Community challenge #13: Lamps (closed)

My Town Map

I’ve been building this idea in my head for awhile now, community challenge #13 was just the push I needed to get started.

I live in Norman Oklahoma, and ever since seeing Carbide 3D’s demo on how to make a topographic 3D model I’ve had this idea to make a map of my home town.

I started with Tangrams Heatmap which gave me the elevation. I then had to overlay a roadmap of Norman to add the (major) streets. Funny fact, Oklahoma is pretty flat, and the Tangrams heatmap informed me the difference in the highest and lowest points of Norman Oklahoma is 60 feet.

Carbide Create was used to combine this information into a model.
I used the background image feature to put the street map on top of the heightmap. I then pathed each of the major streets (by hand) using the Polyline drawer.

The “Norman” and “Oklahoma” were originally text objects, but then they were combined with a design from the Norman city flag to create that design.

I broke the toolpaths into 4 jobs, first one was the 3D roughing…

… and the 3D finish. After that was done I added stain (very carefully) while the work piece was still clamped down in the Shapeoko.

I decided to stain at this point so the rest of the features would stand out when the wood’s natural color was revealed.

Many hours later, the Shapeoko was done. The final step was to add lights. In the day-dreaming phase of this project I thought about really going overboard with the lighting, but reality was suggesting I just add backlighting.

I really like how it turned out.
(lights off)

(lights on)

(close up - playing with macro lens)

Without a flash, the camera picks up the led backlight. The (unstained) wood in the lake isn’t really blue, maybe I should look into adding some blue tinted stain for the next version.

Norman v4.c2d (2.2 MB)


Nice work!

I didn’t realize Oklahoma has topography :wink::blush:


I really like the golden look with that stain, and carving the streets and letters after the relief was done makes its stand out from other topo maps, very well done ! Have you considered selling such maps locally ? (or donating one to city hall :slight_smile: )

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I was originally going to try to make an additional project and post that also but time has gotten away from me. I just had my first and only in-person art show of the year this past weekend due to COVID, hence why I felt the need to finally make this sign. Couple that with an early fall in MN I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t been able to make a real “Lamp” project.

I’ve had the idea to make an edge lit sign that can hang on the walls of my tent/booth at art shows that clearly tells everyone that all prints/products are made in MN, and that I accept credit cards via Square.
I first started off with a test piece to see if I had the right S/F for acrylic vcarving and a proof of concept.

Luckily everything seemed to look perfect, so I started to draw up the final design with the state outline and the Square logo and CC logo.

Then it was just a simple matter of cutting the acrylic, once again cutting went pretty much perfectly. I cut the design on the backside so I had made sure to mirror the image.

I managed to get some pretty nice edges on the outer contour.

Now came the hard part, I had decided it needed a frame since it would be hanging on my wall as opposed to a freestanding display that is just lit from the bottom. I have never made a frame before, I know seems kinda weird that a photographer who sells prints has never made a frame, thats one of the many reasons why I sell metal prints with inset frame. I won’t go into too many details about how I made the frame since it wasnt on the shapeoko but lets just say it took me 3 times before I got satisfactory results.
Then I used a piece of black plexi as a solid background and made a couple standoff bars that run down the side. This is where the velcro mounts and gives me the space to mount the battery and LED controller behind the frame.

And finally the finished product in its natural environment! Unfortunately the battery that I had for this only lasted about 6-7 or about an hour short of the full day at the show, so maybe figure a way to conceal/hide a cord that can run to a larger battery that will run all day guaranteed.

EDIT: All the designs Elements in Carbide Create and indivudually in a zip folder
Made in MN Sign.c2d (743.5 KB) (24.5 KB)


Awesome! How did the show go ?

Thanks, @Julien and the Carbide team for prompting me to take on this long standing idea!

