Parabolic String Lamp

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About: I'm a Community Manager at Instructables and the voice of the robot on Twitter! www.twitter.com/instructables Tell me what projects you want to see in our Twitter feed! When I'm...

This Parabolic String lamp is made out of laser cut wood, yarn, and a pendant light kit.

I was thumbing through some vintage interior design magazines and found all these kind of cool examples of Parabolic String Art.

I examined it closely and figured out how the illusions of curves appeared in the string art. I was curious if the same principle could be applied to a curved dimensional object. I tinkered with a few different designs, and materials - the lamp featured in this Instructable was actually the fifth iteration in my design process.

EDIT: I started selling these lamps in acrcylic as kits you can assemble! Support more great projects from makers like me by supporting projects you love and learning something new!

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Step 1: Laser Cutting

I designed the lamp, and it's feet in Illustrator. It was a little tricky to figure out a design for the notches along the wheel, I tried teeth vs. holes vs. notches vs. kerf cuts.

It turns out I needed a notched hole for the best way to catch the string. I used a laser cutter to make my cuts into 1/4" plywood, but I think I could achieve the same effect with a band saw and a drill press. (And a lot more time, this cut took 5 minutes on the laser)

I have attached my files to this step -let me know if you need a different file format.

Step 2: Assemble the Lamp.

I used this Pendant Lamp Kit from Ikea. It turns out these aren't sold in California any more, but we had one lying around.

I designed the hole large enough to fit the socket, but small enough to grab the plywood with the coupler in the lamp kit.

Step 3: Fins and Bulb

I added all of the fins to the lamp, one at a time, making sure to connect it all the way into the notches.

After they were all installed, I screwed in the light bulb. Pretty easy step.

Step 4: The String

By far the longest part of the process, was weaving the skein of yarn into the lamp.

I was able to start the weaving with just a single knot that wouldn't slip through the notch in the fin.

I used cheap red craft yarn and wove it up and down each fin, slowly working my way around, over and over and over and over again.

I was able to end with a single knot in the notch, and cutting the extra off. I pretty much used the whole skein for this design.

Did I iterate that this took a long time? It did.

Step 5: Give It Legs

If you want, you can give it legs, they just attach with a tight tolerance in the notch.

Step 6: It Hangs!

I like it better as a hanging lamp. I think it looks more beautiful suspended from the ceiling - it allows the design to sing a bit more.

I will award a 3 Month Pro membership to the first five people that make this project, let me know using the "I MADE IT" button.


If you're interested in buying a kit to make you're own version out of super fancy looking acrylic - head over to my etsy page :D

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    18 Discussions

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    audreyobscuramelipstick

    Reply 1 year ago

    That's why now I reccommend using an LED light bulb :D otherwise the string will bend and move out of the way, but its just tricky.

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    audreyobscuramohamed gemy

    Reply 1 year ago

    I included the PDF which you can import as a DXF in any laser program. Good luck!

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    dbandodkar

    4 years ago

    Could you give me the dimensions? I don't have a lazer cutting machine. So I can use the dimensions.

    2 replies
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    dbandodkaraudreyobscura

    Reply 4 years ago

    I re-checked the pdf.. I dint find any dimensions. Pls help!

    temp_-34402165.jpg
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    harjindersr

    4 years ago on Introduction

    i will make it as i had two laser cutting machines and i will post my creations

    thanks

    this is very good site

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    apburner

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work. However I don't have access to a laser cutter. I do however have a scroll saw. But your PDF does not print in a 1 to 1 template. That would be very useful. Thanks

    1 reply
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    PetrichorXFi

    5 years ago

    just dont let heat catch fire

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    rpost

    5 years ago

    Beautifulll!!!!