Laser Cut Lamp

Feb 05, 2010

One of our first serious projects, we produced these lamps as Christmas gifts for our friends and families.  We cut them from a variety of woods, including Cedar, African Padauk and Walnut.  It was our first project using hardwoods and it was definitely a learning experience.

Smoke discoloration was a definite issue with our prototypes, so we looked at a number of ways to prevent it.  A full coating of shellac was successful in keeping down discoloration, but had issues of its own.  The heat of the laser melted and re-fused the shellac causing cut pieces to stick in the body.  We later learned that the shellac can be de-waxed and thinned with denatured alcohol to make a ‘wash coat’.  The thinner coat still protects the wood from smoke, but cuts more cleanly.

The Padauk and Walnut both finished well with just shellac, so rather than stain over such gorgeous wood, we just put on a full coat after cutting, and varnished it to prevent UV bleaching. The diffuser is a synthetic vellum available from any art supply store, and the light source is a candelabra fixture holding a high efficiency cold cathode bulb.

Since we were just starting out, the design is heavily influenced by the one sold at Lightwave Laser. Our finger joint assembly method was distinctly different however.