For quick background on the idea, when I first got my S3 about 1.5yrs ago, one of my early projects was a Honda badge for my steering wheel (this is ~2in wide x 1.6in tall):

Long ago, I was inspired by this 1D pong creation and made my own for my nephew. Early in the build, I wondered “could you make wood thin enough that it looks like wood normally, but would let light through it?” Turns out, yes, yes you can:

So, I present the brain child of these two concepts: a gorgeous, wood-by-day, eyecatcher-by-night Honda badge:

Just a regular 'ol purpleheart and maple Honda badge?

Or is it?

I was going to actually install this, but a) ran out of time as I’m leaving to go camping in ~1hr in northern MN and b) think I learned enough to make some tweaks for a final version. In these mockups, the badge is just taped to my current badge, but the nighttime demo really is hooked into my tail lights, which was my goal in using a 12V LED for the light source (it’s a dome light retrofit)!

Here’s proof, with my son locking/unlocking my car to show it off :slight_smile:

I’ve never done one of these contests before and don’t know the appetite folks have for gory details, so I put the full log of annotated build pics on imgur for those interested.

For the quick and dirty, the badge is a wooden shell, backfilled with epoxy. I used a small amount of white pearl powder to make the epoxy diffuse just behind the H and ring. Then I lined the entire thing with mirror film to give me the best shot of getting the light bouncing around from a point source to evenly illuminate everything.

I machined a backplate from acrylic for the back, which is also lined with mirror film, and then machined a pocket for my LED light (mirror film is down in this pic, you’re seeing the machined back of the acrylic).

I learned a lot, and am happy to answer questions on what I’d do differently. I consider this version as exceeding my expectations (really did not expect it to look so darn cool at night, and though my light would be too weak and get dwarfed by the tail lights). That said, I have enough tweaks in mind that this will live on as a nightlight in my son’s room.

I hope to outfit the front/back with these one day, and I love that it matches my steering wheel emblem so nicely!

For a quick summary of some thoughts/lessons learned:

  • I used curly maple which I thought was really pretty, but the swirling grain creates end-grain-like sections in certain places, which put some unusually bright spots in a few places. I’d use something more straight/consistent/dense grained (maybe just “normal” maple)
  • I flipped the piece and was actually blown away by how consistent everything looked. Two pins is something I wanted to try on the last contest and man, it just worked great. I re-located a total of 3 times, expecting something to go wrong and it worked a treat
  • I’d possibly round the corners of the positive inlay, as despite chiseling, I think those sharp H corners gave me woes
  • now that I figured out how to diffuse the epoxy, I could have backfilled the whole thing in one shot. When I machined the top contour, there was only a 3mm layer against the H and ring. When I pried it up, the purpleheart “shell” shattered in a few places. I just about rage cried, but then just moved on to supergluing humpty dumpty back together
  • I’d love feedback on my perhaps odd CAD/CAM method, where I have a few versions of the part in the same file. I would roll the design forward/backward depending on what I wanted to machine (for example a shell and cut to create the inlays, but later suppressing those to use them for the 3d contour and full-depth profile). Not sure what others do here, but changing the design isn’t great as I have to regenerate all paths after
  • did my first loft in Fusion 360 to make that outer rounded contour. Using a radius would have rounded it in a way that didn’t match the outer logo ring, so I lofted the actual profiles together which I thought turned out cool
  • I debated how to CNC the mirror film, possibly with a v bit, but ran out of time. Ideally I wouldn’t have a back plate at all. Thinking I’d embed the back mirror film in the final pour/float on top and machine right through it? Might also embed threaded receivers to hold the LED down while still being removable? Or drill/tap the LED? Point being, the back has room for improvement and I didn’t get to that final mile of optimization.

Here’s the project on cutrocket and another link to the full build pics in case it was missed above.

Disclaimer: I generally don’t know what I’m doing in CAM world, so I end up with pretty Frankenstein-ish models, setups and operations. If it’s in there, I probably used it at some point.

