DIY: Ingo Maurer Zettel’z 5

Update 4/23/2014: Due to many requests I have added much better photos of my version.

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Original version.

I was in the market for a chandelier and my girlfriend suggested the Ingo Maurer Zettel’z 5. Being a DIY’er and seeing one in person, I told Jess that I can make one of those — adding, how hard can it be? The beauty about modern design is the marrying of items that were never meant to put together in a particular way. The Zettel’z 5 marries stainless steel, glass, paper, binder clips and light — the best part, no two will ever be alike, you put your own art or messages and place the rods exactly how you want them — unique to your style.

Now, it’s true, the parts alone can be found for very cheap… so one might question the original Zettel’z 5 high price. Check out the Design Within Reach website for more photos and you’ll notice the chandelier will set you back about $1200 — and it’s well worth it. Why? Well, so far I have spent over 30 hours trying to track down all the materials and driving to different industrial supply shops — I felt like Adam and Jamie from the Mythbusters. I visited some places that have some of the coolest salvage machinery I have ever seen. I’ll save that for another post… below is the list of materials I procured…

- 80 pieces of 3/64th stainless steel welding rod

- 1 piece of 1”x1” aluminum plate

- 2 pieces of 3”32” stainless steel welding rod

- 6 3/32” Dubro Collars

- 1 250w e27 base halogen bulb

- 1 75w 30º Par 30 halogen bulb

- 2 Leviton ceramic bases (rated at 660w ea)

- 8” of fiberglass insulation (to protect cable from 250w bulb)

- 5’ of 105ºc black 18/2 cable (round)

- 6’ of 1/16” black heat shrink

- 1 1” lighting nipple

- 17”x14” 10×10 stainless steal mesh

- 11” x 110mm borosilicate glass tubing with outside etch

- Stainless steel replacement canopy (go to a lighting store, find a light that has the correct finish and mounting method and order as a replacement part)

- Dremel with cutoff wheel

- 80 mini (1/4”) binder clips (ACCO) — must adjust each clip to fit the rod

- 80 sheets of rice paper cut to A5 DIN 148mm x 210mm

- Wiring tools

- A workshop full of tools

I feel like I’m forgetting a bunch of other things… but you get the idea, what looks like an easy task, gets really complex, fast. Ingo Maurer and his team of designers/fabricators have done all the research and thought through all the design elements perfectly. All the parts, including glass (4 pieces — minimum order) ended up costing me about $250 — not bad. Now, putting everything together, however, is the biggest pain and required a lot more labor. I even feel like I have done a few things better. I have a lot of respect for Ingo Maurer… I can surely tell people that the $1200 is well worth it. Now, this hasn’t stopped me from doing my twist on the Zettel’z 5… I’ll call it, the Mavtel’z 5 and it will be completed as soon as I get my glass from the fabricator down in Portland, OR. There are a few big challenges I’ve had to face, particularly the amount of heat the 250w Halogen bulb produces. It’s no match for regular type glass… especially sandblasted glass… the thermal co-efficiency for most glass just can’t deal with that much heat, thus causing potential breakage and safety issues. Solution, locating borosilicate glass tubing from laboratory supply shop and getting it sandblasted. Borosilicate glass (also known as Pyrex glass) can withstand heats above 900º.

I know this is a lot to digest, but I hope to have a complete HOWTO for the folks interested in seeing how much labor goes into making one of these beautiful chandeliers. And for the rest of the folks out there that have seen this work of art and thought to themselves, “I can make that”, I hope this post makes you respect the labor Ingo Maurer puts into making each of his Zettel’z 5’s and not question the price. I hope to post the complete HOWTO in a couple weeks… since that’s when I’m expecting delivery of the glass tubing.


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