Elementary Students Create Chandelier Project

This Chandelier project was designed and laser cut from all of Fort Cherry’s 5th grade classrooms. Students were told to either honor or commemorate somebody close to them through images or text.

Between December 2nd and 11th, our Mobile Fab Lab visited the Fort Cherry School District to bring our fabrication curriculum to the classrooms. A considerable amount of time was spent working with the fifth grade students in designing and fabricating a chandelier project to hang in the front lobby of the elementary school.

I had a great time working with the Fort Cherry staff during my visit. Mrs. Welsh, the Elementary STEM instructor, and Ms. Zibert, a fifth grade teacher helped out tremendously with the project. A special thanks to Dr. Trisha Craig, the Fort Cherry Director of Curriculum, for all her help from start to finish with the Mobile Fab Lab visit.

The planning of this student project began about a month ago. First I designed the base structure of the chandelier. I used the method of slotting the sections together to allow the segments to fit together like a puzzle. This design enabled using as little fasteners as possible. After connected together, the eight limbs would then be able to spread apart into a multi dimensional chandelier that could support different shaped objects that students would design. After the students would finish their design, I would then laser cut 80+ tiny holes to allow the objects to hang from the chandelier.

After meeting with the fifth graders, it was decided to divide the students into groups, and then have each group make certain shapes to later customize. Once the students observed a short tutorial on how to use CorelDraw and its basic tools, the students began their designs and I assisted the students in labeling and saving their project files on to a flash drive. I was later able to cut out all of the designs on one file with the Fab Lab laser cutters. The time it took to laser cut this project for the entire fifth grade went very well. There were over 150 pieces fabricated between two colored acrylic sheets, making a total run time of about three hours to laser etch and cut out the objects.