Final disclaimer: the legality of this is not clear to me. To the original post’s comment about sharing vectors… the no-nos appear to be representing something that’s not a Honda as a Honda by labeling/badging and/or selling it as though it’s made by Honda. I’m doing neither, and there’s plenty of precedent for aftermarket badges that I doubt are from Honda (like this and this). To play it safe: limit to your own car and don’t sell these.


The show was awesome, plenty of space for everyone to keep there distance if they wanted and whatnot. Saturday sales were slow, but Sunday made up for that. Everyone, artists/organizers/customers, I talked to seemed really happy the event happened.



Here is my edge-lit Child’s Nightlight with interchangeable scenes so it can be refreshed as the child grows.

Here’s a YouTube video of how it works:

The 2”x3” Lexan “scenes” drop into slots in the top. Underneath, on top of the bottom disc, is a single 2” LED light strip that illuminates the “front” scene. It turns on/off by simply rotating the top (“On” when rotated to a scene; “Off” when rotated between scenes.). Rare earth magnets provide tactile “stops” all the way around so the top stops exactly on a scene (“On”) or between a scene (“Off”). On/off is controlled by a repurposed Shapeoko mechanical proximity switch that contacts a scalloped lip under the top piece.

I wanted to do Disney characters but didn’t want to run afoul of copyrights, so I found some fun “free for personal use” SVG files instead. This is more of a girl’s version (I’m biased since I have twin daughters), but I can envision dinosaurs, happy monsters or superheros for boys.

I made 10 Lexan scenes (because I couldn’t decide!), though the Nightlight only holds 6 at a time (dealer’s choice!)

INGREDIENTS (all stuff I had laying around):

  • 3/4” Walnut
  • 3/4” Maple
  • Lexan (.09” thick)
  • LED light strip (2” long; 3 LEDs)
  • Shapeoko Mechanical Proximity Switch (left over from an upgrade. I’m a pack rat and this project reinforces why!)
  • 30mm Bearing
  • 1/4” Rare Earth Magnets
  • 3/8” nut and bolt
  • 9VDC “Wall Wort” Power Supply

Nightlight Wood Parts.c2d (997.3 KB)
Nightlight Acrylic Cutouts.c2d (529.7 KB)
10 c2d (483.8 KB)


Cut wedges out of contrasting woods (I chose Walnut and Maple)…

Don’t Worry about the chewed-up tips at the center - we’ll fix that with a decortive plug in a bit…

Machine the bottom side of the top half…

Now for that decorative plug on the top, made out of cherry…

Machine the top side of the bottom half…

Here are the guts with all the parts installed…

Testing the proximity switch…

A bottom view showing how the scalloped lip activates the proximity switch…

Now for the Lexan parts…

Closeups of each illuminated scene…

And the final result…


  • I made two tops just in case. Good thing, because the first one was misaligned by 30 degrees (basically it turned “on” when it should’ve turned “off” and vice versa. Solution: Rotate the misaligned scalloped lip 30 degrees and make the part again!
  • Each one of the 10 SVG “scenes” is a separate c2d file. I diamond-dragged each image sequentially in a 5 by 2 grid. Then I cut them all out in one operation.
  • For diamond drag edge-lit images, “less is better”. I tried filling them in with cross-hatching, but they look a lot better if you just drag the contour and skip the cross-hatching.

This was a fun project involving wood, plastic, electrical elements, mechanical elements, photography and some head-scratching design work. And 100% “free” with stuff I had laying around. Oh, and made on my Shapeoko XL that I’ve had for about 11 months. Thanks for inspiring me to participate.!


Plant? Lamp? Nah, its a Plamp. (aka LED planter)

These LED planters were something I wanted to make years ago but just never got around to, this months theme was the perfect excuse to try and finally make them. Theyre made up of 5 stained pine rings, a bent and sanded sheet of acrylic, a 3d printed pot and some sweet individually adressable LEDs. They also house real plants and can be mounted to the wall!

