The Tesseract lamp sprang to life back in 2018 when a good engineering friend of mine asked me if it would be possible….Challenge accepted!
In case you didn't know a Tesseract is a fourth dimensional cube. It is represented in maths like this.
It’s a box inside a box how hard can it be? Very hard as it turns out! To look at this light when it's finished, it looks so simplistic and uncluttered, it looks like it should be really easy to make.
Now I am dyslexic and numbers are very much not my thing, so...
I started off making the inside box, half the size, of the outside box. Simple enough. The challenge was to get the angle and width of the diagonal connecting pieces. Much harder. On my first try I unknowingly calculated for a 2D piece not a 3D piece so my diagonals we’re too short and therefore my angle was to sharp. And now I’m lost…
How do I accurately calculate that distance???? I literally had no idea.
I tried to talk it out with my friend but he didn’t understand how I was constructing it and I just plainly didn’t understand his maths.
So I McGiver-ed it!
I sat the inner box on a small tin that brought it up to roughly the right height, put the outer box over it, and got a piece of paper slotted it down between the boxes and drew out the diagonal piece. Then got my ruler straightened out the lines. It was very rough but it worked for all the lack of maths!
I finished off the lamp and it looked really really well, my friend was delighted and it now resides with him in London.
I absolutely loved this light so decided to put it into my product range except id lost the pattern. Feckin’ typical!
Enter my electrical engineering brother -
‘Eh Alison, why don’t you just use Pythagoras’s theorem?!’
WHAT????? That has an actual real life use??!!?? Yes, yes it does kids. Apparently electricians use it all the time. Here is a little maths refresher if you, like me, could not remember what Pythagoras was doing with his life.
In a right angled triangle:
The square of the hypotenuse is equal to
The sum of the Squares of the other two sides.
Her is a picture of my workings out! I hope it makes sense to you. Either way my brother is a genius (don’t tell him I said that). Now it wasn’t perfect I still had to figure out my distance so I made a paper maquette to measure the distance on and then I could apply Pythagoras to get the angle.
I can tell you, when you have a well-made pattern life is so much easier, it all just goes together so nicely.
If you love the Tesseract lamp and you enjoyed reading the lamps journey into existence then you can watch me soldering a tesseract together in Find, Temple Bar for Dublin Design Night in April 2020.