Custom Lighting Display for Automotive Industry Launch Event

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Case Study 4

The Brief:

We were approached by a customer who needed our assistance to design and manufacture a concept for a prototype lighting display, in which illuminated strings are used to look like beams of light falling from the sky. While the early concept looked stunning, our job was to figure out how the plates could be manufactured and assembled quickly, as the install date was fast approaching.

The Solution:

Model plane set for Los Angeles

We started with a visual concept, which we could then redraw in CAD to allow us to manipulate and modify. We then set about discussing various material choices, and how this would affect the thickness of the hanging plates – when anything needs to be hung from a ceiling, it’s always important to minimise any unnecessary weight.

Once the plane model had been split it was then modified so that it resembled an Airfix Airbus A300 model. The client specified the angle at which the plane would sit at when suspended, which was then mimicked in the SolidWorks model. From here the stand and support structure for the plane model was designed from aluminium tubing, utilising its strength and lightweight capabilities.

As the illuminated strings would be strung between two plates, we also had a large amount of force to contend with; while each individual string didn’t need to be strung too tight, the cumulative effect of hundreds of them would make the plates want to pull towards each other. We also needed to make sure there was adequate adjustment built into our design, as walls and ceilings are never as straight or accurately measured as their CAD counterparts.

After some experimenting, both in the CAD program and with physical models, we decided on using a mild steel plate; this maximised the strength of the hanging fixture while allowing us to use a thinner plate. Using a combination of laser cutting, welding and hand-tapping, we manufactured a fully functioning prototype of the hanging rig; this could then be sent to the client, allowing them to approve before we completed manufacture on the rest of the plates.

To finish off the plates, we powder-coated them to give them a hard-wearing protective layer and to make them work with the colour scheme. The plates were then transported to the client, who strung the threads in between the plates. The finished effect was stunning, with the client’s lighting creating an amazing effect once lights were projected onto the strings.

For more information on how we made the hanging jig, or to talk to us about any other project, contact us on 01277 365500 or email [email protected]

Photographs by Andrey Buzin (https://www.instagram.com/aabuzin/)

 

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