They were an absolute pain in the butt to pull off and I honestly didnt think I was gonna meet the deadline for the contest, but I was able to rush a few things and get them finalized today.

F360 link:

I dont have enough time to write a fully detailed build report today but Ill post all the pics of the build process and try to add a few comments.

These things seriously kick butt and the LEDs look even better in person.

The LEDs are ws2812b individually addressable 5v LEDs, which means each pixel operates independantly of all the others. This allows for some sweet multicolor effects which you can see in the below video:

I designed them from scratch in fusion 360 and also did all the CAM in fusion 360. Just like last months contest I was able to use the new manufacturing model feature and the arrange tool to easily arange all the components to be cut with the shapeoko.

I started the build by cutting the pine rings and spacers that would eventually be glued together to makeup the wooden frame. I used dowel pins and multiple side machining to add a nice chamfer to both sides of the ring. Using multiple sided machining added a lot of time to the process but I’m fairly happy with the results, the chamfers add a lot of depth and detail to the rings.

Had a mini causualty when I accidentally ran through a clamp screw

Next up was sanding and staining for the rings.

Now its time to move on to the acrylic.I started by sanding the .093" sheet to give it a frosty matte finish. This will difuse the lights from the LEDs and make it so you cant distinguish individual pixels.

After that was cutting the acrylic, which was extremely easy on the shapeoko

Then I heated and bended the cut acrylic using a custom fixture I 3d printed out of PLA. The PLA almost couldnt stand the heat and started to warp but it was able to get the job done for the two sheets.

I ended up using some of the extra rings I made in order to finish up the bending and keep the acrylic at the perfect roundness.

You can see here how the PLA was starting to get soft. If I do this again I’ll use ABS or nylon.

What happens when youre too forceful and dont apply enough heat.

Now its time to glue it all together. I used wood glue for the wood and super glue to hold the acrylic to the bottom. The rounded acrylic fit fine with just a press fit. I also used some scraped wood blocks as spaces to make sure the rings stayed parallel.

The final part was 3D printing the pot to actually hold the plant. I designed this part to have grooves to make it easy to hold the LEDs and have them line up with the wooden rings. The LEDs arent actually visable in the final design, theyre all hidden behind the wooden rings in order to hide the individual pixels and create a more seamless design. If you want to replicate this without a 3d printer you could just use a large PVC pipe.

Soldering these lights was a pain in the butt.

I ended up using hot glue to glue the lights into the grooves of the 3d printed pot.

The pot fit snug into the wooden body and all I had left to do was buy a plant and plug it in!

They even look good with the lights off!


Very nice.

Bear Down! :wink: (from a UofA alum.)


Thank you! I’m a “house divided” - one daughter went to Arizona State and the other to University of Arizona.

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Silly me was worried, but not anymore!
Awesome, awesome entries…

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Walnut Lamp!

I designed this geometric / mid-century modern lamp, which turned out to be quite the challenge to mill.
I have wanted to make a solid shade like this for a while now, so here we go…

This entire project could be categorized as figure it out as you go. I glued up this block before I fully knew where I was going, so I had a little more stock material than I needed. Lots of wood Chips!

First side was the inside of the shade. I added some slots that would latter act as a way to attach the shade to the vertical and give me a place to route the cord. After milling the first side I realized I left no material to fixture after the flip. :man_facepalming: So I milled a quick pocket in some scrap wood to locate it on the machine and hold it in place along with some double stick tape.

Second Side:

The double stick didn’t quite hold through the roughing so in finished the flat parts and then clamped them down with some more scrap wood.
For the Base I cut 2 slotted pieces and glued the together. I wasn’t totally happy with what was basically two crossing rectangles so I put it back on to add a curved feature to the top, that may later hold a tray for keys and coins.
The vertical was next, a quick rectangle contour with drilled holes to attach the base and the shade (forgot to get a picture ). Then glue and clamp with locating help from the holes that where drilled/ milled and some dowels.

