Blossoming Lamp

by emmett, published

Blossoming Lamp by emmett Dec 15, 2012

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For me, what makes 3D printing so awesome is not just that you can make things yourself that you would have otherwise bought, but that you can make things that couldn't be made any other way. For this reason, I've been captivated by captured joints, where moving parts are printed together such that no assembly is required.

This lampshade consists of 14 interlocking pieces printed at once. When you pull up on the top, the blossom opens, allowing more light out. See the video here: http://youtu.be/blEgWG9V9sA

This lamp is my entry into ProtoParadigm's Winter Wonderland Contest, since when I'm struggling through a long, dark, Northwest winter, what I need is light and a reminder that the blossoms of spring will eventually arrive. I was inspired by http://www.mgxbymaterialise.com/limited-editions/mgxmodel/detail/detail/71, but I wanted to make a simpler, more organic model that wouldn't require a powder printer.


Choose one of the lampshades; the black one is Lamp_Opaque and the green one is Lamp_Translucent, which has a thin, solid inner surface instead of the grillwork, to act as a light diffuser when using translucent plastic.

Print the lampshade and the stand. I sliced them with Slic3r, which worked great. Make sure you have good retraction. I printed everything you see on my Replicator 1 in PLA at 120 mm/s using the Sailfish firmware. I print on unheated blue painters tape, which kept everything well adhered to the build platform.

When the lampshade is finished printing, remove it from the platform and carefully push up on the bottom center parts while pulling down on the outer ring. You may need to slice a few strings between the petals to allow them to separate. Once you get it open all the way, exercise it a few times and cut out any remaining strings. It should move quite freely.

The stand is made to accept a standard hollow, threaded rod that lamps are often mounted with (at least in the US). You just need to find a small lamp socket and cord to attach. I used a standard candelabra socket and an LED bulb. You can use anything, so long as it's less than 34mm in diameter. I recommend LEDs, since they are low power and so won't soften the plastic. However, small LED bulbs are strangely hard to find. Of course, you could always make your own.

Once you install the bulb, slip the shade down over it and press it into the stand (it's just a conical press-fit). This way you can pry the shade back off to change the bulb.

The bottom of the stand is solid so that you can pour sand in if you're worried about it tipping over. The holes in the stand are designed to encourage cooling airflow past the bulb. I'm also trying something new: I signed my name to the bottom of the stand. When my dad was a potter, he always stamped his name on the bottom of his pots, so I thought I would try the same thing. I'm interested to hear if any of you have comments on this method of attribution.

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Looking for a little help on this print. I printed the solid top and it came out fine except the flower won't open. I think it is fused at the bottom which is causing the issue. I am trying to use an Exact-o knife to cut through and free up the joints.

In the attached image (bottom of the flower) I have been opening up the spaces indicated by the black lines. Is that correct? DO I also need to fix the spaces indicated by the green lines. Any other ideas to get this to open?https://www.dropbox.com/s/bh6553zvwv34unx/IMG_1162B.jpg?dl=0

Thank for the excellent design and thanks in advance for helping me out.

Did you ever get it to open? I have the same issue.

I am having the same issue as well. Using an exacto to open the bottom, and work gloves to pull and try to break the fused parts together, but no luck. Did either of you get this to work?

I want to make things look like this.so, Can I use this sketch?

...inferior piece just higher.........................

Following up from the post in September, for this particular project the issue ended up getting addressed by doubling the thickness of both petal1 and petal2, which also aided with having scaled down the model to 80% of the original size. Ultimately the issue was perhaps as much related to under-extrusion as any rendering bug (many thanks for the patch however naruf!).

In any case, the completed Remix is now available here:

We've added an embedded Arduino microcontroller, servo motor, and RGB LED to emmett's original design.

