Going for a walk/light design lazer cut part 2

We were asked to walk from Ladbroke Grove to Chiswick in West London. On the journey, I remembered that most interesting things around London were seen by looking up, mainly at the beautiful architecture. I thought how about looking at the ground and focussed my journey on looking at drain designs.

Throughout my walk, I discovered repetitive drain designs mostly by utility companies, still the design were pretty interesting.



Until I walked to Holland Park where I found cast iron plates in the pavement.  I was quite intrigued by the designs. In image below was the first cast iron plate I came across.


Nearing the end of my journey, in Chiswick, a row of houses backing onto the River Thames, I discovered all the houses had these cast iron plates in the pavements.  All different designs by different manufacturers.



The design reminded me of something I saw in Creative Review, buy I couldn’t quiet put my finger on it.  I did some research and rediscovered the book an artist had made in Creative Review. Unfortunately, the link to the complete works is broken, so below are some screenshots of what the artist made.  The artist took rubbings of drains covers and created a book from screen printing.


When I did further research I found out that these cast iron round plates in the pavement were coal hole covers.  They were used to cover the chute where the coal was deposited in the cellar of the houses. They were commonly used from 1860’s in many large town buildings, but with the introduction of the Clean Air Act in 1956 in London they became obsolete in Britain.

The designs still appear very strong due to being casted in iron, but over hundred years of footfall some of the design has worn away.

Whilst these designs are interesting, I took my sometime to think about how to use the design. I mocked up some drains in different colours to test.

CHISWICKDRAINelectric drainopen mwbCHISWICKDRAINyellow


Moving onto a wallpaper design perhaps it could be used in an industrial design office or a bathroom. I thought about some environmental awareness posters, but I couldn’t quite match a message I really wanted.

chiswick drain walls

As much as I liked the designs on the drains, I realised I picked quiet a difficult subject to progress with.  After some thought, I decided to create a 70cm diameter lampshade from a chosen coal hole design cover, to work the pattern of the coal hole cover around the shade.

for lamp


Once I traced the design I scanned into Photoshop then Illustrator to clean up ready for it to be inserted into the main artwork as a patterned design.

In illustrator ready for laser cutting.

total dimensions 225 x 30cm for a 70cm diameter lampshade

cut into 4 sections to print on A2

3 x 59cm by 30cm

1 x 48cm by 30cm

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Laser cut print ready for assembly.

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the end joins – not completely perfect due to errors with the laser cutter


example of a middle section

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Start of assembly, rounded into position, rolling the two rings at the same time following inserting the diffuser.  The diffuser was slightly bigger than the ring, which I found strange as I purchased it from the same company as the lampshade kit.  This made the artwork slightly bulged.


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Unfortunately, I have all fitted light fittings, so I was unable to actually fit the lampshade to a standard light fitting.  I used cord and hung it from the a large light fitting and used battery powered lights to eliminate the light.

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As mentioned above the diffuser is slightly larger than the ring, so it didn’t sit perfectly in the lamp shade ring.

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Lazer Cut Light Shade Part 1

Taking inspiration for the pattern from a book entitled The Art of Mehndi by Sumta Batra. I drew out a pattern to scan and draw illustrator to create the artwork.  I placed the flower design in a pattern with the coffee beans dotted throughout.


I decided to create the pattern lampshade on a 20cm diameter.

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Once I printed it on the laser cutter, I pushed out all the paper that didn’t fall out.  What I discovered, which initially I thought was going to be a problem, some of the lines that were lazer cut appeared to be thinner than I judged.  This actually turned out for the better, because I was able to push out some of the parts of the flower design to make the design of the lampshade 3d rather than a flat rounded lampshade.


I tested the shade with a candle once I had pushed out all the paper cuttings. Clipped together with paperclips.



This seemed to work perfectly, so I assembled with a 20cm lampshade kit and popped on a lamp base.






The lamp is fitted with a dimmer, I experimented with the 3 dimmer settings.

I also created two other designs 20cm diameter, both have the word ‘BEAM’ throughout the shade, but one has a strikethrough the middle text.

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When I created the artwork, I used a stroke instead of a filled on some of the letters, which caused an error in the laser cutting.  See below video.


I then rectified the error and printed them both correctly.  Tested with a candle for light.






Temporary Typography

Created a 3d letter in Helvetica typeface, using superglue to hold it together.

w creation.jpg

Upon completion, took a series of photograph stills using a Canon pro camera on a tripod. Had a bit of trouble with the super glue with the paper sticking to the desk.




Following the stills, I set up an area in the garden to burn the 3d shape.  It was a pretty windy day, so I sheltered the camera, tripod and 3d shape with the parasol.  This was the only place I could burn the 3d shape out of the wind and off my wooden decking.


Testing the focus with a candle flame 

Before filming outside in the windy, I tested the focus of the camera filming with a candle I recorded by blowing the flame of the candle to see if the camera adjusted its focus.  It was fine.

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The filming of the 3d letter being destroyed went quite well, considering how windy it was outside.  The camera stayed in focus the picture was quiet perfect HD.

Filming of 3d temporary typography being destroyed

Stills of the recording

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The only downside was the letter falling off the tray towards the end.  Had I lit the flame in equal places correctly it would have burnt evenly and this wouldn’t have happened.