Lots of hand sanding then voila:

Would love some suggestions for better ways to handle the flip. there are few design changes I would make, so I might try this again.

Here is the CAD file.Walnut Lamp.stl (162.7 KB)
cut rocket:

Thanks for the challenge, and for checking out my project!


There is this Philips Hue Go lamp… grafik
… which I find nice to wake me up in the morning, but otherwise I find its feasibility somewhat limited. That’s because you put it on the floor/table/whatever and it lights from the bottom up, blinding you or not effectively lighting the room.

So thanks to this challenge I came up with the idea to extend its field of use:

Final product

  1. Use it as a down-facing lamp

  2. Use it as an up-facing lamp

  3. Use it as a lantern (up- and down-facing)

The stand without the actual lamp looks like this:

It has a foot/stand and a ring hanging onto that.

You then put the Hue Go into either of the cylinder parts (
which can be assembled via magnets)

and snap the other part into the ring on the stand. So by choosing to snap either one of the cylinder parts into the ring, you can have the opening of the cylinder at the top or at the bottom.

So far the Hue Go can be used with its battery only. I’ll have to figure a discreet way to attach the power supply.

The cylinder where the lamp goes in is assembled from three rings:

The small circles on the edges of the two lower rings are the pockets that hold the magnets, that allow to oben the cylinder and access the Hue Go.
The noses on the upper two rings will be used to snap the cylinder to the ring on the lamp’s arm.

The upper two rings get glued together and the third ring will be attached via magnets.

The foot of the lamp has a C-shape and here you see the additional ring where the cylinder can snap into.

Finally there is the arm of the lamp and a small piece that helps to hang the cylinder onto the arm.

Everything was cut from 26.5mm oak with a 6mm end-mill. Only the pocket in the foot part was cut with a 3mm end-mill and the foot got a 90°-v-carved edge.

The fitting of the arm and the foot did have a little too much play, even though I designed the fitting parts with no extra space. What’s you guys’ approach when designing parts that should fit tight? I wouldn’t deny the possibility that my machine’s steps are not properly calibrated :zipper_mouth_face:

arm.c2d (382.1 KB) cylinder.c2d (1.7 MB) foot.c2d (1.7 MB)


Halloween Yard Lamp !
Pretty simple design for our Daughter. She does serious Halloween Yard Art.


Designed it all in Carbide Create and used Carbide Motion to cut.

Started off with basic black plastic sheet, 1/4 inch thick


This stuff is a mess to cut !!! Time to buy a vacuum system.


But using pocket cuts with as small as 1/16th in, got some good details and sharp edges.


Prepped the back with blue tape and filled in the sign with clear resin.

Built a simple plywood box and routed out 1X pine strips to let the sign sit in a recessed frame.


Final Assembly after a dark walnut stain on the outside
Set multi-colored led lights around the inside edge and button magnets in each corner to hold snug in the frame. Can’t upload a movie so here is a small sample:

IMG_0593 IMG_0596 IMG_0597

Design and cut files
Happy Halloween 2.c2d (1.3 MB) Halloween (1.6 MB)

and Cutrocket page

Be safe out there everyone!


I’ve been wanting to make a lighthouse nightlight for some time now. Thanks to the motivation of Carbide 3D and @Julien, I’ve finally managed it!

I bought a couple of variations of inexpensive nightlights from the big box home improvement stores. In this case $2:

Yep, it’s full of Voltaic Voodoo in there. However, this saved me from gathering parts I don’t understand from several different sources.

I designed and generated all of the toolpaths with Vectric Aspire. Just haven’t gotten a handle on Carbide Create Pro or Fusion 360, yet. All of the cutting was done with Carbide Motion This is my artwork, so all are welcome to use as they see fit.

LighthouseNight Light.dxf (100.1 KB)
I did modify it somewhat into the DXF image for this project hoping to get the windows to work out with a 1/8" end mill, which I’m pleased with.