Puzzlebox Bloom
Dec 2, 2014 - Modified Dec 2, 2014

First, emmett, great work :D

I tweaked a little the OpenSCAD file to remove the line that puzzlebox_io commented.
line 260: translate ((R + R / 2-0.08) / sqrt (2) [1,1]) circle (r = R / 2);
line 261: translate ((R + R / 2-0.08) / sqrt (2)
[1, -1]) circle (r = R / 2);

Also, I changed the petal_shape module to remove a small step that appeared on the display.
line 246: color ("red") translate (1.9985 R [cos (theta) sin (theta)]) circle (r = R);
line 247: color ("orange") translate (1.9985 R [- cos (theta) sin (theta)]) circle (r = R);
line 248: color ("green") translate (1.9985 R [cos (theta) - sin (theta)]) circle (r = R);
line 249: color ("blue") translate (1.9985 R [- cos (theta) - sin (theta)]) circle (r = R);

I have not yet printed it, but at least in the visualization, errors are not displayed.


PS: This values are for a $fa=4.5, for others $fa values, lines appears in visualization.

Sep 19, 2014 - Modified Sep 19, 2014

First off, congratulations Emmett on the beautiful design and ingenious blending of mathematics, engineering and art!

I did however have a question.

While working with the OpenSCAD source file, I think I spotted what appears to be a bug. At first I thought it to be a rendering issue on the part of OpenSCAD, but now I am finding the problem reflected in my prints. Specifically, it seems like a single-layer "slice" is dissecting or otherwise somehow missing around the top fifth of the model. It is visible both in the "petal2" module as well as the "lamp" module (if the line inside the for loop which generates the petal2's is commented out). Here are screenshots from OpenSCAD which highlight the issue:

petal2: http://bit.ly/1mmCxrc

lamp: http://bit.ly/1qiWKsM

And here is a photo of a print which begins to exhibit a degradation in output at the exact same location: http://bit.ly/1o9yIB3

For reference the print was performed using PLA, with the STL generated by OpenSCAD 2014.03 scaled down to 0.8 using Cura 14.07 on an Ultimaker 2. It seems as though a single layer is missing, and from that point on the printer is extruding one layer too high (instead of directly on top of the last layer). On this print the interior lamp portion itself actually failed and disintegrated at this same position.

The model seems to print okay at full scale on a MakerBot Replicator 2. But at a smaller scale where there is less material to support each subsequent layer the problem becomes more noticeable. I could see the same seam in the model appearing when rendered by Cura with the original STL downloaded from Thingiverse, so I don't believe it is unique to my build of OpenSCAD. Granted if there actually was a single layer missing OpenSCAD wouldn't be able to export the STL file, but I hope the description helps to clarify what I am seeing.

Is there any reason you can think of why this might be happening at this specific location, across multiple OpenSCAD modules?

Thanks again for this and your many wonderful efforts!

After a few test pieces, just printing the first 25 mm I was able to adjust the settings to make the whole lamp work perfectly. I did make mine bigger, 120%, because there was now way my LED lamp would fit otherwise. The lamp shade took 24 hrs & the base took another 15 hrs. I am very happy with the results, and will post pictures when the final job is done. What I mean with that is, The lamp is going to have some cool electronics, that will be controlled by my iPhone that will open up the leaves and dim the lamp up and down via a light sensitive photo cell. Emmet,.... you made a lot of work for me, but I thank you. I think this will be one of my coolest pieces to date.

For the life of me, I can't get this piece to slice correctly. I am using simplfy 3D and a highly modified "LeapFrog". This is NOT my first print, and I beleave I have a fare handle on the software. No matter what I do, I get a filled in bottom area, and one near the top as well.
I would love to print this, any help or suggestions ?

Thanks for responding. I found the problem with the filled in sections. As it turns out there is a bug in the Simplfy 3d slicer. When I chose a new process, than the fill went away as it should. BUT, no matter how I try to adjust the slicer, it seems to make the bottom too fused together.There seems to be plenty of space between the rings and stems, but not one the bottom. I am going to try and make a thinner base layer and test that. I did try and slice it with Slic3r, but it just crashes after an hour or so. By hook or crook, I will get this thing printed. Any other suggestions? I am slicing it on a windows 7 platform.

Ah yes, my designs are often known as the bane of all slicers. It works with Makerware, and you might try Slic3r. If you ask Leapfrog to make a driver for windows 8.1, they can use our slicer, which I'm helping to write. I guarantee you that one will print all my designs well. I can tell you from experience that writing a reliable slicer is a very tricky math problem.

Won't it melt?

