If You Want An Expensive Chair Just Print Your Own

The Magis Spun chair is a weird piece. It’s basically a kind of seat with a round conical base that stops it from sitting still in one place. Instead, it rolls and pivots around when you sit on it, which is apparently quite fun. They’re expensive though, which gave [Morley Kert] a neat idea. Why not 3D print one instead?

Obviously 3D printing a sofa wouldn’t be straightforward, but the Magis Spun is pretty much just a hunk of plastic anyway. The real thing is made with rotational molding. [Morley] suspected he could make one for less than the retail price with 3D printing.

With no leads on a big printer, he decided to go with a segmented design. He whipped up his basic 3D model through screenshots from the manufacturer’s website and measurements of a display model in a store. After print farming the production, the assembly task was the next big challenge. If you’re interested in doing big prints with small printers, this video is a great way to explore the perils of this idea.

Ultimately, if you want to print one of these yourself, it’s a big undertaking. It took 30-50 print days, or around 5 days spread across 15 printers at Slant 3D’s print farm. It used around $300-400 of material at retail prices, plus some extra for the epoxy and foam used to assemble it.

The finished product was killer, though, even if it looks a little rough around the edges. It rolls and pivots just like the real thing.

We don’t feature a lot of chair hacks on Hackaday, but we do feature some! Video after the break.

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A simple wooden chair with mint metallic connectors at the corners sits next to a pile of wooden pieces wrapped in leather and straps to form a backpack.

A Nomadic Chair

There’s no shortage of different types of folding or portable chairs, but designer [Jorge Penadés] built a backpack chair that will go the long haul.

Furniture that assembles without screws or glue is always intriguing, and this chair fits the bill. Using simple metal connectors and joinery, it can be setup and taken down in about two minutes without the flimsy feeling of a bag chair. With a natural finish on the wood, the connectors give a nice pop of color without feeling overwhelming. There are even some pictures of a couch version if you follow the link.

In backpack mode, the pieces are held together by leather patches and ratchet straps. [Penadés] was focused on portability over comfort with this piece, but we think this connection method could be used in the future for more comfortable furniture that is still portable.

If you’re looking for more interesting furniture, checkout this Tambour Table with a Puzzling Secret or these CNC-able Seats.

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Serving The Feline Masters: A Chair To Follow The Sunny Spot

Terry Pratchett once wrote, “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this”. [Jonathan]’s cat has clearly not forgotten, and makes it loudly known whenever her favorite chair needs to be moved to stay in the spot of sunlight. He was looking for a fun hack anyway, so he decided to give in to her majesty’s demands, and automated the task.

[Jonathan] first considered adding motorizing the chair itself, but decided to keep it simple and just drag the chair across the room with a spool attached to a motor. The rope spool was attached to a small geared DC motor, mounted on a salad bowl base, and connected to an ESP8266 via a motor driver. The ‘8266 is running  NodeMCU with a web server that accepts simple motor commands through a RESTful API. This setup can’t reset the chair to it’s starting position at the end of the day, but this is a small price to pay for simplicity. The motor was a bit underpowered, but it only needed to move the chair in small distances at a time, so [Jonathan] removed the chair’s back to reduce the weight, and upped the motor voltage.

Determining when and how far to move the chair is the second part of the challenge. [Jonathan] considered a simple lookup table for the time of day, but the motor’s movement wasn’t consistent enough. The final solution was a set of three BH1750 digital ambient light sensors to give feedback. A pair of sensors on the chair determines its position relative to the sunny spot, by comparing light levels to a reference sensor mounted in the window. These light sensors are also attached to NodeMCUs, and send movement commands to the winding unit as necessary.

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You’re Sitting On An Engineering Masterpiece: Chairs As A Design Challenge

If you move as a hardware hacker through the sometimes surprisingly similar world of artists, craftspeople, designers, blacksmiths, and even architects, there’s one piece of work that you will see time and time again as an object that exerts a curious fascination. It seems that designing and building a chair is a rite of passage, and not just a simple chair, but in many cases an interesting chair.

An American-made Windsor chair from the turn of the 19th century. Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain]
An American-made Windsor chair from the turn of the 19th century. Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain]
Some of the most iconic seating designs that you will be instantly familiar with through countless mass-produced imitations began their lives as one-off design exercises. Yet we rarely see them in our community of hackers and makers, a search turns up only a couple of examples. This is surprising, not least because there is more than meets the eye to this particular piece of furniture. Your simple seat can be a surprisingly complex challenge.

