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!

Wooden Mallet

I used an oak dowel and a maple rectangle of wood to make a mallet on the lathe.
After finding the center of both pieces, I loaded the block to shape into a cylinder first.
Greatly underestimating the time it would take to bring a rectangle to something manageable.
My first half an hour I was shocked to have only made a little progress.
This was the first time I had ever tried turning something that wasn’t already rounded, and it definitely made me reconsider my time management.
Slowly but surely, things began to take shape.
After two hours it looked like this:
Which then turned into a slightly rough version of what I wanted the head to look like.
After sanding down with a number of different grits, I remembered wanting to make two grooves in the ends of the head.
I took an even finer sandpaper to the grain to get into the grooves I just made.
After taking it off the lathe, it was time to make a 1″ hole for the handle. For the first time I learned how to use the drill press, and realized that it’s a bit lopsided unfortunately.
Making the two 90 degree holes on either side of the 1″ hole I had just made didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
The hole for the handle wasn’t deep enough, and I had made one of the 90 degree angle holes a little less than 90 degrees on one side so I had to go back and make the handle hole larger to supplement the mistake.
Although the holes were not positioned precisely, I managed to get deepen the handle hole which helped make up for the misaligned hole on the right.
I measured the width of the hole for the handle and carefully started to turn the oak into a handle with the proper 1″ diameter at the end.
After gluing the two parts together it looked pretty good — although the mallet head was a little off center due to the misalignment of the drill press and having to re-drill the hole and a second time.
Once the glue had dried for about half an hour I applied a shiny coat of tung oil.
In the morning, I realized the tung oil didn’t take very well and decided to wax the whole thing instead on the lathe.