Jpuer - in reply to zpj

That's why you use an LED bulb. They put off much less heat.

="thingiverse-09573cbfaad9678f431731e9c2087d8b:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-09573cbfaad9678f431731e9c2087d8b/Jpuer I used a hot air gun at about 120° to soften the top. That way I was able to easily push a non fitting bulb inside the lamp :)

Thanks!! Worked great :) Just posted my make.

I'm having a really difficult time finding an LED candelabra bulb that fits through the base...Any advice?

Yes, Just print it at 120% like I did. It works and looks great. Lots of room for the bulb top or bottom

@thingiverse-09573cbfaad9678f431731e9c2087d8b I used a hot air gun at
about 120° to soften the top. That way I was able to easily push a non
fitting bulb inside the lamp :)

I'm new to this set up but with the makerware I had a problem with the translucent one. The inside layer was just strings.... Should I set up the shell or layer height to something specific? Took me 4.5 hours to build the translucent part.

This is a really great print to show off what the machines can do. My print came out looking great (on a Rep2 with makerware and default settings), but it was stuck in lots of places. Took an hour or so to work a tiny screwdriver into all the crevices and crack them apart. After I got it unfolded the first time, and worked it back and forth a bit, it now opens and closes smoothly.

Thank you! Your software is awesome; I use it whenever I need to adjust something sculptural before importing it to OpenSCAD. You've made a much more intuitive interface than any of the other meshing programs I've come across.

Having only a single Extruder Rep2, I was wondering whether anyone has experimented with making the various parts separately in different colors and assembling them? Perhaps at different amounts of infill, perhaps higher on the base ring and lower on the leaves.... Any Thoughts?

It wasn't designed to assemble or disassemble, so that will be difficult unless you modify it. Infill has very little effect (most of the strength comes from the shells), so I doubt you'd gain much by adjusting it.

Would you be willing to remix this beautiful piece in to a dual extrudable part? petals separate from base and lamp.

All the dualstrusion I've seen leaves too much ooze, which I think would fuse everything together. However, if you want it as separate STLs, you can quite easily adjust the OpenSCAD code to comment out certain parts of the assembly.

How Do You that . I Usually Work In SoldWorks Or Inventor. I Have Open Source Scad.

Would you mind, sharing the leafs as single STL files. I printed the lamp but 4 leafs came out pretty bad. The rest of the print is ok. I would only need to exchange these leafs, which should be possible. I hope, they are printable individually. THX

There are several free programs that can break out individual pieces of an STL (I think slic3r does). I don't know how you'll reassemble it though.

anyone successfully get the SCAD file to render? It crashes a moment after starting the process for me. I'll try different boxes, but was just curious if this might be a known issue.

Slic3r keeps failing when setting this up. What's your infill and any other specification that'd be helpful to know! Thanks!!

I used Slic3r 0.9.7, 0.27mm thinkness, 0.4mm width, 10% infill. Nothing fancy.

This almost exactly looks and acts like the "maguar" (evil alien flowers) in the anime Figure 17.

I cant seem to print this clearly the different pieces seem to bond. The closest Ive gotten is with abs. After switching to pla im getting lots of shifts in my x axis even when printing more slowly. Does any one have sucessful settings they'd like to publish

With a Rep2 in PLA, Sliced by Makerware, Med resolution, 10% Infill, 1 Shell, .12mm layers.

filament diameter: safe to adjust to a higher value than actual filament diameter?

I was able to do a successful print with PLA (love playing with the mechanism), but i got a lot of little messy spindly "hairs". and thin patches...

Ive been using skienforge 50, with sailfish. I was curious what settings/slciers/whatevs others have used with more success (i am not use to the PLA nonsense)?

How much did you guys have to simplify the model in order to get it to slice? I'm using slic3r 0.9.7 and simplifying a lot with Meshlab, but slic3r is still having trouble slicing it.

Wow, what a fabulous design, can't make to make one as a replacement for a recently broken lamp.

Brilliantly executed design! Even more so that it is a SCAD model. Since this was so directly inspired by Patrick Jouin's famous 3D printed Bloom Lamp from the Materialise MGX collection, it would be polite to credit his input. That you created and shared this is wonderful, but for us to focus entirely on the replica without mentioning the person who created the idea gives be a bad feeling.

