Seeking replacement plastic lampshades; is 3D printing an option?
November 20, 2017 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I have several of these floor lamps. The lamps work well for my space, so I don't want to replace them, but the bulbs' plastic shades are brittle and keep breaking.

Because the neck of the shade is a standard size (diameter: 2.25 inches) I've found and used some metal shades and some glass ones. They look fine but their weight makes the arms droop such that the light only shines on the floor.

I've scoured the web for replacement plastic shades, with no luck.

The plastic in question is about the thickness of a bleach bottle, but translucent (obv). Would it be feasible to make replacements via 3-D printing? Irrespective of that answer, any other sourcing suggestions are most welcome.
posted by GrammarMoses to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
what about a diy paper lampshade?
posted by noloveforned at 11:57 AM on November 20, 2017

It would be possible to 3-d print some of those, but 3-d printing is more of a pain than you might think, and the finish isn't smooth (and so will collect dust). It is also not at all heat-tolerant so will only be possible if the bulbs are LED.
posted by tillsbury at 12:00 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know anything about 3-d printing them but that is such a cool idea.

Try using the word acrylic instead of plastic for better search results. This looks to be your exact lamp I think, that listing is for multi color acrylic replacement shades. All white is here. They are shaped differently but seem good otherwise. Also, are you using the right wattage bulbs? It seems weird that they keep breaking.
posted by the webmistress at 12:01 PM on November 20, 2017

Is cost a concern? I don't see why this would be a problem to produce with a prosumer printer like the form 2. That said the "ink" is likely to be more expensive then buying a new lamp.
posted by phil at 12:31 PM on November 20, 2017

Unless you know someone with a 3D printer, getting it printed will be more expensive than buying a new lamp.
posted by gregr at 12:34 PM on November 20, 2017

They could be cast in resin, although it would be heavier than the current plastic shades. The basic process would be to make a silicone mold of a shade, and then use that to cast resin replacements. If you know any small scale modeler hobbyists, they would be the people to ask.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:43 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

the_webmistress, welcome to my rabbit hole. Those shades are SO close, but the bulb opening is the wrong size. My lamp uses standard bulbs, not candelabra bulbs. Sigh. Still, that's a good point about the search term; will dig around Amazon/eBay again and see what I can find.
posted by GrammarMoses at 3:12 PM on November 20, 2017

PS: This is my actual lamp.
posted by GrammarMoses at 3:19 PM on November 20, 2017

I've 3D-printed lampshades/diffusers for tiny Ikea table lamps. You can only do this for LED bulbs.

There are two approaches:
  1. Print a single-shell spiral vase shade. These are translucent, very fragile and need a well set up 3D printer not to get glitches in the wall.
  2. Print a traditionally thick piece with translucent/clear filament. The infill acts as light pipes, giving a cracked ice effect.
Most 3D printed parts accept a few coats of acrylic medium for added toughness and shine.
posted by scruss at 7:33 PM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

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