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home theater accent lighting.

designed and created by Joseph Parsons

the story.

A couple years ago, I was approached to take on a home theater project that included the creation of some LED accent sconces for this beautifully themed room. From design to build, here are the steps it took to make these awesome accents.

This is the concept drawing I did for the Machete's home
theater wall sconces. I wanted the design to have a curved
blade with a roughly wrapped handle. At this point in the
process, there was no exact forethought to how it would be
incorporated into the lighting design, but it was a good
start!

Original concept drawing for the sconces.

As seen here, the original thought was to have a
wooden back plate with the metal logo panel curved into it.
I was thinking a brighter look to the metal as well, like a
brushed stainless or copper.

Second iteration of the design for the theater wall lighting. After further discussion, it was decided that the original wood panel would be out of the mix because of other aesthetic changes.

I wanted to have the logo lighted in red (#1)
with the top and bottom maintaining a soft white glow. I
was unsure to the amount of light bleed I would get with
the top and bottom, so i made provisions for the lighting
shelves (#2) to move from center to edge just in case.

Now we were getting somewhere...;) The crossing
machetes logo now was almost complete. I still had to
eliminate the overlaps and make it look more like they
were crossing through each other. Pretty excited at this
point to get it done and over to my metal guy for laser
cutting the image out of steel!

A close up of the hand-cut version of my Machete's design.
Printed on photo paper, cut with an x-acto knife, top coated
bronze color and, at this point, red colored paper for
backing the logo. I had to make many small modifications
to the original design to ensure that the metal could be
curved without breaking the small parts. Also had to think
in the "negative space" so that parts of the design would
not fall away. Everything had to be "attached".

Since this was the first time I had ever created something
like this, I was pretty happy with the first cut! We lost a
little bit here and there due to the laser burning off the
"strings". 5 pixel minimum on the Illustrator program for
this scale.

Original "blueprint" drawing for the Machete's wall
lighting/sconces. Three piece design with #1 curved,
logo'd front panel, #2 center seal plate to seperate the
front logo lighting and back glow, and #3 light mounting
panel with tabs to raise and lower the back lighting
shelves.

A close up of the tabs for raising or lowering the led light
shelves that would illuminate the theater posts. I was
unsure how much directional light would be provided based
on the distance from the exterior edges. (closer to the
top/bottom might have meant more dispersion, which is
something i did not want.) Turns out the difference on the
placement of the LED shelves was minimal at best.
Unnecessary.

Pre-assembly look at how things were going to line up on my design.

Lighting tabs at the top for the post illumination.

Logo lighting hidden in the middle. So
far, so good!

This was the first time I got to see everything truly coming
together! The logo was beautifully cut and illuminated with
the LED's. I used two layers of stage light gels to maintain
the deep red (this has always been hard to capture in
pictures. the true color of these is deep red, with just a hint
of higher brightness from the top and bottom.)

You gotta love the smell of freshly lasered steel... ;) I still
think they looked awesome before we put the automotive
finish on them!

ahh, yes.... the wiring of the sconces.

(kind of sounds like an orchestral piece...;)
All of the Machete's LED Lights were hand-soldered and
wired by this guy. With over 20 years in electronics, this
part was a piece of cake. Time consuming, yes. Difficult,
no.

And the final product... I do like what the camera did with
the color, a little fire inside...;)
The LED's are of the cool white variety, the warm white
versions created an almost pink hue to the wood. Painted
with a matte/satin automotive finish at a buddy's body
shop to keep the reflective properties to a minimum.

Thank you for checking this out!

-Joe

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