When we began to design this indoor light we had no idea what to do. Our teacher, Ms. Ugarte, explained to us that we needed to go through the design thinking process. The steps were as follows: 1) Discovery 2) Observation 3) Interview 4) Drivers and Constraints. This process was short and effective. Our first big step was observations of creative indoor light designs that we found interesting and that gave us plenty of ideas. We mostly focused on design and lighting. Our group was mostly interested in colorful designs. After observing we started interviewing people at school. Each person that we interviewed gave us more ideas. They talked about lighting, brightness, shape, creativity, etc. One of the many people that we interviewed, a school principal, told us that she enjoyed having colorful lights. Our interviewees also told us that they liked movable lights that you can move from place to place. After all this feedback, we gathered back in the classroom and started discussing the Drivers and Constraints based on the interviews.
With these drivers and constraints, we began the Ideation phase in which we sketched multiple designs for our project. Our teacher told us to focus on quantity over quality and that way we came up with more ideas and designs. We started sketching a lot of designs that were unrealistic and realistic and we just came down to one. We will take you through a series of steps so that you can complete it like us.
- Laser Cutting Machine
- 3-Millimeter thick Wood
- 20 by 11 Clear Acrylic:
- Measurement tape
- LED finger lights
- Spray paint (color of your choice)
- Cordless Metal Cutting Saw.
- Small Compact Glue (Resistol 5000)
- Newspaper (To Spray Paint the Letter Z)
- A computer for apps (Fusion 360, Glowforge)
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Step 1: Get the Right Measurements
This was the hard part of this project. To do a letter Z you need to have parallel lines that measure the same, and it has to be an exact measurement for the laser cutter. You need exact measurements for both the clear acrylic and the wood. The Z's measurements are as presented above in the image. For the laser cutting machine, we needed exact measurements so it could fit inside. The laser cutters max capacity is 20 inches by 11. We would recommend buying a 20 by 11 clear acrylic piece so that you won't have to cut it afterward with another cutting tool like we did. The laser .After we measured and marked them on the wood, we joined with the school's Technology Directors to start the construction step.
Step 2: Cutting the Wood
By this step, you already should measurements. When you're done you head to a place with construction materials used to cut wood or harder objects, it's typically where you would cut wood but this time we cut wood and clear acrylic. Before starting to cut, you should be aware that safety tools are needed such as safety goggles. We cut the wood with a Cordless Metal Cutting Saw which is really powerful. This saw can result dangerous so you need to be skilled
Step 3: Laser Cutting the Wood
After you cut the wood you would then start laser cutting the letter Z. Two apps are needed for this step. Fusion 360 and Glowforge. Fusion 360 is where you insert all of the measurements in the prototype. The Fusion 360 prototype is then later passed to the Glowforge app. Glowforge helps you to pass the prototype into the actual laser cutting machine. For your safety, you will need safety glasses because. the You will need to push the button at the left of you when it's colored for the machine to start cutting the letter Z. When the Z is done the light will turn off and that indicates you need to lift up the case the take out the Z with the wood that is leftover.
Step 4: Spray Painting the Z
When you already have the Z cut out your next step is to spray paint with the color you desire. I advise you to put a wise amount of paint because too much can cause it to be wet and that will increase the drying time. The steps for spray painting are the following: 1)Spray paint on each side and wait about 1 hour for it to dry. 2) Spray paint two layers on both sides of the Z. 3) Flip the Z and do the same on the other side.
We recommend using newspapers so whatever surface you are on doesn't get painted.
Step 5: Laser Cutting the Acrylic
In this step, you will need the already cut wooden Z and the apps you used before when laser cutting the wood. Fusion 360 and Glowforge. The measurements needed to cut the acrylic are very similar to the ones you used when cutting the wood. The acrylic has to be cut in pieces of nine pieces. One piece for each side of the Z. You can decide on the height that you prefer. Just make sure the LED can move around. We decided the Z's height to be 3.9 inches. This was because we wanted it to be spacious. So, the acrylic is the woods exact measures except for the height. When you finish pasting (next step) you will notice that one of the four short pieces will be missing. This is due to the fact that there has to be a way that the LED can enter.
A reminder: Do not smell the plastic just after it has been removed. It is bad for your health because when plastic is burnt, harmful gases are released and can cause dizziness, coughing, etc.
Step 6: Pasting It Together
This step is pretty long. You need a powerful glue with you. We used a small compact glue (Resistol 5000). By this step, you would have two wooden Zs already spray painted and nine acrylic pieces. You'll only use one of the two Z in the first part. After collecting all the acrylic pieces decide on one of the many sides and insert glue on the bottom where you will paste. But a reasonable amount of glue because too much will cause it to drip and move onto the center of the Z, too little and the acrylic piece will be loose. Be aware that the long sides are different lengths. Next, keep the acrylic piece straight and apply pressure for about two minutes until you feel it stuck to the Z. Do this with all nine pieces. When you are done applying pressure and putting glue on each side of the pieces you should test how it would look with the LED lights already turned on. Finally, the last step is to paste the second wooden Z on top. This part requires lots of glue and pressure. Put glue on all the thin pieces of acrylic and then carefully place the Z on top aligned to them. Then, put something like books on top to apply the pressure needed. Once it is in its place you are ready to finalize the project.
Step 7: Insert LED Lights and Have Fun
At this point, you're Z should be complete. The only thing missing is the LEDs. You need to turn them on and put all of them in. Once they are in, move the Z horizontally. Then, gently shake the Z causing the LEDs to move around. Make sure to cover the Z's hole will shaking. Just remember, the LEDs battery doesn't last too long so always keep extra lights with you. Now you can be creative and have fun with your brand new light. Have fun!
Participated in the
Indoor Lighting Contest