Ideas, Portfolio

Growing chandeliers

What my workspace really needed

A couple years ago when I was designing some double helix light fixtures (I realize that’s another post I need to write) I stumbled across Grand Brass, the McMaster-Carr of lamp parts. Until that point I didn’t realize that traditional lamps, sconces, chandeliers, are built from standardized modular parts. The backbone of these builds is made of hollow threaded pipe available in 1/2 inch increments. It looks like they’ve expanded their FAQs to cover the whys of this particular threading, to the anatomy of a sconce, and many other tips like fishing wires with a pull chain.

Ready to assemble

Looking at all the parts I had dreams of making my own branching light but then I discovered the You Make It Chandelier Kit by Lindsey Adelman Studio. Now her work is completely custom fixture designs, but when Lindsey Adelman first started, she was ordering parts from Grand Brass. I like the kit because the full instructions with part numbers are published online so you can see what it takes to build a fixture and maybe adapt the design to be your own. With this knowledge I was able to order a different part to make it work with my low ceilings. I spent a rainy evening assembling the kit. My only tip is to plug it into a power strip when you go to test or you might be reseting breakers.

Something I thought was interesting while building it is how you could probably write software to generate lamps and spit out a parts list. All of the pipes come in pre cut lengths. There are both wye connections with fixed angle and adjustable angles. There are multientry reducers for changing pipe size. Even the wiring can be predicted. The pipes can only hold four wires so in this design you can see a small cylindrical junction box below the furthest wye.

It was a fun build and a lesson. The only change I’ve made in the last year was swapping the bulbs for LEDs which got me more light and less heat.


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