The Icon

Fall 2011

Role: Designer, Mechanical Engineer

Team: 2 Students (Architecture, Mechanical Engineering)

Skills: CAD Modeling, CAM (Computer Aided Machining), Form Design, Design for Manufacturing

Tools: Rhinoceros, MasterCAM, CNC Router

The Icon is a simple chair manufactured with CNC routed plywood and waterjetted aluminum flexures. A slight curve in the back and seat areas of the chair were designed to offer a comfortable seating location for people of all sizes.  The chair is assembled entirely with pressfit joints; there are no adhesives or pieces of hardware.  Two flexures at the front of the chair encourage the seated user to bounce out of the chair as they stand up.

We  created a CAD model in Rhinoceros and continued to iterate on the design as we created scale prototypes. My partner and I began 3D printing our initial design to analyze the visual design language.  Next we moved to lasercut masonite models to more closely simulate the 2D manufacturing process of CNC routing.  We experimented with multiple locations of a flexure to add movement to our chair.

My partner and I were the only team able to CNC route two chairs from the one sheet of 8x4' plywood given to us, due to our balance between strength and minimal use of material.  We split our chair into multiple parts to conserve plywood and add a beautiful joint detail.  If this chair were to be manufactured in high volumes, the minimal use of material would reduce cost and manufacturing time.