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Chandelier Enclosure

Oh man. The best thing about ITP: whenever you’re in a bind, someone with the exact skill you don’t have, but desperately need, sits down right next to you. The worst thing about ITP, everything you think you will do in an hour, takes a few days.

This week I finished the kombucha chandelier that I started for the multiples assignment. I used two old ITP floor boards for the enclosure.

The floor boards were the perfect length for my design, so I didn’t cut them down. I did use the router to make the inside of the enclosure big enough to fit my wires. I then drilled the holes for my wires with a regular drill bit and holes for my screws with a countersink bit, then sanded the wood down.

Left: Inside of the enclosure is routed. Right: Outside is sanded down.
Left: Inside of the enclosure is routed. Right: Outside is sanded down.

Surprisingly, the sanding was probably the most time consuming part of the project. It took me about an hour on each with the hand sander. The boards came with years of ITP grime on each side. I decided to leave it to add some “character” to the enclosure.

After I sanded the boards, I applied tung oil and then let them dry for a day. Then, I started the assembly. I originally planned to use grounding bars as explained in this how-to, but then, I ran into Aaron in the shop. Aaron is a lighting designer and came up with a much simpler (and maybe even safer?) solution.

Top two boards finished with tung oil Bottom board is original finish.
Top two boards finished with tung oil Bottom board is original finish.

We used tap splices to join the wires together and butt splices to attach the wires coming from the bottles to the wire that goes to the ground. Aaron also checked my previous wiring and gave me some tips to make sure the lamp is safe and some things that I could do differently next time.

We used tap and butt splices to connect the wiring.
We used tap and butt splices to connect the wiring.

After wiring the enclosure, I drilled the enclosure together. This also took much longer than expected. The wood was so hard that I had to re-drill all of my holes with a thicker gauge drill bit. Even with the thicker drill bit, I stripped and bent a few screws in the process. (Good thing I bought extra!)

I don’t completely love the design of the enclosure. If I had another week to work on this, I would try to add some metal into the enclosure design, and laser etch the top of it. But, I ran into more hurdles than I expected to with this project (just another day at ITP, ha), and didn’t have the extra time I thought I might have. All in all, I learned a ton and am pretty proud of the result.

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