Edison Lamp Station


My initial idea for a lamp included a light switch, a rubber mat to rest your phone on, a metal post for sunglasses, and a pocketed area for change.

Once I started drafting this idea in Vectorworks, and became aware of the size limitations of the 4-Axis, I realized I needed to rework my idea. I knew I wanted something functional for my bedside table, and I wanted to incorporate my skill builder into my final. (For the skill builder I made a small charging dock for an iPhone.)

Vectorworks prototypes:

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Once the cherry wood arrived in the mail it became easier to see the dimensions of everything I wanted to mill.

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Because I wanted to maximize the amount of wood I could use I needed to add tabs in Vectorworks to allow the machine to take off the minimal amount on the front and back. This also prompted me to create a third roughing and finishing tool path to ensure the front and back would be milled.

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Unfortunately, the drill bit was not as long as I needed it to be and at one point the callet, collet, caullet however you spell that, ran into the chuck. Oops!

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After restarting the machine due to that error, I was pleased to find I could restart the job without losing all my axies! I edited the tool paths to not mill on either side of the piece.

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Thankfully, the bit was just long enough to be able to mill down to the center on each side.

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Once the 4-Axis started milling the back I saw that the bit wasn’t in fact long enough make the hole for the charger.

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I was a little baffled as to why the machine left such rough lines on the front near the back, but I thought the final tool path would correct that.

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It didn’t unfortunately.

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It left some pretty nasty grooves on the top.

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I thought that maybe if I ran the last finishing step one more time it would get rid of the grooves on the surface.

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So I deleted all the other paths and highlighted the top of the surface where I wanted the machine to mill.

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After milling air for half an hour it finally started to smooth out where I wanted it to.

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But to my dismay, it didn’t smooth it all that much.

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After taking it off the 4-Axis and cutting off the extra wood on the sides using the bandsaw, I was left with some sanding to do. But first I wanted to drill a hole where the bit didn’t go through.

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Hastily, and after 7 hours milling, I slightly damaged the wood around the hole which was frustrating.

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I tried the drill press but it didn’t do any good, so I started filing the area down to make the hole big enough to fit a charger cable.

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Then I got to sanding the sides using a miter guide which made it easy to create an even surface area.

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The finished result looked great!

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Then it was time to discuss how to fit the lamp parts into everything before I lathed the remaining cherry wood bits.

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Ben suggested making a small lamp post and affixing it on the lathe with the chuck and then using the drill to create a hole large enough to fit the guided nipple post — is that what it’s called?

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The cherry wood pieces.

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The failed drill press attempt.

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The cherry wood prepared for lathing.

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I needed to make a .7 diameter, 1/4″ deep part at the bottom of my lamp post in order to securely glue it into the 4-axis part.

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Once I had the correct size for that part I started shaping the rounded wood.

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Using three grits of sandpaper, I sanded it until it was really smooth.

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And used the drill to easily make a centered hole through the middle.

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After band-sawing off the ends, it was ready to be glued!

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Tightly clamped.

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Now it’s time to wait 8 hours.

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Since I had all this time on my hands to wait, I wanted to utilize one more machine, the Othermill.

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Out of aluminum, I wanted to make a lightning bolt.

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It took me a while to remember that the illustrator file had to be filled in in order to show up in Bantam. While the Othermill was doing it’s job I realized a crucial mistake.

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My charger cable wouldn’t fit!

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So I stared at it for a long time thinking of what I could do to remedy the situation.

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Every now and then glancing over and stopping the milling process to vacuum up the pieces!

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Thankfully Ben had a solution for me. And we carefully drilled a round hole in the bottom so I could thread the cable through.

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The lightning bolt came out nicely, and just required a little scraping off the ends to make it smooth.

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Ben was also kind enough to teach me how to properly wire the lamp so I wouldn’t die turning it on.

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Although the two marked areas in red would be rounded, I think the bolt came out nicely.

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The original Illustrator file without it being properly filled in.

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I realized something wonky that took me a while to sort out when subtracting pieces from the main block in Vectorworks. I needed to use the arrows to have the part I wanted subtracted to be highlighted in yellow and the rest to be highlighted in red or else everything around it would be subtracted.

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What it shouldn’t look like, but what it defaulted to.

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The error I got when improperly trying to subtract the whole shape from the tiny part.

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After waxing on the lathe and by hand in the pocketed areas.

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Felt on the bottom.

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And it’s done!

4 Axis Maple iPhone Dock

A first go on the 4 axis proved to be a very long one where most of the work is done on the design. Unlike the lathe or even parts of using the big CNC, this machine really does everything pretty much on it’s own with little vacuuming required once start is pressed. None-the-less it’s pretty satisfying to hold a 3D figure of something you made in Vectorworks out of a solid block of hard wood.

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Wireframe view of model.

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Isometric view of back.

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Wireframe isometric view. (Showing a future mistake that will be made.)


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Top view.

And so,

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taking a block of maple left over from the turning exercise,

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I measured all the sides with a center finder

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and generally marked where the wood would be cut.

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Drilled a hole with a center hole bit for the lathe end of the 4 axis.

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Placing the wood in the shuck (shank?) (chuck?)

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and tightened the lathe end.

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The 3D model in SRP Player.

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Added tabs to the model after finalizing the Vectorworks file.

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The process beginning – 2.4 hours.

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The Axis.

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Half an hour or so into the process.

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An axis turned once to the right.

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Roughing process.

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Finishing process.

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Finished process.

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Taken off the machine there is clearly no hole going through the wood to allow for a charging cable.

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Left over pieces and cut and un-sanded, un drilled through result.

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Sanded down back view.

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Sanded side view. The cut of the saw made a great design in the wood.

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Since I didn’t have a hole I made my own. But realized using such a thin bit wasn’t a great idea on the drill press. It was bending but didn’t break so I switched to a bigger one and that things a little messy.

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The unfortunate hole on the bottom.

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Back view.

I really appreciate what a rounded bit can do to a piece of wood’s surface. It makes for a smooth effect — at least that’s what I got out of this maple.

Next time I need to remember to make my shapes overlap a bit in my Vectorworks files. I also need to utilize the option of changing the bit mid process so I can achieve not only a beautiful surface and rounded corners, but sharp edges and cut through pieces. Although I made a bit of a sloppy mess of the hole with the wobbly drill press after it all, I certainly learned what I needed to know going into the final now.

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….And while I was at it I brought out my lathe turned honey dipper to cut and sand the ends off while I refined the ends of the dock.

Finals Brainstorm


Using a block of wood, I’d like to make an USB Charging Edison Lamp with a Catch-All.

Below are some examples of what some of the components would look like:

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Itemized materials list:

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Block of Wood
(Cherry seems like a nice choice)

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Lightbulb Socket

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Edison Bulbs (long and regular) (already purchased)

The difficult part is finding a usb charging port that has a plug for the light socket that is spaced enough so that I can only show the two usb ports (like the second sketch I drew).

I could possibly use something like this:

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Or this:

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Or I could use a hub but that would probably require a lot of wiring space inside of the wood.

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Dimmer Switch (I would make a knob on the small CNC for it)

Depending on how I go about wiring things, and whether or not I’ll have a dimmer there are a few options for power cords:

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I could also just have the dimmer directly on the socket, but then I’m not sure how to wire up the usb cable.

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I could potentially use a simple extension cord if I wanted to use a USB hub mounted on the inside of the box…which makes me now think that I shouldn’t be using a solid piece of wood to make this out of!

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