52 in 52 – Week Five Complete

02/05/2010 – Week five included a week in North Carolina for the DOE conference on SSL. That does not mean that there will be no product. I have something in the works now. This week is going to resolve a problem I have at home – the need for a good reading light in our media room. The side tables are too small for anything large, so these are going to be thin and clamp on to the edge of a glass top. Need to make two of them as well. To fit in the space, and incorporate my wife’s interest in woodworking, I am including wood in this design. Rather that preview this, I decided I’m just going to put my head down and get them made, and spring them on those following this series.

02/08/2010 – Well here it is. We made a pair of these for our entertainment room, where the side tables were just too small for anything bulky, and reading tasks required good lighting. The body/stem is Tulip-wood with a wax finish made by my wife, who enjoys pen making as a hobby. For this reason, we have begun calling these our pen-lights.

Specifications: Fixture is 2″W, x 19″T, x 9″D. Utilizes Lynk Labs 12VAC Tesla LEDs on 7″ 6W SnapBrite strip with SnapDriver power supply. The reflector/heat sink extrusion was also provided by Lynk Labs. Clamp detail can accommodate tables up to 3/4″.

52 in 52 – Week Four Complete

02/01/10 – With a 31 year wedding anniversary on 01/31/10, I took a little break over the weekend.Not like this one did not have its problems…

On Friday, while testing the battery and electrical, I set a lump of metal (the baseplate) on some wires, and primtly shorted the batteries out, which destroyed the driver. Then, Saturday, in the process of loading the  main body with batteries and making the wiring connections, I got the brilliant idea to tamp the batteries down with a plastic rod. Idiot. The reason they were reluctant to go into the tube was that one of the wires was out of position… the result was another short, this time wiping out two of the batteries. After this I redesigned the connections and wiring, no more shorts. Something to keep in mind thow, batteries are always on, even when they are off.

In any case, this one is done. It really looks nice. The body is a bit heavy, between the Delrin material, an aluminum support tube, the heat sink head, and the batteries, it has some mass to it. A little heavier than a big D-Cell Maglite, but brighter and fully rechargeable. The batteries are the same as emergency lights use, so they will last for a long time.

I like the idea of a lamp that functions like a lamp, either on wall power or – unplug the charger and use the lamp where there is no plug or – pull the lamp from its base and use it as a portable light to find your way when the power is out.

On the charger, the light will remain at full brightness for over 9 hours continuously before dropping in light output at all. On batteries alone, the lamp remains at full brightness for 4 hours, which is extended dramatically when you dim it.

The combination of white and polished aluminum is always nice too.

52 in 52 – Week Four Kickoff

01/22/10 – This week is going to explore another new direction. How many times have you hunted around the house for that flashlight that just isn’t there? When the power goes, how are you going to find it then? What if that flashlight was also a great looking table torchere? Would it not then be easier to find? If it also included a constant battery charge, maybe even getting its juice from a solar panel – the frustration of finding that precious flashlight only to find it’s batteries are dead vanishes. This week we’ll see if we might solve this, and have some fun with the design of it all to boot. White Acetyl body and polished aluminum seems appropriate. Nice to look at when the power is on – easy to find when its dark.

01/26/10 – Batteries in hand. Had to find a drill bit for boring a 1″ hole through a 10″ long lump of plastic to start to body sections. That’s not a cheap tool, and looks like something from a gore flick. Got the main bodies roughed to size and bored out. Have some material coming today for the base and center shaft sleeve. The plastic I’m using is Delrin, or acetyl plastic. This is food grade stuff and has a really pleasant translucency to it. Unlike modled plastic, this material is warm to the touch and feels solid as a brick. It’s also fairly good to machine, making big piles of spiral strips.

01/28/10 – All the rough in stuff is done, now for the gritty details. Going to have to wait a little, as I’ve got to hop off to Tennessee to do a rough-in inspection of a project site I’m working on. Will get back into it this weekend. Have some cool flat wire stuff coming as well. Got the batteries and charger, 6 2V batteries in series will give me 12V to work with, and 2.5Ah to run the light. That will work out to be around 3 hours at full brightness on batteries alone. The charger is 500mA, so when the lamp is plugged in an running, it will operate at full brightness for around 8 hours before the batteries are depleted, dropping output to the 500mA charger rate. This all seems reasonable. Since the light operates always on the batteries, and any time it is in the saddle, its being charged, this will be the perfect decorative accent for any place that looses power periodically, or where someone wants a bit of security. Hear a bump in the night, grab the light and have a look, this thing wiull put out more light than any flashlight you have ever owned. It’s also a little heavy and built like a tank, so should someone get too near for comfort, it can function as a weighted bat. Now THAT is putting an LED product to good use!

52 in 52 – Design Three Complete

Give me some color!

I know, there are those spending millions to blend RGB light to eliminate color separation. I prefer in this case to embrace it, and enjoy the effects. By placing these devices at different angles and distances in relationship to a subject, the effects on walls and ceilings is interesting and painterly (odd word, but fitting.)

