CNC STOOL

WINTER 2008

In the final series of projects in the Digital Fabrication course, we were trained to use a 3-axis Computer Numerical Control (CNC.) Router.  The machine took some getting used to and designing around the limitations of the router was challenging at times.  It brought the process of fabrication to the forefront of design.  The smallest bit that the router could use on 3/4” plywood was 1/2” bit, which meant that joints had to be at least 3/4”-1”.

The most notable limitation of the CNC Router is its inability to create square joints because of the round bit.   Every joint needed to be drilled at the corners to provide room for the two joints to slide in place.  Material is also a large factor in the speed at which the CNC Router can cut..  The 3/4” plywood needed two sometimes three passes before the router could cut through.

After the pieces of the stool were cut, the sitting surface was laminated together to create a thicker sturdier surface that wouldn’t wobble.  The stool was finished with shellac.

As any design process, I began with sketching different forms the stool would take keeping in mind the positive and negative aspects that would affect the experience of sitting.  During the design of the stool, I wanted something that would cantilever from the legs so that the heels would not bump into the side of the stool when sitting.  In hindsight the connection of the back of the sitting surface to the legs could have used a mortise and tenon join that could have remained invisible and create a larger sitting area.

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