Chandler, the chandelier

Digital Design Steps

I started with a 2D abstract design drawn on paper, then imported it into Adobe Illustrator to vectorize it.  In Rhino 3D, I extruded the vector along a curve. I then subtracted that form from a sphere to create the main form.  I hollowed out the center to allow light to penetrate the structure more easily, then extruded a three pronged spiral through the middle of the form.  This spiral acts as a spine through which to pass the metal rods that support the structure.  I then extracted 103 contour layers from the model to move on to the fabrication phase.

Scaling up

We first made a 1/12 scale model using a laser cutter.  This helped us give an initial sense of the form in physical space.  Next, we made a 1/4 scale model to test assembly and assess any points of fragility.  After discovering some weaknesses, I went back to the computer to shore up the sturdiness of the design.  With all the plans in place, we proceeded to cut all 103 layers on a CNC (around 80 hours of cut time).  We then lightly sanded the edges to give it a more organic feel. It was then time to slide each layer onto the three support rods that ran through the spiral spine.  After the structure itself was complete, we ran 3 halogen bulbs into the central cavern of the chandelier.

Burning Man loved it so much they shared it on their Instagram.