Here’s the block of wood (eucalyptus) ready for the first 3D roughing cut:

And after the 3D rough Cut using a 1/4" Carbide 3 flute end mill, 0.010 DOC, 40 IPM feed, 30 IPM plunge, and 12,000 router:

And the light cutouts using a 1/8" end mill. 0.030 DOC, 15 IPM feed 30 IPM plunge and 12,000 RPM router speed:

Ready for the epoxy fill. Had to build cofferdams on each side of the top windows to contain the epoxy. I DO NOT recommend pouring epoxy while on the spoil board, but I had finish cuts to make before flipping to machining the back side. If you do the same make sure you cover everything and block any paths the epoxy might follow.

I filled these with epoxy with a very little bit of metallic blue art paint:

Here’s the first finish pass using a Carbide 3D 1/4" ball nose, 45 IPM feed, 30 IPM plunge, 10,000 router speed. I slowed it down some to prevent melting the epoxy. Aspire sets the depth of cut automatically, about .008 as it turns out.

And after the second pass with the cutting direction 90 degrees to the first finish cut. This ended up being a very nice texture that I did not sand out.

I did make a profile cut on each side to make sure that the router collar wouldn’t hit the edges.

Forgot to take a picture of the flip jig holes which in this case were four 0.26 1" deep holes using a 1/8" end mill. I have aluminum bar that is 0.257 that have been cut to 7/8" and this fits in very tightly. Aspire has a nice feature, as I’m sure CC Pro and Fusion have, to copy these holes, flip to the backside in the project and paste them. Created a toolpath and cut matching holes into the spoilboard, flipped the stock and fastened it down and made the center cutouts and the initial profile cut to verify that the alignment was good with side one. Very pleased with the resulting thickness of the leftover stock after these cuts. I’m sure most of you will notice the profile cut that looks like it came all the way through from the side one. I forgot to check the bit tightness and it started going through the spoilboard. Hit stop in time that no harm was done, but make and follow your checklist, D’OH!:

Here’s a look after the final cutout. Couldn’t help myself and put a flashlight behind to see how it might look, WOO-HOO!:

Here’s the modified nightlight guts and the back of the lighthouse. I applied metallic foil tape to the back and inside to reflect as much light as possible. The green wire are for the photocell which I drilled a hole for in the bottom:

Here’s the final fitting before drilling screw holes to fasten the back on:

And here is the old and new nightlights together:

A couple of additional glamor shots now that it’s dark:

Looks crooked in that shot, but it’s not really.
And a close up:

Here’s the zipped Aspire file:
Per @Julien suggestion, here’s a link to the file on Google Drive:
And the Cutrocket link:
There are so many fantastic projects here this go around, thanks for organizing these contests @Julien and Carbide 3D for supporting them, what a great time!
I was able to save the lighthouse as an STL file, hopefully this will be helpful to those with CAD programs other than Aspire.
Lighthouse Nightlight.stl (2.1 MB)


Great finish (it’s becoming a thing!), it’s now time for voting.


Incredible result. That wood is freaking gorgeous and goes so well with the epoxy. The lighthouse is also so fitting for the purpose!

Had to chuckle at your reference to “the checklist” when the bit slipped. I’ve had moments like that where I’m just so perplexed as to how I could forget something like that, but in the hurry and excitement to get rocking, I hand tightened the bit, got right to zeroing or hold down work, final file changes… then ready, set, fail! Glad it wasn’t catastrophic and amazing result!


Greetings John,
Thank you! I have to admit though, it’s a humbling experience being among what I consider the giants of design and execution on this forum!

Your “ready, set, fail!” comment has given me another idea to pursue, thank you for that as well!


I second that! I’ve not done one of these contests before and only followed a few here and there. My project was quite small compared to the beast mode output of others (way bigger pieces of wood, more operations, bigger assemblies, more design). Really amazing to see what was cranked out in ~3 weeks of free time :slight_smile: