For my final project, I chose to use 3D printing and LED lights connected to a watch battery to create a lamp. At first, I was just going to design a lamp shaped like a box, with an open top and designs in the sides for the light to come through. After starting my design in Tinkercad, I decided to add another element to the 3D print by making a lithophane out of a picture and putting it on the side of the lamp. A lithophane is a thin 3D panel made from an image, and it reveals the image when light is put behind it. I was inspired to do a lamp from seeing other examples on Tinkercad, and was interested in this technique that I hadn’t used before.
Here is my lamp design in Tinkercad before I implemented the lithophane, as well as the picture I used of some trees in Maine, and the picture in 3D form. I inverted the colors using gimp photo editing so that the darker trees would have less light come through, and vice versa. Some problems I came across during this project was deciding if I should put the picture on the lamp before I printed it or after. I soon realized that the lithophane file was much easier to work with in its own Tinkercad sketch, so I printed them separately. Another challenge I had was figuring out how big to make the square hole in the side of the lamp so that I could glue the picture in. I solved this by making the square hole as close as possible to the shape of the picture in Tinkercad, then I measured the empty space in Print Studio, and scaled the lithophane to fit it. Once both were printed (the lamp took about 12 hours), I glued the lithophane into the lamp, and it ended up fitting pretty well.
Next, I connected two yellow LED lights to watch batteries, and placed them in the opening of the lamp. I realized that the light was too sharp and concentrated in certain spots, so I used a thin piece of styrofoam to soften it. I was happy with how the lamp looked in the dark, and you can easily see the picture that I used for the lithophane. I thought about using a hummingbird board for this project, but felt that it would look messy with the extra chords and didn’t want to have to connect it to my laptop.
I enjoyed making this lamp for my final project of this course, and have also enjoyed this course overall. It was definitely new to me, and exciting to learn how to use circuitry and computer software to make a product that I can hold and share.