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!