Photo of laser cut wood panels A Lamp to Read Seuss By

A Lamp to Read Seuss By by Richard Miner was inspired by the trees in Dr. Seuss’s children’s books. The lamp shade is a sphere formed from 35 uniquely carved irregular polygons and the stand will reach over 6 feet high formed from 48 trapezoidal panels cut from birch plywood treated with urethane for the weather. A battery powered LED light will emit various colors to the space below.

Photo of Richard Miner in a woodshopRichard Miner

My father was an engineer that never stopped remodeling the houses we called home.  I grew up knowing that the constructed world (homes, schools, offices, factories, roads, and cars) could be changed to fit our changing needs and desires.  I also grew-up knowing that unfinished projects were the bane of my mother’s house-keeping, and that if he took a bathroom apart, Dad needed to have it usable within a few days.  While my father built practical things like cabinets, walls, roads and bridges, I have taken the same need to create and focused it towards more whimsical things.  My brother likes to refer to our shared compulsion as a need to create bountiful piles on sawdust while guiding innocent pieces of wood on their journey from lumber to firewood.

My creations have tended to small animated sculptures, scrap-wood creations made for an annual bonfire, a tent-sized plywood dome, and poseable wooden dinosaurs.  Earlier this year I bought a hobby CNC machine and have set out to make even bigger piles of sawdust and more complex pieces.

After last winter’s light festival, I decided I needed to make something for this winter’s event.  As my confidence grew in using my CNC machine, I decided to combine my understanding of geometry, my programming background, and my friend’s experience with electronics to create a lighted sculpture.  Several weeks of ideas and experiments later, I came up with my design for “A Lamp to Read Seuss By”; a lamp whose shape is inspired by the trees in various Dr. Seuss’s books, and whose execution would require the CNC machine’s precision and calculated cutting.  Whether the lamp will be as awesome as my imagination crafted, remains to be seen, but the quest to create the lamp has led me down a series of rabbit holes, whose final outcome draws near.

My background includes 30 years in software development, but my interests have long been in making physical things.  The recent advent of affordable hobby level CNC routers and 3D printers has opened a whole new way to express my urge to create.  By combining my love of math, my urge to craft, and my tool’s programmable nature, I can hear an endless variety of almost useful projects calling to be made.


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