Opportunities for 3D Printing in Bespoke Lighting – Lightfair Presentation Sneak Preview

If you are attending Lightfair this year, and are interested in the use of 3D Printing in deploying custom and special lighting ideas, I hope you will have to time to attend my presentation:

Opportunities for Bespoke Lighting Using 3D Print Technology:
Session L22T14
June 22, 5:00PM to 6:00P

Course Description: 3D printing is poised to re-invigorate the inclusion of bespoke lighting solutions beyond conventional manufacturing. From the creation of a one-off feature art object, to printing optics to produce taylored light distributions, 3D printing eliminates the roadblocks of tooling costs and wait times, to go directly from concept to end product. Further, designers already adept at 3D modeling, can directly participate in the design of a finished product, with fewer interpretive steps by others. 3D printing can deliver components, or complete finished works, in a myriad of materials. The revolution is coming, and it is going to be amazing!

Learning Objectives:

Differentiate between the numerous 3D print processes available, and where they are used.

Determine if a design requirement is a good fit for digital production.

Understand how one might participate in creating the models used to create 3D printed objects and products.

Be familiar with the costs, and process times involved in utilizing 3D printing in achieving a desired result.


I am a practical individual who has been making 3D Print based lighting products, prototypes, models, conceptual presentations, custom lighting, lighted art objects, test models, fixturing, moulds, and specialty technical products – since 2010. In that 12 years, I have completed over 1,400 3D print production projects, comprising more than 5,500 finished parts. My 52 in 52 project (found on this blog) was the very earliest stage of this effort, for those familiar with that work in 2010 – which started as an exploration of LED technology, then morphed into a series with dual purposes of exploring 3D printed objects that employed various solid-state lighting components. My first printer was a Stratasys Dimension bst1200es commercial printer, as well as an SLA printer from Form Labs, and smaller desktop printers by Makerbot and other desktop machines.

Spoiler Alert: I am not a big fan of the open source, low cost desktop printers that have flooded the market. I have found them too unreliable, require too much fussy experimentation to make work, while delivering part quality too low to be of use to me in serving my interests and customer’s needs.

I now employ a Stratasys F370 commercial/industrial printer for my current work – most of which is represented elsewhere on this blog and on my web site.

I do not come to 3D printing from the position of marketing equipment, or theoretical postulation of what might be one day, or promoting how 3D Printing will revolutionize the universe based on theoretical projections of the potential of the technology to… blah, blah, blah… I come from the position of designing, printing, assembling, finishing, and deploying 3D printed models and works virtually every day over the last 12 years for a wide range of customers within and outside the lighting markets, including individuals, manufacturers and designers. So, you can expect the presentation to be founded on a practical, ready to apply and realize-it-now perspective.

What I Have Prepared

In my presentation I will present a review of the range of 3D print processes and materials, their relative costs compared to conventional processes, and how they might fit into the pursuit of custom lighting product realization.

I will present an overview of the data flow from idea to printer, and what software is used, as well as how designers might be directly involved, and how manufacturers and other partners might employ 3D printing to move a concept from flat paper to an in-hand sample or finished part.

I will have physical models created to demonstrate how designers might benefit from having a 3D printer, either in house, or through a relationship with a 3D Print Farm or Model maker. Based on a single light engine example (using and OLED from OLEDWorks), I will present several examples of snap on parts created to change the character of that light engine, in light character, appearance, and finished realized object. This will demonstrate how having 3D models in hand open doors for testing, experimentation, and presentation to customers in ways that 2D forms and presentation methods simply cannot produce. The models are all 100% 3D printed, of course.

My Proposal

I propose that while using 3D printing in production level manufacturing is some ways off, there is a growing potential for customization, specialty product development, and custom product process improvement that is available now. I also propose that in the near future, there will be opportunities for lighting designers and independent product designers to create custom lighting products to suit low volume demands, that is exciting, and filled with potential to solve problems that mass manufactured, tooled products simply are not suited to satisfy.

It is my intent to convey this perspective in a way that excites those who attend to consider the opportunities in serving their customers.

I Hope to See You in Vegas!

I hope you will attend, and take a moment to talk after the presentation. If you have any questions prior to the show (or afterward,) reach out through email. I look forward to the interaction!


Author: kwillmorth

Photographer and Artist

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