an account)
So, I did all this and tested it before I gave it as a gift. Then set it up on my partners phone, added myself, and boom, I have remote access to their light settings!
My communication code:
Yellow = Happy right now!
Orange = Want to talk?
Pink = You're cute af
Red = I want to do devilish things to you
Green = Do not disturb!
Purple = Thinking of you <3
There is so much more you can do by setting up different light patterns, schedules, and triggers! Go wild!
Step 7: Make Another One and Start Communicating With Light :D
I ended up making a few of these and gifted them to my family, friends, and original inspiration for this project, my faraway love. It's so neat to be chilling at home and have the light flicker and know someone out there is thinking about you. :)
I would love to know how you found this instructable, if you make this light or a variation, what the person you gave it to thought, and how you would improve on this design. Let me know in the comments :D
Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest