How do you solve a problem like this lamp base?

Hi group, I’ve run into a ‘phone a friend’ moment by bringing my modelling problem here. Believe me, I have been busy trying to solve most problems by myself or Youtube videos.
I need to recreate the base of a Shattaline lamp (Just like this) Vintage 60s Plastacrush Shatterline lamp Retro Kitsch Lamp base 70s Midcentury -- Antique Price Guide Details Page

I’d loathe to just add a photoshop texture on a cylinder as I know when I finally move on to V-Ray, it won’t cut it. I’m hoping someone can advise if it is possible to make a cylinder solid, make it look transparent, possibly use an extension to recreate that ‘shattered’ look that you see in the real lamp base.

If you know how I can solve this problem, please give me a holler. Thanks

(PS, technically, of course I know I can use solid tools on a cyliner and paint the material with a 50% transparency, It’s whether I can somehow recreate that broken,shattered solid look)

I think you are on the right track - creating ice cube type objects inside the cylinder may be quicker than trying to reproduce the effect all inside Vray.

Ice cube type objects - round off a cube, apply some Eneroth3 Erode then smoothing should do it.

MSPhysics would likely help positioning the objects naturally (not my area of expertise).

Add a liquid cylindrical volume inside the cylinder.

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The best I can tell from your picture is the lamp base is supposed to look like a glass filled with ice and liquid. Quite the little challenge to model. The outside is smooth the “cubes are inside the glass” Have spent quite a bit of time experimenting with “ice cubes” in my render engine ( Twilight V2 ). Not at all familiar with how well V-Ray handles this type of thing. If the lamp isn’t the main focus of the render I’d be inclined to model a plain cylindrical lamp of the correct size and add the image of the lamps base on the post pro side after rendering.

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A Google image search for “plastacrush shatterline lamp” turned up these images … the bottom one in the center made me smile :slight_smile:


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Thanks for the responses so far. To give a little insight as to why this has become my creative problem: I’m slowly making models to recreate my late Grandmother’s house. The work is painstaking as it’s my intention to eventually render it so authentically, that it will be like using a time machine to peer back into the past from nearly thirty years ago.
She had a Shattaline lamp on sideboard in the corner of her living room.

Some responses here suggest that the resin material looks like ice cubes in a cylinder. From what I recall and what the images now provide, I would say that the resin was originally cast in a cylinder, a further process would have shattered the resin, then a final process would have consolidated the broken parts (Possibly using more resin) to remain as a broken looking hole.

My initial search was to look for Sketchup ‘cracked’ material, either by an extension that soley focussed on solid deformation effects. Unfortunately, using a search string with a program name with the addition of ‘cracked’ never yields the results you are quite looking for (Unless you are up to monkey business)

I’m hoping that some of the users here are well versed in 3D design and possibly other tools. If I said that my ultimate aim is to make a detailed 3D house environment that can be entered using high end VR equipment, with the aim of providing the user an as ‘close to photo realistic as possible’ window into a location from the past, I’d be interested if anyone has the experience and knowledge to suggest the best tools to getting there.

I’m using Sketchup as a means of roughing out the models as it , so far is a quick and easy means of building, measuring, sketching out layout/scales and form. I hope that the models created then, will allow me to have sufficient 3D reference material that I can then utilise in something like Blender. I know I have a long road ahead of me as I will need to start getting my game on using that, I know I will then need to travel further by exporting my models into something like Unreal engine in order to add functionality to the models for VR interaction. If anyone here can provide advice or pointers for this somewhat dauntingly long process, I’d be grateful. Failing that, just the current Sketchup problem would suffice :slight_smile:

Oh dear! Well, I had a fiddle around with making components using the rotated rectangle tool. Popped the multiplied results into a cylinder. It’s a messy mix of vertices and wasn’t quite what I was aiming for. I’ve dowloaded Enroth to try again using deformations that use a more solid, less messy starting point. Results will follow later.

Have to admit I’m intrigued by this type of modeling / rendering challenge. Did a little experimenting last night. The exact amount of detail you need for the “cracked ice” part is going to depend a lot on what you can do with bump or displacement maps in V-Ray. Posting a couple of pics of what I think might work.

Modeled the exterior cylinder and grouped it. Modeled a slightly smaller cylinder that will fit inside the first one. Modeled a stack of cubes. Used the scale tool to very the shape and size of the cubes. Intersected all the cubes and did cleanup so they show solid when grouped. Placed this stack of cubes inside the smaller cylinder . Exploded cylinder and cubes and intersected . Erased all the excess geometry to get the stack of cubes in the first image. Placed this inside the "exterior cylinder.

Some preliminary tests gives me the feeling I can get a pretty good result in the render engine I use.
Only problem for me is render times could be a little brutal.

That’s excellent and gives me very useful pointers in which to experiment. I was using the Erode extension on some cubes earlier and was getting an interesting ‘close’ effect until Sketchup crashed. I’m not going to worry too much about the V-Ray render time for now as that’s a few steps away from just getting the basic modelling right. I really appreciate your input here. Thanks

No reason you can’t run “Erode” if you feel the need. Just remember any trimming, intersect or erode is best done in a scaled up copy of of a component so you don’t run into tiny lines issues.

Updating my previous comments (it’s important to update your profile with hardware specs including GPU).

Shatterline lamp - as an item included in modelling a set of rooms, I would spend more time considering the level of detail possible with your computer hardware - my suggestion of complex geometry for a lamp may “break” your model for rendering purposes - you may have to go back to just an image wrapped around a cylinder or fairly simple geometry inside a cylinder - rounding, softening and Eroding geometry within the cylinder will likely be way to much detail to complete your project as planned (without knowing exactly what your hardware is though).

Will you 3d print the lamp base model?

GSStudios: Thanks for your interest. It’s invaluable to me to have these kinds of informative conversations as I’m in the early stages of my project. I’m currently modelling only using Sketchup Pro on a 2013 Macbook Pro. I know what I have planned is ambitious and that I’m going to eventually have to invest in better hardware.

Goal #1 for the year ahead is to make photorealistic renders. There are a handful of people I wish to impress by showing “Photos” of scenes of locations in the past that they will remember sufficiently enough. If I do my homework and put the time in, I’d like to think that I’ll make their jaws drop sufficiently when I tell them that the photos are actually renders from a computer model.

Goal #2 Is to progress from 2D images to being able to visit the locations via a Vive or whatever future equivalent headset is and make my own jaw drop by visiting the models and having the sense that I’ve authentically recreated pockets of my own personal past.

If I can take a seat in a room that I know no longer exists and feel something of a sense of the uncanny, then I’ll know I’ve succeeded in my own efforts (Plus developed some desirable, employable skills in architectural model making)

I work in construction management, so developing new skills like the above can easily cross-pollinate into other opportunities.

Much of my inspiration has come from the following two video clips


I can of course concede that to create models with the kind of detail seen in the video will require a lot of time and dedication, better hardware and development of 3D modelling skills that I currently do not possess!

So back to the Shatterline in Sketchup…At this moment, during learning and experimenting, I haven’t downloaded V-Ray yet as I figured that that’s further down the design pipeline and will bring its own set of problems and learning curves. I had imagined that the software would allow me to assign materials attributes that Sketchup doesn’t (such as metals, glass, plastics etc) and the science of light and its behaviour on materials.I’m surprised to read that something like a cracked transparent resin/glassy lamp base might prove to be a processor resources eating monster, so duly noted.

Let’s say for a moment that six months from now, I have vastly superior hardware, a PC with a high end graphics card and plenty of other horse power for dealing with complex geometry/detailed scenes. Will cracked resin lamp bases still be a graphics concern?

No intention to 3D print, I like the idea but I think the models will best be served as photographs and VR environs (See following essay to GS Studios)

After six months, there will be other lamps causing lags…

There is also a movie

The Silence of the Lambs (Trailer) - YouTube

‘When do the lamps stop screaming?

:smile: This explains a lot.

I know I’m wading deeper into a jungle of nettles, but you know how masochism and compulsion are comfortable bed partners…

Here’s my “Please don’t attempt to render this” lamp model…


Rendering with Vray requires an NVIDIA GPU, which Apple do not include with any stock product (they only supply AMD).

There is also cloud rendering services to consider, where you can render models with massive levels of detail - for a price.


You don’t have to use VRAY, you could use THEA which may have slightly more realism.


THEA supports AMD GPU’s, NVIDIA GPU’s and multi GPU’s.

If you upgrade to a system with multi GPU’s, you should be okay rendering very detailed scenes.

Thanks for your further input. I’m likely to invest in a job specific PC for the project. Much as I like Apple, I know I’ll get more bang for my buck when cherry picking the appropriate hardware on the PC side of things. I’m very much out of touch with PCs though, last OS used on those was XP. Do you have any recommendations for the OS?

I had looked at Thea recently, I’ll open up the rendering software can of worms nearer the time that I feel that my model is ready for the next step. On the other hand, a friend of mine has encouraged me to follow the ‘Make a donut’ tutorial for Blender…

I believe that these lamps were made with a variety of filler in a form and encased in Clear Cast. As a result, each one is different. Over time, the Clear Cast yellows quite a bit. Crumbled glass would be randomly dumped into a form with an embedded tube and cord and then filled with the epoxy resin. I made a similar lamp circa 1965 using a pasteboard milk carton filled with glass marbles and Clear Cast.

I tried to use MSPhysics to fill a tube shape with cubes (ten different sizes), but I ran into some issues:

However, if I “froze” the animation just before everything exploded, I ended up with something I could play with … I think something along these lines might produce a more realistic result.

While I was waiting on my render to finish, I noticed that all of the Shatteline shades were cylindrical, not a frustrum as I depicted :disappointed_relieved:

they where made like this

a thermal reaction cause by over catalysing the resin…

more like a fractal reaction with the exotherm working outwards…


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Thanks for finding this :slight_smile:

From the pictures I looked at, I was convinced that they were like the ones my aunt had. Those were filled with fine pieces of turquoise gravel in cast acrylic (or similar). They started out clear and, twenty-five years later, they were amber (so was my own creation).