At his local hackerspace [Vincent Sanders] noticed an interesting problem. The stools that they had were great in most cases, but there was one workbench which was very much the wrong height for them. So began his quest to design and fabricate plywood stools which use no glue for their joints.
The Cambridge Makespace (in the UK) turns out to be a perfect environment for this type of project. They already had a CNC router which can cut the plywood pieces, and there are other members who were willing to help train [Vincent] on the equipment. He found a design on Thingiverse which fit the bill, except for the actual measurements. He needed metric units to match the sheet stock available to him. Once converted he put together a stool that didn’t work at all. The thickness of the plywood just didn’t mesh with the tolerances of the joints. After wandering around to different suppliers in town, digital calipers in hand, he came up with a range of actual thicknesses and adjusted his joint design accordingly.
Of course this wasn’t the last revision. Even with the joints working the seat was still a little rickety. He moved to the next plywood thickness offered, redesigning the files to match. His final stool works like a charm, with five or six of them fitting on one standard sheet of plywood.
Download a song from iTunes, and you can only add that song to the music library of five other computers. Grab a copy of the latest Microsoft Office, and you’d better hope you won’t be upgrading your computer any time soon. Obviously DRM is a great tool for companies to make sure we only use software and data as intended, but outside planned obsolescence, there isn’t much in the way of DRM for physical objects.
This is where a team from the University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland comes in. They designed a chair that can only be sat upon eight times. After that, the chair falls apart necessitating the purchase of a new chair. Somewhere in the flat-pack furniture industry, someone is kicking themselves for not thinking of this sooner while another is wondering how they made a chair last so long.
The design of the chair is fairly simple; all the joints of the chair are cast in wax with a piece of nichrome wire embedded in the wax. An Arduino with a small switch keeps track of how many times the chair has been used, while a solenoid taps out how many uses are left in the chair every time the user gets up. When the internal counter reaches zero, a relay sends power through the nichrome wire, melting the wax, and returning the chair to its native dowel rod and wooden board form.
Melting wax wasn’t the team’s first choice to rapidly disassemble a chair; their first experiments used gunpowder. This idea nearly worked, but it was soon realized no one on the team wanted to sit on a primed and loaded chair. You can see the videos of the wax model failing after the break.
Continue reading “DRM Chair only works 8 times”
Along with quadrotors, and portable game consoles, one of the hacks we never get tired of seeing is an LED matrix table. [Christian Enchelmaier] wrote in to share his take on the ever popular pixelated furniture, which we think came out pretty well (Translation).
Instead of going for a full-sized coffee table, [Christian] decided to keep things on the smaller scale his first time out, opting for an ottoman/end table nstead. He constructed a 16×16 matrix using RGB LEDs, encapsulating each one in its own “pixel”, as is common with these builds. [Christian] uses an Atmega 128 to run the show, displaying the current time and date, temperature, music visualizations, games, images, along with short videos. He also outfitted the table with an IR receiver so that he can control the table’s display from afar.
As of right now, [Christian] doesn’t have any video of the table in action, but there’s plenty in the way of pictures scattered throughout his build log to keep you busy in the meantime.
SketchChair is a piece of software that takes the engineer out of engineering furniture. In a child’s-dream-come-true you draw the outlines you’d like to have, add some legs, and the software pops out a design ready to be laser-cut. The finishing touch of adding palm fiber and felt produces what we imagine is a moderately comfortable place to sit. Now the hard part will be convincing your spouse that you should spend the money building an industrial grade laser cutter because of all the money you’ll save on furniture.
We’re still holding out for furniture that is 3d-printed from rock to match our Flintstone’s motif.
Oh, and as always, video after the break.
Continue reading “Rapid furniture prototyping”
Discouraged at the mounds of packaging you’re throwing away every time you buy new stuff? Artist [David Gardener] may have just the solution for you: design products where the packaging is an integral part of the product itself. We can envision a whole line of IKEA furniture, for example, that turns inside-out and uses the cardboard box as part of its internal support structure. On the whole, this may be just a touch less tacky than making furniture out of packaging not intended to be used as furniture at all (i.e. FedEx boxes).