This application generates laser cutting templates for a chair from a sketch.

A collaboration between Greg Saul and the JST ERATOR Design UI Project in Tokyo has resulted in Sketch Chair.

“Sketch Chair” is a exploration in using computation and rapid manufacturing techniques to allow users to design and build their own products or in this case their own chairs.

This Processing-based program allows anyone, no matter how unskilled, to design their own chair with an incredibly simple interface. The program then generates files suitable for laser cutting or CNC milling so that the chair can be manufactured. There are even design aids built into the program. A physics engine allows the chair designs to be tested for stability, and reference objects, such as a piano, helps the user design furniture suitable for use in specific environments.

I can’t fully describe how remarkable this project is. You have to watch the video of the Sketch Chair program in action. Click the image below to open a new window with the video.

I watched the video three times in awe of how elegant the process is. Some of the infinite possible designs this program can produce are below. They recommend making small-scale models in paper of new designs before producing a full-sized version (which is good advice for anyone having their own designs manufactured). To try this out for yourself, the Sketch Chair program is available for download from their site, but they do make a point of saying that it’s in Beta.

If you like this, try our posts relating to Mass Customization or some of the projects using Processing we’ve covered like these laser engraved patterns, paper butterflies, and honeycomb walls.

7 Responses to “SketchChair”

  1. Sketch Chair at Buildlog.Net Blog Says:

    […] am just amazed, and I am not easily amazed.  I saw this at the Ponoko Blog.  This is just plain amazing.  I love Flat-pack and this is like Flat-pack crack.  This program […]

  2. Kate Says:

    Amazing! Incredible! It breaks my heart that this isn’t available for Mac yet, but you better believe I’ll be watching their site like a hawk to wait for it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. SketchChair Software – Design Your Own Chairs | metalpig's blog Says:

    […] via […]

  4. Greg Saul Says:

    Thanks Kate I’m glad you liked it.
    I’ll try and update SketchChair over the next few weeks and hopefully get it onto mac. If you or anyone else would like a email when this happens please feel free to email me at .


  5. duann Says:


    that is cool

  6. Make Prototypes for Laser Cutting at Home « Ponoko – Blog Says:

    […] came across a handy little device for automatically making paper prototypes while researching the Sketch Chair post. Unlike a laser cutter, these home-grade CNC paper cutters are affordable for someone in a […]

  7. Free Course on Processing and Arduino « Ponoko – Blog Says:

    […] help it; there are just too many incredible things being done with them. Just look at this chair-generating software or this amazingly elaborate laser engraved artwork. These are two totally different projects, both […]