Would you mind uploading your Slic3r configuration file (.ini)?

Epic Design :) I hope to print one after getting home from Christmas vacation

how long did it take to slice with slic3r it looks like ages here

this is really a awesome thingy, im slicng it right now, but it looks like it will take ages. How long did it take for you guys? slic3r 0.9.7

wow really impressive. for someone thats just getting in this is exactly what i wanted to see. love the work

Will be one of my next print, for sure.
Great !

Wonderful model, and at least someone who's on flattr :)

I know this is a stupid question, but has anyone tried scaling down and printing on a TOM? I suspect it would be a miserable failure on my TOM, but it's such a beautiful design, I'm tempted to try...

Have you tried? I put it in my ToM's RepG, scaled to fit, and then went to look at the gcode in Pleasant3D. It looks like it will be quite a test as it makes a single flat loop out of each leaf, and I suspect that the free space between the interlocking sections in the base will not be sufficient now that it is scaled to about 70% of the original size (that is, scaling a leaf down might not be that bad but scaling down the safe distance between parts might not be).

After fixing my extruder, I printed this translucent green version, which only took 4 and a half hours (it's a bit quicker than the opaque version). My first layer was too squished, which fused all the pieces together, however it was only the first layer that was a problem. After a little bit of exacto knife work and pushing hard on the center pieces, it now moves just fine.

Translucent green looks really cool, where do you get translucent filament?

Translucent PLA is very common (translucent ABS doesn't exist, as far as I know). I got mine from ProtoParadigm.

Thanks for the info. I'll have to try it out! I was thinking I could not print PLA until I got temperature control on my heated bed, because it's fixed at around 116c now, but I see from your description here you used just blue painters tape on a non heated bed... sounds easy enough. I hear PLA is much better about warping than ABS

What do you mean "until I got temperature control on my heated bed"? If you can turn heat on at all, you should be able to set its temperature. What printer and software are you using? In GCODE you should see something like M190 S110, which would set the heated bed to 110 degrees, and if you change 110 to, say, 50, that should make PLA happy. Lots of people are printing PLA on an unheated print bed, but I've had much better luck printing on 40-50 degree heated bed than unheated.

I have an airwolf 3d printer, my heated bed is not software controlled, it's just wired to a fixed 12v power supply. I'm using gen 6 electronics, and that does not support heated bed, I'll have to upgrade to a gen 6 deluxe if I want software heated bed. I'm using repetier host and firmware, and that will support a heated bed if I I upgrade the electronics. I could also put an independent temperature control on the bed... I just have to get a round to it. I may just get some PLA and try it non-heated.

Makes sense. Good luck with the PLA. It's pretty awesome (when it works) not waiting for the print bed to heat up.

I'm attempting to build one with cherry laywood filament (http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/laywood-filaments-lets-you-3d-print-with-wood-20120921/)http://www.geek.com/articles/g.... It should make a nice gift for my friend who just bought a new house. :D

I got it to print with ABS and only 2 of the top petals had pieces fail. I have the same problem with the bottom being fused together. Emmet, could you post a picture of the underside of the lamp opaque? I'm trying to figure out where I need to remove material to make it foldable. Thanks!

Sexy-lovely, as usual. Had a question or two:

I was looking at your scad code, which is always enlightening (though i think i need to go redo classes in trig/geometry to understand it), but it seems to make references to "WriteScad" folder which isn't included. Is there a place to grab that?

Is there a particular reason to use PLA? I have a fear that a hotter bulb will warp or melt PLA (plus i just have more colors in ABS).

Write.scad is the ancestor of this thing (above). I've switched to PLA from ABS because it doesn't warp like crazy, plus it doesn't stink up the house. I'd love to see if you can print it with ABS.

I'm glad you enjoy my scad. In case anyone was wondering what trig could possibly be useful for, my answer is art.

To elaborate, write.scad is a popular library that makes it easy to print text from OpenSCAD. it's only used in this model to put the creator's name on the bottom of the model, so it'll print without it, but it's cool to include the name. :-)

Printed in black ABS. 20% fill, 120mm/s. top and bottom took about 18 hours each. Destroyed the kapton getting the bottom off - so much surface area in contact with the platform! Top was easier (the opaque file) to get off, only a little kapton scuffs. The thing looks beautiful! But, the bottom of the petals seem to be fused together and won't open. Trying some careful work with a x-acto knife, but no luck yet.