Each of these modules includes a 1A driver, 3 Lumileds Rebel LEDs, 25 degree optic and individual intensity control. Just aim and adjust the balance between the colors and dig the results. I chose to use the Red-Orange, Green, Blue combination, as it produces the best whites in blended areas, and can make yellow.

The heat sink is thermally bonded to the aluminum body, while the end caps are Delrin. The little diffuser surrounds are Teflon and produce a nice glow.

The pattern areas will be a combination of mixed light background, or can fade from one color to another. Shadow patterns can be intense, and are magenta, cyan and yellow. The light the three modules delivers is impressive, totaling around 650 lumens total.

52 in 52 – Week Three Kickoff

01/18/10 – Week Three
I like gadgets and toys as much as anyone. I particularly enjoy clever little doo-dads that put out. This week I’m going to indulge myself with a trio of little gadgets in matte black, powered by Lumileds Rebel R-G-B LEDs, producing around 150 lumens per gadget, with a 25 degree optic to get things under control, the individual control  and aimablility will create interesting mixes and special effects in the corner of a room. Rather than hide the hardware, I’m thinking t them hang out and be seen, all black oxide, black anodize and a little italian gloss red to create a touch of contrast. Stay tuned!

52 in 52 – Design Two Complete

The uplight washes the wall behind or ceiling, while the downlight accents below.

Steam Punked!
A little late, but not completely lost. What a week this has been. I love working with the lathe, but forget houw time conuming it can be, shaving each layer off, until the final shape emerges, several minutes later. This design also presented several challenges in the head, both to control movement, as well as making connections. There are no wires in the stems, they are the conductors, and the horizontal pivot pin makes connection inside the head itself. Then, the control became an issue, as the driver 0-5V system defaults to full on when there is not connection across the reference voltage, which meant that changing light levels would go to full bright between settings, obviously not good. This meant integrating controls that short the control connection as the bob is moved between settings.

52 in 52 – Week Two Kickoff

01/07/10 – And now for something completely different. Ever heard of Steam Punk? It’s a design vocabulary founded on Victorian styling blended with technology as it might have been had we not moved into micro-electronics. Time machine movies are excellent examples of the aesthetic. Applying this to an SSL product just seems too ironic not to do, so this will be the week two project. This one is going to use Bridgelux 400lm LED arrays as uplight and downlight, within a pivoting head. Driver will be from Luxdrive, and operated at 1A. Control is going to be via placing a plumb bob in one of three sockets, which will control the driver dim level. Finishes will be powder coat red, powder coat black, polished aluminum and polished brass. This one is mostly lathe turnings, my favorite tool.

Bent part - tip of vertical members

01/11/10 –  Got a lot of parts made and some details figured out. Had a bit of an issue with the ball turner, which decided to grab a part and bend it over on me. Really a pain since the ball is the last thing you turn after cutting the rest of the part. Had to re-invent the tool a little before I trashed another blank, then started all over to replace the bent part. Been making a few adjustments in detail as I go through each part – some to fit materials I have in stock and to improve detailing, since there is nothing quite like having the metail in hand to fine tune detail. Working the light heads now – a lot of stuff packed into a somewhat small space. Last bit to work out is the swivel so it will hold the head in place and not sag, but will be easy to adjust. So far so good. The Bridgelux LEDs put out so much soft light, this one should make a nice general space illuminator, with back/uplight and down/tasklight.

01/15/10 – Been a tough week, but the project is progressing. Just finished the base plates, have the vertical conductor towers ready to finish, have figured out how to make the controls work properly, and have the head 90% complete, just need a couple of holes drilled and everything is ready to finish. While the target is to finish each of these on Thursday or Friday of each week, projects like this one are abit more complex, so will take a day or two longer. By the end of the day today, everything on this will be in finishing, with assembly tommorrow (Saurday), just in time to startweek 3, which has already beed designed. This is going to be tough to keep up with, and requires I think clearly and not make any serious mistakes that eat time.

52 in 52 – Design One Complete

Our kitchen island work light

So… the first week went well enough. Even with taking time off for the holidays, working in a deep freeze workshop, and managing to mess up several blocks of metal, I managed to get this one done. I’m also breaking in a new powder coat oven and learning to use a couple of new tools, like a virbatory deburring machine that works away at the sharp corners and file marks while I get on with other work. Generally this one worked out about as I had invisioned, except for shortening the arm a little. I’m also thinkin that the next iteration of this will use finishes a little differently. I’ve created a matte white powder finish I really like the look and feel of, will need to find more places to use it. In any case, with this in the done file, its time for a couple days to regroup and get into the next one.

I’ve got an idea in mind for use of Bridgelux 400lm LEDs in a steam-punk looking design that will light up and down, providing good ambient as well as accent downlighting. Something a bit less edgy, maybe use a lot of lathe turned parts and do a little polishing. Might even use some brass I have on hand for just such a purpose.

