Space Exploration

Where we work tells the story of who we are. I enjoy space planning and getting the most out of small environments. I don’t enjoy excessive space filled with… well, space. Also not a fan of architectural spaces that offer volumes of open space. I find the echoes of cloppity-clopping of feet on marble surfaces and reverently hushed voices annoying. This seems an American thing, where scale of space and purpose are out of synch. Visiting Europe, or older sections of large cities anywhere, I find the ratio of space to purpose in better proportion. Less pretence, more utilization and intimacy – and less hallowed shrine to the gods of capitalism, perhaps?

I once expanded operations from a shared purpose three car garage to a facility of over 4,500s.f. – thinking more was better. But, what I found was a sense of inefficiency. A friend once commented that space had a tendency to fill itself. He was right. It’s like a lifeform with an insatiable appetite for “stuff”, leading to a need for more space. It was amazing how much junk became “necessary”.

In 2019, I down-sized everything by eliminating redundant accumulated equipment (donated to a Maker Center), and clearing/recycling “stuff.” The process was liberating.

Creating Lighted Art Objects now flows through a combined +/-2,000s.f., enabling me to keep the essential operation close to home – rather than at a remote commercial property. This suits my style of work and sense of space efficiency far better. I can find what I am looking for without hunting through bins of useless clutter, and all of the equipment on hand is being utilized. I have plenty of room to grow… but not so much that it demands being filled.

This is a schematic of the areas used and the flow through them. Yes, I do sit next to the 3D printer. It is that quiet. I am also using an air purifier with VOC carbon filters to eliminate any odor. This layout also has room to accommodate up to 3 additional “helper” should I need them.
Process Flow

The creative process begins in the design area (1), where all of the models are created in CAD or by hand sketching. From this, part model files that are to be 3D printed (2) are prepared and sent to the printer, and then processed when complete.

The Design (1) and Marketing (2) areas are adjacent to the Assembly (7) area, which are frequently reconfigured to suit a given work in process.

The raw 3D parts are collected and moved to the workshop, where they are joined by machined/sawn parts (3) and fabricated parts (4), for assembly into larger components.

The workshop is open plan, and reconfigurable to suit projects in hand. The motorcycle has since been sold off to make room for a large object work area.
The machining area houses manual mill and lathe with DRO, where structural elements to be inserted into structures, or external metal components are made up. We once houses a CNC machining center, but found that it was not needed often enough to warrant the space it occupied.

Once prepared, the larger sub-assemblies are sanded or surfaced (5), in preparation for paint. Painting (6) includes wet and powder coating processes, depending on the component material involved.

The Fabrication area (4) and Surfacing (5) is where components are put together and finished in preparation for paint.

Once paint has cured, the parts are then moved into the Assembly area (7), where they are met by the electronics and light sources (if used). Assembled objects are then moved into the photography studio (8) where images and videos are captured.

The paint area (6) can be expanded or enclosed to complete larger objects, and includes powder coating, thermal curing and staging space.

Assembled objects are moved into the photography studio (8) where images and videos are captured.

Video and image data is transferred to Marketing (9), where the objects are added to the various web locations, and communications to the market take place.

Sub assembly WIP is stored in the larger shop space, while completed objects are wrapped and held in inventory within the assembly area, until shipment, where they are then packed (10) and prepared for transportation.

The combined spaces are all air conditioned and heated, so the work environment is comfortable all year round. Separation between functional sections reduces contamination, while providing variety of environment throughout the day.

For those interested in the studio, visit the Lumenique Facilities page. If you are in the Chicago area (West Suburbs) just let me know, and I will give you the cooks tour. I’ll make room for you in my space.

Author: kwillmorth

I am an artist in lighted objects and product designer.

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