Spring 2014

Role: Designer, Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer

Team: Me

Skills: Rapid Prototyping, Design for Manufacturing, Electrical Engineering

Tools: Rhinoceros, Lasercutter, Electronics Lab

These highlights are designed to as a fun engineering activity for children and adults.  Each flat nightlight package contains six wooden sides and a wooden back, a circuit board to drive an LED, and two acrylic panels to diffuse the light.  Individuals can assemble each nightlight and keep them as individual art pieces or stack them and combine them in fun designs.  Once the circuit board has been screwed to the back panel, assembly is easy as the rest of the structure is press fit.

I began with a tapered hexagonal extrusion design, but I had decided to create an entirely pressfit assembly and this design  did not yield a robust assembly.  Once I had settled on a straight extrusion, I created multiple models to experiment with sizing of the retention tabs and receiving holes and tab location and quantity.  Experimenting with the electronics revealed that one layer of acrylic was not enough to diffuse the light from the internal LED.  I added a second acrylic plate to create a soft light.

I designed small tabs to hold the nightlights together for more complex assemblies.  Each tab was lasercut and glued together.  The only hardware in the nightlights are the screws holding the circuit board to the back plate.  Future iterations would use a pressfit or glue joint to remove the need for any hardware.