An age of optimism. Again.

It is often said that the Art Deco period was an expression of optimism through design; clean lines, simple forms, smooth sophistication, pushing towards a brighter future. Whether or not that’s true, I like it; both in design and philosophy. It’s starting to show.

It’s probably more directly due to spending this weekend in antique stores in Bellingham and Anacortes, but when I sat down to make a new base for one of my wife’s IKEA lamps today, I ended up with a really cool design for something so incredibly boring.

It started with looking at the bases that were already on Thingiverse specifically for the IKEA Tertial lamp (e.g.: this one). The base is one of those easy-to-lose parts due to it not being attached to anything, and will fall off and invariably find its way down an air vent or some other hole in the floor you never knew existed… They get lost.

The existing Thingiverse items were pretty good replicas of the base the lamp originally came with. Nothing special, nothing new, and still have the same problem as the original of easily falling off when not in use. To me this felt like a solvable design problem.

I went into my wife’s studio and took some measurements of the base on the second lamp we have, as well as specifically the width and height of the metal pole that fits in the top of the base, and the diameter of the rod attached to the clamp. The rod is the part that just fits in a hole in the base and which lets the base fall off of it. It seemed that there should be some way to almost lock the rod into the base, but still be able to remove it if necessary.

I built up a generic version of the base using big, ugly blocks. I intended to taper and shape them after I got all the holes in place. I was more concerned about the attachment of the rod to the base than the design, so I figured I’d just make it look like the existing base anyways.

After some mental sketches and playing with things in SketchUp, I ended up with a simple piece that would slide over the rod, then clip onto the base once the rod was inserted into the hole. (Mind out of gutter, please 🙂 ). The clip was very angular and ugly so I started to make some of the point rounded. In SketchUp this is pretty easy (draw a 45-degree arc between two edges and snap to tangent) so I quickly got the piece looking much nicer.

But now my base made of big boxes looked silly. I started adding some curves and rounded edges and before I knew it I had a seriously deco object. Some additional pushes and pulls and it was done.

Close-up of base and clip

Running the object through ReplicatorG, it was estimated to take 3.5 hours to print. This was mostly because I used an infill of 40% to make sure it was structurally sound since it is half of a clamp. I decided that I would print from SD card for the first time since I got my Thing-o-Matic a year ago (shocking, I know). This allowed me to take my laptop and return to watching Poirot with my wife. I would normally never leave the printer alone, but given how good it’s working at the moment—look for another post about that in the next day or so—I’m comfortable letting it do it’s magical thing.

This was also the first time I decided to use a wash of ABS dissolved in acetone on the heated build platform to help with adhesion, and boy did it help with adhesion! I could barely get the object off the platform, having to resort to prying it off with a screwdriver through the hole in the base. The clip came off easily enough, though I did start to break it as it has very thin walls. Luckily I stopped immediately when I heard the first “snap!” of a layer break, so it was still usable.

I showed my wife and she loved it! Of course anything would have been good so she could use her lamp again, but as we share a taste in design and style she appreciated the extra effort to make it special. These are the moments I love having such an amazing tool at my disposal, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Download this Thing at Thingiverse

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