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    Conference Table Competition

    By Daniel Childs
    Feb 10, '10 1:58 AM EST

    So I just found out I won a competition for designing a conference table for the DesignBridge Community Design/build club on campus. I decided to enter the comp a few weeks ago when I was uninspired to work on my studio project, and it paid off. The design is intended to be CNC routed out of a singe sheet of 1" plywood for the legs which interlock into one another, and create a rigid frame. Ideally, it will need minimal fasteners and should be able to brace itself. Also, it can be scaled up and down to different sizes very easily and once we get the measurements right it could be replicated indefinitely (theoretically). My main concern was ensuring that the legs and apron didn't impede peoples knees from going under the table because it is going into a very narrow office space so the shelves shown are removable. The table top can be anything from an old door to a piece of glass. I'm going to try to make a scale model with the laser cutter first and then move on to the CNC router for a full scale version as soon as we can get materials, and logistics figured out. I'll post the results when we get there.

    I'd love to hear some feedback/crit about this if anyone has any comments. Also, any CNC Router advice would be great too.

    Here's the entry poster:



    • janischildsdesigns@gmail.

      Congratulations Daniel! It took me an hour to try to register!!!I look forward to seeing the table put together . I can tell how it will look, but I am such a visual person I cant wait to see the color, texture, materials etc! It is so amazing that you could figure out how to put all the "parts" on to the 4x8 board. I know that that is the whole point, but it must take a lot of time and figuring. I am moving on to read your other comments. I think this will be fun... being able to see what you are doing these days, weeks, months!

      Feb 13, 10 12:14 pm  · 


      So you've taken those little wooden models of dinosaurs, airplanes, and such, and blown them up as furniture... nice. You could do a whole line, chairs, tables, beds.

      The only problem I have with the table is the shelves. What purpose do they serve? I realize they are removable, but if they don't contribute to the stability of the unit I might consider losing them. Then you need to consider what to do with the extra material.

      Good luck.

      Feb 13, 10 9:00 pm  · 

      Hi Daniel,

      Just a few words of advice:

      I doubt you will be able to line up the sides of 4x8 plywood that precisely with the x and y axis of the router...especially most router beds are not always completely level.

      Therefore I would advise you to move the pieces that are justified with the edges of the plywood inwards a bit...let the precision of the CNC guarantee the straight edge. You will also have to plan ahead as to how you are going to fix the plywood to the bed; usually through screws, in locations where the drill bit will not pass through. Unless your school has a kickass vacuum bed, of course. So spacing out your parts and screws uniformly is critical to maintaining stability of the cutting material.

      Last, be aware that unless you plan on going with a very small bit for a final pass that chews through the last bit of material, you will not get perfect 90 degree angles in the notches, so there may be a bit of play in the fitting. Most contour cuts are done with a fairly beefy 1/2 inch bit. The size of the bit you will be using is also going to affect your parts layout.

      Good luck, and have fun!

      Feb 13, 10 11:47 pm  · 

      Hello Mr. Childs

      Feb 23, 10 5:58 pm  · 
      Daniel Childs

      sgs23: So the shelves are intended to serve as a bit of storage because the room is really cramped. I agree they aren't ideal, but one of the design criteria encouraged a place to store things. I think maybe only having one of these at the higher level would create a nook in the underside of the table. It would be a little out of the way, but also not bother your knee's and shins.

      Balagan: Thanks for the tips. I will definitely factor in the screws to fix the board to the bed. I've talked with a few people that have also told me that the edges won't be 90 degrees, so we'll have to do some testing to see what it can handle.

      Thanks for the input folks!


      Feb 23, 10 7:05 pm  · 

      Good morning Dan,
      My posting of Feb 23 didn't seem to make it "to the table" so to speak. It was one after the very short hello post. Don't know why? I'll try and duplicate it later today after classes.

      Mar 1, 10 7:32 am  · 

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