Intro to Fabrication - Week 5 - Tree Branch Lamp


If it isn’t already obvious, I have an affinity for incorporating natural elements into my technological projects, and I applied the same ideas this week to my fabrication assignment. The brief was to create something made out of two or more materials, and only acrylic and plywood were off limits. Considering how much of this week I had dedicated to my Physical Computing final project I wanted to make something which would be fairly simple in execution, and using a natural element felt like a smart way to add beauty and complexity to a project without too many components. Combining this with my comfort with household lighting and wiring I ended up with this tree branch lamp that may actually be my favorite project I’ve done in fabrication so far.


This week started with a trip to Home Depot, where I was inspired by seeing all the beautiful filament bulbs they have on display. I decided I wanted to make a lamp using one of these bulbs and a simple bare socket, but only by wandering around for a while longer and being frustrated by how ‘constructed’ everything in the store felt did I decide on making the body of the lamp out of a tree branch. I rode my bike into Prospect Park and sure enough, I came away with a myriad of wonderful wood options.


Unfortunately all of the wood was a bit damp, so I went out on a limb (pun intended) and just chucked them all in the oven for about half an hour to dry them out. Then at ITP I used the mitre saw to cut off a few rotting bits and a spade bit on the drill press to make a perfect sized hole for the socket. Using a normal drill bit I then drilled all the way through for the wire. And to seal the wood and make sure it wouldn’t fall apart I sprayed it with a few coats of clear acrylic sealer.

The final step was to set the socket in the wood and in order to do that I actually had to cut the cable, feed it through and then re-solder it. Then finally I used Gorilla Glue to secure the socket in place.

 this was a test log to make sure the bit would drill well into the wood.

this was a test log to make sure the bit would drill well into the wood.

fabStefan Skripak1 Comment