Yeah, this is a tricky print. ABS has a tendency to warp, so that could be part of the problem. Also, you need aggressive retraction, because any little strings will start to fuse the pieces. I use 0.75mm retraction for PLA.

Awesome!And what is the infill?I also want to print one:)

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but RepG says the lamp is too big to build.

Same here, but it worked fine. It looks like it's extremely close.

Hmm, it does pretty much max out the height on a Rep1. You could either tweak the machines.xml file or scale the object to 99% or something. I use Repetier-host now, and only use RepG to convert Gcode to s3g.

 It fit at .9 scale, but now I just had the thought that the rod I bought might not fit. I'd better check out Repetier first!

I have the same issue with RepG complaining about size.  Once you print yours at 0.9 can you reply and say if the rod fit?  I'd love to know before I print mine.

 That's good to know. Maybe my .9 scale will work. Unfortunately I awoke this morning to the extruder moving at the top, and the part at the bottom, and a big knot in the spool of plastic :-(

I'm ordering some PLA now.  I've never bought plastic for a specific print before.  Awesome design. Even more impressive in scad.

This begs for a switch that will shut the light when closed an open it when opened.

This is awesome.

The source is missing this, for the text in OpenSCAD:


That's the ancestor of this thing (above).

Emmett, that's absolutely amazing!

It took an hour to slice the translucent shade using ReplicatorG, but I'm now running a print right now in silver. (it would be intentionally dim, as I'm hoping to keep it lit on my desk at work)

are you suppose to print with support?

No, the whole point is that no support is required. There aren't any steep overhangs.

It prints beautifully without support. Very nice!

 I can't wait to see!

The first one was printed at a bit too high a temperature and the arms all stuck together. So the overlapping leaves look amazing, and it all printed wonderfully with no support, but doesn't unfold. So it's a beautiful clear PLA artichoke. I'm still going to use it as a lamp. :-)

Printing a second one at lower temp now, so hopefully I'll have something to show tomorrow.

Did you ever have any luck with that? I just printed one and there is no space at all between the joints at the bottom. :-(

What version of Slic3r did you use? I am no getting a connection between the stem and the leaves: Slic3r does a perimeter around the stem and then goes back and attaches the leaves, but it ends up leaving a space between, causing it to break off.

I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I'm using the latest Slic3r, 0.9.7.

That is odd. I use 0.4mm as my extrusion width; it looks like you might be using more, and perhaps that's the problem. Still, you should probably submit it as a bug report.

Im thinking add an arduino and a servo, have this sucker open and close in time with the sun :D

Was not able to resist this idea, and I really like the outcome:

Really an inspiring 3D model, thanks a lot!

Very cool! Would you mind sharing your Arduino sketch and details on your design?

No prob, the Arduino Sketch is rather simple, just smoothing the input of a light sensor to the output of Servo and LEDs.

Please, find the sketch with some documentation here:

It was a rather quick project, thus the documentation is scarce, but it works.

Awh, beat me to it. Looks sweet dude! like many of my projects it gets drawn up on the nearest sheet of scrap paper and filed away. Great work!

that is so friggin cool. nice work on the automation and the great video.

 Awesome, looking forward to it!

LOL - you are simply going to make me build a printer with a taller build volume than the Prusa I've got now!

Yeah, build a Rostock; then you could make a huge one.

Holy crap, I wish I could "Like it" 20 times!

This is amazing! I'm going to try to print the 'opaque' one at 210 mm/s using clear PLA, to see how it comes out. Should be very Xmass-y!

laird - in reply to laird

I've tried twice and both times the base arms stuck together. I've re-rendered with a larger gap between arms (0.6mm instead of 0.4mm) and will give it another shot.

Good job! How come this isn't featured?

It would seem that brilliant and progressive work is par for the course for you. So amazing!

As far as the attribution name stamp I think the name on the bottom is a good way to go. I know Dizingof did the same thing on at least one of his submissions.