Precision Modeling for Machining Furniture (1 of 4)

This How-to/Explanation of building the classic chair seen above came about from a couple incidents. We were asked to fabricate a set of chairs for a local client. It was a short run of about 12 chairs that had to be produced relatively inexpensively. We took the chairs from recreating the design from a prototype, to finishing the final products. In the process we developed a system that could be executed like a full blown production run using our ShopBot CNC’s. Fundamentally we took a traditional chair that had been manufactured for many years in the same way and re-engineered it to be digitally fabricated. We also integrated modern materials like plywood to develop the core of the chair. That experiment become the foundation for a workshop that takes place in our studio integrating 10 years of digital experience (which you are all invited to join us for).

Ilan Dei Studio uses mostly Rhino Modeling Software so in outlining the fabrication process we have created two video tutorials using rhino to explain the design of the chair. These videos give a brief description of how we modeled the chair at first taking into consideration the fabrication and production aspect of it.

That being said we believe that the upcoming tutorial/how-to will be useful, insightful and hopefully inspiring to others out there who are interested in building furniture, or who have been doing so for years.

Keep Reading for an outline of the entire Tutorial.

The following is an outline, broken into the next upcoming blog posts of the process of building the classic chair design.

Each blog entry will feature a specific part of the chair and then be broken down into three steps: nesting, set up and cutting.

Blog2: Production – Seat and back – Nesting and Profiling

–          Nesting

  • Back and set can be cut from sheet stock.
  • Accommodating for the arm and leg connections

–          Set Up

  • Profiling and tabbing on the cuts
  • Screw and vacuum hold down on the CNC table

–          Cutting

  • Profile cuts
  • Partial depth cut to support the carved back panel
  • Cutting the mortise holes to fit the legs
  • Trimming the angles with a table saw to connect the seat and the back

Blog 3: Production – Legs – Making magic -3 Dimensional Cuts with 2.5D Programming

–          Nesting

  • Set up legs to be cut from solid blocks
  • Orient the legs so the cuts are 2D cuts

–          Set Up/Production Jigs

  • Create the jig for cutting the profiles of the legs on the CNC table
  • Create the jig for cutting the tennons on the tops of the legs
  • Duplicate the tennon jig to run through a table saw

–          Cutting

  • Running the leg profiles cuts
  • Running the tennon cuts with a CNC
  • Leveling the legs

Blog 4: Production – Arms and Relief Carving

–          Nesting

  • Both parts of the arms to be cut from solid wood
  • Nest back panel carving to be milled from solid wood

–          Relief Carving

  • Cutting out both profiles and surfaces of the arms
  • Trimming the arms with the table saw
  • Milling the 3D carving
  • Cutting out the profile of the back panel

One Response to “Precision Modeling for Machining Furniture (1 of 4)”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Very cool.


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