Design of the Week: UFO Abduction Lamp
This week’s selection is the fanciful UFO Abduction Lamp by Thingiverse contributor Wa Fa.
Many of Fa’s contributions to Thingiverse are of the science fiction variety, including robots, movie replications and, of course, flying saucers. This particular 3D model falls directly into that category.
The model depicts the classic UFO scenario of a cow being “taken” by the “aliens” for, presumably, experimentation.
It’s a bit of a project, however, as there are eight 3D printed parts to produce, including the cow. But more than the 3D printing, there are electronically controlled lights to install. These require a small computer to manage the signals to the lights. In fact there are quite a number of non-3D printed parts to this project:
Glass cylinder with both ends open about 80mm in width
27x blue LEDs
3x white LEDs
30x 100 ohm resistors
4x 2k ohm resistors
74HC595 shift register
5M ohm potentiometer
5V power supply
Fortunately, an electronic schematic is provided by the designer, but with a carefully worded disclaimer that it is still being finalized. It seems there are many different ways to implement the lighting on this project, as evidenced by the lengthy technical comments on the model’s Thingiverse page. Some commenters suggest using alternative LED solutions and controllers, so I’d suggest having a close read through there before embarking on this project.
One tricky bit might be obtaining the 80mm diameter glass cylinder, as you can’t always get glass in the desired sizing. However, it seems that the design will accommodate slightly different diameters.
One commenter suggested there should be a way to levitate the cow, making the appearance much more dramatic. That may actually be possible through the use of hidden, powerful magnets. Or very thin wires, perhaps.
Another possible modification would be to replace the cow with other objects to be abducted by the UFO. One idea could be to capture a 3D scan of a friend, print them, and place it in the glass cylinder. That would make for a very interesting gift!
Once more we see a fantastic design concept whose parts together make for more than just a static sculpture. A quick look at this project immediately tells a story and generates further questions.