Shade of Wood

Version 1.1

Get Bent!

Through the applications of geometry, physics, code and lasers I create bendable plywood lampshades.

A Shade of Wood hanging.

I'd seen wood bent with a particular cut pattern before, but it always cylindrical. My intellectual leap came in the form of seeing that with the correct cut pattern you could bend the wood in the same fashion that you bend paper, or any plane for that matter.

I crafted the first Shades of Wood by hand, using Google spreadsheets to handle the repetitive math, and Illustrator to do the drawing. Then I placed the plywood sheet in the laser cutter and hit go with a sense of trepidation. Yes, I thought it would work, and I'd run some tests, but there was a sense of panicky wonder about if it would actually work ... and when it did, well I was filled with the joy you can only get from making something new!

It quickly became apparent that this method was too slow and painful, so I spent an afternoon hacking together a script to do all the base work for me. Ruby and Svg for the win! The closing mechanism is still hand crafted, but this is trivial compared to the original process.

Don't Fight the Material

Each piece of plywood is unique, so each Shade of Wood is unique.

Some times the laser doesn't cut through

There are imperfections, like knots or extra glue through out the the entire board, and sometimes the laser cannot cut all the way through them. So rather than spending an addition hour removing these extraneous pieces, I celebrate them.

Lamp Flair

Not everyone wants to revel in the glories of their light bulbs

a Shade of Wood belt of for an existing Lamp

As I continued to play with this idea, it dawned on me that I could generate cut patterns to create belts to go on existing lampshades!

The math is the same, you are just creating the belt around a different section of the cone. Similar triangles make it a snap.

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