Moving Charis From Artisan to Mass Market

The new materials and mass production techniques of the 19th and 20th centuries have brought high-end design into the hands of the masses, but while wealthy homes in earlier centuries had high-quality bespoke furniture in the style of the day, the traditional furniture of the masses was hand-made in the same way for centuries often to a particular style dependent on the region in which it was produced.

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DIY Ovalia Chair Serves Your Futuristic Fantasies

The 1960s were a heady time, with both society and the language of design undergoing rapid changes over a short period. Back in 1968, Henrik Thor-Larsen exhibited his Ovalia egg chair for the first time, at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair. With original examples now antiques, and with even replicas being prohibitively expensive, it might just be worth considering building your own if you need to have one. Thankfully, [Talon Pascal] leads the way.

It’s a replica that’s built with accessible DIY tools and techniques. The frame is built up from plywood parts, cut out with a jigsaw. These are then assembled with glue and screws, forming two halves of the full-sized egg assembly. The exterior is then covered with thin strips of wood, as opposed to the fiberglass construction of the original. This is smoothed out with a judicious application of wood putty and plenty of sanding. The interior is then lined with foam before the chair is upholstered with red fabric. We’re not sure exactly how the trim ring is fitted, but it gives the chair a nice clean finished edge and rounds out the project nicely. There are even embedded speakers so you can chill out with some tunes in your ovaloid sanctuary.

It just goes to show that there’s value in the old adage – if you can’t buy it, build it! Perhaps, however, you’re outfitting the office – in which case, would something from the Porsche range suffice?

Flite Test Puts A Chair In The Air

The Flite Test crew is well known for putting some crazy flying contraptions together. They’ve outdone themselves this time with a flying IKEA chair. This build began with [Josh] issuing a challenge to [Stefan]. Take a standard IKEA ladderback chair and make it fly– in less than six hours. With such a tight schedule, measuring twice and cutting once was right out the window. This was a hackathon-style “throw it together and hope it works” build.

The chair was plenty sturdy, so it became the core of the fuselage. [Stefan] grabbed the wing from a previous plane and placed it on the seat of the chair. Two carbon fiber rods drilled into the seat frame formed a tail boom. The tailfeathers were built from Flite Test foam – paper coated foam-core board.

With the structure complete, [Stefan] and his team added servos for control, a beefy motor for power, and some big LiPo batteries. The batteries hung from the bottom of the chair to keep the center of gravity reasonable.

When the time came for the maiden flight, everyone was expecting a spectacular failure. The chair defied logic and leaped into the air. It flew stable enough for [Josh] to take his fingers off the sticks. The pure excitement of seeing a crazy build that works is on full display as the entire Flite Test crew literally jumps for joy. [Alex] even throws in a cartwheel. This is the kind of story we love to cover here at Hackaday – watching a completely nutty build come together and perform better than anyone expected.

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Chair Dances Like No One Is Watching

Although it might be more accurate to say that this chair dances because no one is watching, the result is still a clever project that [Igor], a maker-in-residence at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Norway, created recently. Blurring the lines between art, hack, and the ghosts from Super Mario, this chair uses an impressive array of features to “dance”, but only if no one is looking at it.

In order to get the chair to appear to dance, [Igor] added servo motors in all four legs to allow them to bend. A small non-moving dowel was placed on the inside of the leg to keep the chair from falling over during all of the action. It’s small enough that it’s not immediately noticeable from a distance, which helps maintain the illusion of a dancing chair.

From there, a Raspberry Pi 3 serves as the control center for the chair. It’s programmed in Python and runs OpenCV for face detection and uses pigpio for controlling the leg servos. There’s also a web interface for watching the camera’s output and viewing its facial recognition abilities. The web interface also allows a user to debug the program. [Igor]’s chair can process up to 3 frames per second at 800×600 pixels.

Be sure to check out the video after the break to see the chair in action. It’s an interesting piece of art, and if those dowels can support the weight of a person it would be a great addition to any home as well. If it’s not enough chair for you, though, there are some other more dangerous options out there.

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