A revolved parabolic nightlight!

Here’s an electronic parts list:

LED Strips: Amazon B07D8W9BFM

Other parts from DigiKey:
12V wall adapter: 993-1242-ND
plug socket: EJ505A-ND
on-off push button: 504PB-ND

The rest is all glowforge imagination! :slight_smile:


The challenge is to find a mechanical movement whose price after a 256x multiplier (and control wiring) doesn’t break the bank (and mind!)

Of course, it DOES beg for some kind of dynamic movement. --v2 needs das blinkenlichten.


A small lathe and some nails heated and cooled in a strong magnetic field, the solenoid would be primitiveish but it would move the 9 penny nail . My design skills to divide the sound by frequency are close to nil but the boards that let you control the frequency out must have some way of dividing them . The lathe would allow quick making of coils and how strong they would be you could decide by using more or less very thin wire so different strengths would be different actions.

It would need more knowledge (and work) than money to build, but I would bet others here could provide much better Ideas.


Very creative.

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Very cool. Great job. BUT!.. how dare you! Like I don’t have ENOUGH rabbit holes to explore… :sunglasses:


It would not be matched to sound but there is always this rabbit hole


Totally rad! I really like geometric inspired designs. The levels of acrylic are very interesting.

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It looks like it’s 16x16, so 256 “rods” total. The “comb” idea is brilliant — adds rigidity and maintains perfect spacing!


Thank you kindly!

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I would like to be able to type a new formula and have it graph the 3D shape … but I love it as is, I would go wild for the interactive version…
I remember doing that in mathematical tools 30 years ago…
Or even doing 2d plots 39 years ago on an apple II. I love seeing combination of math, laser, and woodworking. Totally cool

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This is fantastic! Would you be willing to share the cut file and settings?


Friendly reminder that forum guidelines ask people not to request others’ design work.


Hey, I get that on art but this is a math file and I really have no idea of how you would create this parabolic file. Sorry if I offended anyone, just trying to learn.

I don’t think anyone is offended by you asking for the files – it’s nice etiquette not to make someone feel pressured by even asking. By having the free designs section, the idea is someone will share if they’re willing. And I get it – this design is one of my absolute favorites in the forum and I would have probably already made one if he had posted the cut files.

I think you’re a lot more likely to offend someone by implying their work isn’t art…

The product here isn’t a math file, though. Even knowing MatLab, it’s not a given that a person could generate this beautiful product – that’s the art. You didn’t ask for a math file, you asked for the settings and cut file that took time, experience, and skill to derive from the math file. We need to respect that @jcberry may not be interested in freely sharing the product of those investments. He’s been very generous with other details of the build, though, and even without MatLab you could certainly make something similar from the information he has shared – at least that’s my plan.


Thank you kindly! I’d chime in the same, and suggest that the details are all there for your own build. I’m using Matlab simply because it’s my go-to tool for all manner of projects. One could also use python, or for this type of thing Excel would be plenty.

If you’re a matlab user, here’s some code:
[x y]=meshgrid(0:15); % calculate a 2d array of x,y coordinates
rho = (x.^2+y.^2); % calculate the sum of squares
mesh(rho) % illustrate the result

This give a plot in a figure window that looks like this:

But really, it’s simply taking the sum of the squared values for x and y over the range 0, 1, … 14, 15. (looking at the peak value, 15^2 + 15^2 = 450).

The “secret sauce” for lack of a better expression, is the means of getting the graphical pattern into your vector graphics package of choice for scaling/manipulation. One could simply draw the combs in illustrator, manually calculating each half of the points (it’s symmetric across the x=y line), but that’s still 128 calculations. Tedious, and good to hand off to a computer.

My code goes a bit further than that, for easier import to Illustrator, but that’s my secret sauce!

There’s a lot of joy to be had in simply exploring the shapes and patterns to be found from simply playing around with numbers!

Also, I suppose I’m much more excited to teach fishing, rather than handing out fillets.


Damn good sauce. Lol

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Similarly in some ways:


Ooh, yeah, it didn’t even occur to me at the time, but yours would make a great edge lit piece, too!

Very similar indeed! I like it.

This is a stunner. I love how this transforms simple equations - definitely art!