How 3D Printing Helped Bring Antique Lighting Back to Life

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“Anyone can buy a 3D printer and start printing, but it is incredibly helpful to work with someone who … also understands drawing techniques and the intricacies of the CAD files.”

The headlines highlighting the innovative use cases of 3D Printing are endless, from 3D printed food, to skin and organs, to habitats on Mars. The futuristic capabilities of 3D Printing are exciting, but for one Northern California company, 3D Printing is helping to bring the past back to life, playing a role in replicating historic lighting in a number of Utah buildings with help from 3Diligent.

 

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Quality Lighting

Headquartered in the Northern California city of Grass Valley, Quality Lighting is an award-winning and nationally recognized, full-service reproduction, restoration, and antique lighting design specialist company. In business since 1980, Quality Lighting has restored and replicated more than 30,000 historic period fixtures in all shapes and sizes, from the grandest gasoliers of the 1840s to architectural chandeliers of the Art Deco period. The company specializes both in the replication of existing fixtures, and the reproduction of antique lighting from period photographs and drawings.

Prior Experience with 3D Printing

About seven years ago, Quality Lighting invested in a 3D printer for use in house. That 3D printer proved successful on a plastic ABS project the company completed for the Huntington Library in Southern California, where it was selected to replicate chandeliers for the main exhibit hall. Quality Lighting still uses the printer for prototyping, but when the company was selected to replicate some historic gas light fixtures in multiple Utah buildings, it needed to produce a sample of a part in metal, which required a new 3D Printing resource.

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Working with 3Diligent

Quality Lighting already understood the capabilities and value of being able to 3D print parts for antique light fixtures, now it was just a matter of gaining access to a metal 3D printer. Paul Ivazes, owner of Quality Lighting, knew he wanted someone local to California who he could actually speak to and, after a quick internet search, he found 3Dligent.

Quality Lighting had two main requirements, the part needed to be completed with a fast turnaround and printed in aluminum. After sending a request for quote (RFQ) through the 3Diligent website, Paul quickly heard back from 3Diligent.

“It was like rapid fire – I would send a question and within minutes there would be answers,” he said. “The team understood our drawings and worked with us on our tight time constraints for this project.”

 

3Diligent's Range of Capabilities

3Diligent offers a complete range of additive manufacturing processes including powder bed fusion, binder jetting, material jetting, vat photopolymerization, extrusion, directed energy deposition, and sheet lamination. 3Diligent also offers a comprehensive range of machining, casting, and injection molding services. These processes are offered across a range of resins, plastics, metals, and composites — allowing 3Diligent to address virtually any project needs, from prototype to production.

A Successful Relationship

3Diligent was able to meet the requirements of Quality Lighting and the team was stunned.

“Our mechanical engineer who has worked in mechanical drawing for 40 years was shocked at how well the part turned out and how crisp everything was,” said Paul.

Quality Lighting expects the Utah buildings project to take approximately eight years with antique lighting fixture replication across four buildings. The company expects to work with 3Diligent upwards of 20 times on this project alone.

“Anyone can buy a 3D printer and start printing, but it is incredibly helpful to work with someone who is not just a printing company, but also understands drawing techniques and the intricacies of the CAD files,” said Paul. “3Diligent was spot on with everything and we will absolutely continue to work together in the future.”