Thursday, December 20, 2012

3d Printer Brings New Light to Antique Japanese Lantern

Ben Sherwood experimented with the use of modern technologies to help repair this 150 year old Japanese lantern.  It was missing a curved wooden rib like the one in the picture, so we 3D printed a replacement on the SD300.

The 3D printed rib fit the size and curvature of the lantern perfectly, thanks to careful measurements that Ben took prior to building it.  But naturally the modern plastic looked a bit funky among all the wood and paper components of the lantern.

Ben Purdy, a maker colleague, took my CAD data and adapted it to a vector drawing so he could make a replacement rib in acrylic using a laser cutter.

It looked even funkier than the 3D printed rib, but the acrylic rib fit the lamp so neatly that it could have been used to make a perfect repair.

Ben turned up the intensity of the laser and cut another replacement rib from solid wood.

The laser charred the sides of the wooden rib, which makes it a nice match for the original wood in the Japanese lantern.

The laser didn't touch the top edge of the rib, so it's still pale.  But Ben can choose to apply stain and lacquer to make it a perfect match if he chooses.  Although the 3D printer didn't manufacture the final replacement rib, it was a helpful catalyst for completing the project.

It was certainly a fun, satisfying project.  Ben Sherwood shared it in a five-minute standup presentation at Ignite TAO PDX at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, which they recorded for posterity...