52 in 52 Design One Specification Brief

24″ wide x 20″ tall
Lynk Labs 12W Snapbrite strip (12VAC) on SnapDriver power supply
Custom switch design and fabrication
Tumble finish aluminum with clear gloss topcoat, wrinkle black and matte white finishes

52 in 52 – Design One

12/30/09 – This is the first of 52 designs for the year. I thought about posting a drawing or rendering of the complete design at the start, but what is the fun in that? Instead, I’m including a few sneek preview details that will be included in the final design. To see what the finished product, both in-process and completed, you’ll just have to follow along, or wait a week. Design One is a fixed head architecturally styled task lamp for a desk or side table. It’s going to be around 20″ tall and extend 28″ horizontally. It will use a Lynklabs 12″ SnapBrite LED strip with 12 Tesla LEDs, powered by the companies BriteDriver 12VAC power supply, provided as samples to me by the company. This will deliver roughly 200fc onto the task surface. The finish will be black textured and matte white high reflectance powder coat (my own formulation), with satin and polished aluminum accents. I plan to get most of the rough cut parts machined this weekend, so stay tuned!

01/04/10 – All design, machining, and mock up of rough components completed. Ran into a little snag finding a proper switch, so made my own from a proximity control and Delrin block. Had to remake the block at the top of the main column three times due to the length of the drilling horizontally for the support rod which went in straight and came out off center. Also fussed with the length of the arm –  cut hree inches off it to balance the appearance of the assembly. Man, is it cold in the garage where my machining equipment is. Had to take a couple days off due to temps in the single digits, which makes the oil so stiff the machines struggle. The rest of the process can be done in the sheet metal and assembly area, which is heated. Going to have to get a better heater in the machining area.

52 New SSL Designs in the 52 Weeks for 2010

Starting the January 1, 2010, I will develop 52 new products at a pace of one per week. One new design, conceived, developed, built, finished and lighted, each week.

Self-imposed rules:

  • Each product will use parts purchased from readily available off-the-shelf sources for LEDs (most will be mounted on star-boards or packaged strips and arrays)
  • Drivers and/or power supplies and optics will be production products available off-the-shelf or made from scratch (optics).
  • Products will include white or color, or a mixture of both
  • Components will be made by me, in my own shop facility, including machining, metal fab, welding, polishing, powder coating, or other necessary operations
  • Each product will be as unique as possible, no iterations of a theme to stretch one design over several weeks
  • Each end product will be offered for sale through the Lumenique Product Center
  • While the primary focus is on portable products, this does not limit the development of products that are wall or ceiling hung, if the mood strikes
  • The primary focus is on indoor lighting, although this does not preclude the occasional outdoor concept from being explored
  • No cove lights, strips, recessed downlights, or retrofit lamps will be considered or included

Beginning on Friday, January 1, 2010:

  • I will post updates as to activities underway
  • Each design will be developed and rendered in RhinoCAD 3D as a “starting point”
  • Follow up photos of progress will be included in postings periodically through the week as parts are made
  • The finished product is to be completed and posted on Thursday of each week

Dose of reality: There will likely be occasions when scheduling of work and/or travel will preclude the completion of a product in a given week. These disruptions will not disrupt to deployment of products. To maintain pace, in the week(s) prior to and/or following the disruption, additional products will be created simultaneously to catch up and maintain a total rate of one per week by year’s end.

So, for anyone who thinks that LEDs are not “ready yet” – this is where I hope to demonstrate 52 uses, in hopefully interesting and unique forms, without no custom electronics, hard tooling, or expensive development processes. In other words, making LED products like we once made halogen low voltage toys – the simplest and most straightforward path to cool.

So, let’s get ready to rumble in the SSL jungle!

Oh and to make this a little more interesting – Anyone interested can suggest or offer an idea they would like to see included by submitting in response to daily postings. These may even be pre-purchased (at the option of the requester, with my acceptance) through the Lumenique Products Center as part of the request. Manufacturers may also offer samples of product to be included into the designs (with proper acknowledgement of course) as long as the products provided can be readily acquired.

For the cynics – this could be perceived as a blatant self promotion effort, where I draw attention to myself by taking on such a scheme. So what? In the storm of SSL as we live it today, at least this will be more fun than another announcement of legislative hurdles hurdled, grand trillion dollar projects completed, or world record performance attained in some dank lab somewhere. I also have a bit at stake here, as it requires I can actually spawn 52 interesting designs that I can actually build in the time allotted at my own expense. You could also look at this for what it  really is – an enthusiast exploring the technology at a moment in time when such exploration is the most exciting. There is not likely to be another confluence of conditions in the lighting market like we have in hand going into 2010, so now is the time to take the deep dive and just see what happens. I can warrant that I do not have a library of ideas from which I will tap. This will be a real-time process of ideation, development and realization in its raw unrehersed form. Call it what you wish, its going be hard work no matter which way its sliced.

A little History…

Stay tuned...