I had come to the point with my Bedside light where I needed to drill the central hole in the acrylic to align all the layers. I was nervous about this stage because if it went wrong the whole effect of the light would be lost as the layers would be out of alignment, so I was very careful. My method was to drill the first hole in the top layer in the centre, and then put a small strip of masking tape below that layer making sure the shapes of the two layers were aligned perfectly with each other, and then mark the masking tape with the tip of the drill bit rather than a pen so the mark would be in the centre of the hole. I then drilled the next hole. I used a pillar drill to ensure the holes that I drilled were exactly vertical. This method took a long time but was very effect and thankfully the layers all lined up really nicely.
Before cutting the base to my bedside light, I decided it would be a good idea to test out the idea of possibly cutting a additional shape into the wood to add an extra layer to the light. So I got a bit of scrap and cut another shape out, and then put the acrylic layers on top to see what it would look like. I didn’t really like the effect and found that it added just a bit much to the light and decided it was unnecessary when I compared to a test that I did with another bit of scrap where the shape was the same as the bottom layer. So I went about cutting the shape on the bandsaw which took a fair bit of time due to all the corners and edges, but the Teak wood cut really nicely.
I was then faced with the task of cutting the shape out of the base for the LED strip to fit into. I also wanted to test this out on my scrap piece first because I was unsure about how it might look and didn’t want to make any mistakes ruining my base. I chiseled out the groove in the shape that I wanted and fitted the LED strip in. Ideally I wanted the LED to lie flat but, unless I was to cut it the led stip would only lie on it side and bend round the shape. The effect of the LED strip under the layers was disappointing. The LEDs were simply to bright and you completely lost the effect of the layers and the images they created when combined together. I needed a much more diffused light.
I decided to focus my attention onto my hanging light for a bit. I was still very unsure of how I was going to light my hanging light. I thought I might be able to used my LED strip, curling it up and fitting it inside a central frosted acrylic tube in the hope it would diffuse the light out onto the layers. I tested this out but once again the LED strip was simply too bright and the light wouldnt diffuse properly in the tube so you actually could see the ugly LED strip which was very unsatisfying. After a few more test I found that the best way to get a solid tube of light which would diffuse out onto the layers was to light and frost a acrylic rod from the top. The rod would carry the light down through itself making a very nice gradient lighting effect. The layers picked up the light really well on their edges as well. I figured the best solution was to get a very bright single LED, much like the ones put on most modern smartphones and stick it to the top of the light. It was so small it could easily be concealed if needed, even though it wasnt really needed. So I frosted the central tube running trough layers of the hanging light, joined the layer with Tensol 12 together with some wooden packs as spaces and wired up a single LED light to a 3W mains adapter and put one at the top and one at the bottom. I ran the cable for the LED at the bottom of the light through the layers of the light just like the copper would later on when I threaded it through the drilled holes. I also frosted up the edges of the light so the edges of the layers would pick up the light as well. The overall effect was very pleasing, and I was happy with the solution. All I need to do now is to start threading and fit the proper cabling.
I realised I could use my solution light the hanging light for my bedside light as well. If I frosted the central rod, and lit it from the bottom the light would fifes out into the layers in a similar way to the hanging light. It worked a treat, and saved me a lot of time as all I needed to do was drill a small hole in the bottom of the base of the light for the LED to sit in to light the rod from below and route a groove for the cable to come out of the bottom. I am very pleased with how the two lights are shaping up and I’m really glad I did so many tests with the lights instead of just going going ahead with my original plans only to discover that it didn’t work.