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The Design Process

A client asked me to design a replacement ceiling light cover. I said sure, would love to try this out. You never know where ideas are going to take you. Here are some images and eventually a 3D design to see where I am at right now. We've settled on a design and now I have to understand how to build it in the most efficient way. The cover is actually too big to be printed at once in my machine(15" diameter). Well, to be more correctly, I _could_ print it but it would be really, really awkward and the layer-line pattern wouldn't be as nice. Better to have more control over how it turns out.

The Original

The design iterations:

The more I designed this, the harder it got to find a good way to make a curved surface in a controlled way. Technically this would turn out to be a kind of '3-sided cone' but no one I spoke with had any confidence that being able to 'distort' plexiglass into a shape consistently would turn out well. Ok, let's see what else I could pull from my brain.

More Geometry:

This was an intriguing idea. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how my design app handled the weird '6-points-to-3-points' connections. Ok, lets see how this could work. Turns out the way it melded things together, while cool looking, made it rather impossible to break apart and print each of the 'twisted' panels. I feel I am getting closer at this point but more work.

(At this point, if you EVER wonder why designers are so expensive, you now have an idea why.)

Even more Geometry:

Ok, now we are getting somewhere. The client mentioned this was going to be a room used for yoga, so I tossed in the image of the OM in the middle of a Lotus flower.

She liked the design but didn't want the image. And here you have it. Now I've still got to break this down into printable parts. Luckily I really only have to design two parts. One side and one top. The sides are just repeated 6 times.

Even this part is challenging. Getting angles right so that they all fit together is a good practice. Of course, not only am I applying geometry and math, I have to learn how the software handles the ideas I'm trying to convey.

I'll post up the finished product of course. Hopefully next week we'll have a test ready. Right now, I do need to create a basic prototype, take it out for a test-fit, then refine it and deliver it.

As frustrating as it can be at times, this still if fun.

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