SketchChair is an awesome idea. Not only is it a free, open-source software tool that enables almost anyone to realize their dreams of becoming a furniture designer; now the call is out to take SketchChair to the next phase.
The push is on with a Kickstarter campaign where customizable open-source furniture is just the start.
The goal for this project is not just to complete the software and release the source code, but also to build an online community of people creating, sharing and editing designs.
Some pretty solid thinking has gone into this, including a few nice ways to reward people who pledge their support. More modest contributors of $25 will become the proud owners of SketchChair Minis, while higher level pledgers receive full-size customised designs and even the opportunity to collaborate with Greg and the Diatom guys on their very own modern masterpiece.
Find out all about it at Kickstarter, and if you like the way these guys are democratising design, pledge your support before crunch day on May 11.
Make 3D models without a mouse or keyboard using just your hands.
During the Salone del Mobile in Milan the design group Unfold presented this project, L’Artisan Electronique. They designed a virtual interface for making pots which appears to consist of a green laser to detect the user’s hands and a projector to show the effect on the 3D model.
The models were then 3D printed directly into ceramic using what looks like a modified RepRap. Standard 3D modeling software has a steep learning curve, but an interface like this could be used by nearly anyone. There have been quite a few projects recently trying to simplify 3D modeling including our earlier post about the SketchChair.
No previous experience is needed for this free five-week online course.
Processing and Arduino come up pretty regularly on this blog. We can’t 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 accomplished with Processing. What Processing does with software, Arduino does with hardware, and the best thing is that they can be used together, like for these butterflies.
If these great projects have piqued your interest, read about a chance to try out Processing and Arduino for yourself after the jump.
Quickly and easily make paper prototypes with a CNC paper cutter.
Everyone who uses laser cutting for projects eventually encounters the same problem. You carefully double check your files, making sure that all the measurements are just right, send them to the cutter, get back the cut pieces, assemble the project . . . oops. Something isn’t right. Now you have to fix the files, send them back to the cutter, and wait.
Making prototypes can drastically reduce how often this sort of thing happens. For simple projects cutting out paper or cardboard with an X-ACTO works just fine, but this can be aggravating for more complicated project.
I 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 home workshop with prices from only $250 up to around $1200. They use digital vector files like a laser cutter, but instead of a laser they use a small blade to cut the material. While they only cut materials like paper, card stock, or vinyl, they would still vastly simplify the process of making prototypes and models.
Read an overview of different types of CNC paper cutters after the jump.
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.