License: Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa) Intro: World's Best Cardboard Chair QUICK INTRO: (OF COURSE you can just skip to the pictures :-D) This instructable is about making a die-cutter to make THE WORLD's BEST CARDBOARD CHAIR. The chair design is simple --a profile cutout that is stacked. LONG INTRO: The project can be found here as well: http://users.etown.edu/h/hypnarowskj/Projects_cardboard.html Our goal was create a project that was relevant to college students and, as always, to challenge conventional thinking about sustainability. We found that as college students, we deal with very little reality. Our food is prepared, the electricity bills are paid, and we never have to mow the lawn. However, one reality we deal with more than most is relocating (between college and home). Imagine moving everything you own twice, sometimes more, times a year. It can become very tiresome, especially if you want large furniture. We asked the question: How could be both improve this situation while introducing sustainability? The "Cardboard Chair" project was born. Light, recyclable, cheap, and comparably comfortable Cardboard furniture has all the workings of a great solution. Overall, we want to present cardboard furniture as a viable option as opposed to currently available dorm room furniture. Additionally, we will introduce sustainable practices by reusing waste cardboard to build said furniture (rather than recycling it, saving energy needed to do so). Our first prototype is based on Frank Gehrys Wiggle Chair," popularized in the 1970s. Gehry discovered that cardboard layered many times builds enough strength to make it suitable for the everyday use. He went on to create a series of furniture objects, such as the "Easy Edges Wiggle" side chair, that take advantage of the versatility of cardboard as a medium. We will do the same with our chair. DO THIS PROJECT AT YOUR OWN RISK, THERE ARE POWERTOOLS INVOLVED. BE MINDFULL OF SAFETY.
step 1: Materials and Design! YOU NEED THIS - Cardboard - We got all the cardboard we needed at the township's cardboard recycling dumpster. Look for large pieces, but be careful of double ply and triple ply as they are hard to work with (with our system). FREE! - Plywood -Two sheets large enough for the chair's profile. Look for the hardest wood you can find. It needs to stand up against a lot of wear and force! About $40. - Router -Yes we need powertools! Price varies. - Bandsaw blades (2 or 3) -Thin blades, look for flat teeth, and about 1in tall. About 25 each. - Design! -Be creative! THIS WOULD HELP - Projector -This will help with the design. - Design -You will need a design! We picked the Wiggle-like chair. So we took drew an image in MS Paint, then used a projector to project the image onto a plywood board. Then we trace! Now we have our design perfectly on the board! You can likely do this freehand...
Image Notes 1. MS paint is awesome! 2. Design Idea.
step 2: Build Tool! Okay, here we are building the die-cutter to make the cut outs! Steps: 1. Route out groove for chair profile! We went in about .5 in. (The plywood is 1in thick) You will need to do this on two boards, one will have the blade (male), and one will have the matching notch (female). 2. Bandsaw blade! Note when picking bandsaw blade, you want the thinnest one you can get! Get the 1in tall blades. Carefully open package! The bandsaw blades to spring open from the packaging! 3. Cut Bandsaw blade! Bandsaw blades come in closed loops. You will need to cut it open. We used a grinder to cut it open. BE VERY CAREFUL. 4. Install Blade! Wear gloves! You can place the blade into the groove (you will need help!). We wedged ours in with small slices of wood and lots, and lots, and lots of hot glue. I know it sounds dumb, because it is. But it worked! And LETS GET CUTTING!
Note: I made up a word in the video. "Unveal," an odd mixture of the word 'reveal' and 'unveil' both meaning to make visible.
Image Notes 1. It works! Needs some fine touches! 2. See we already cut one out of this cardboard.
step 4: Repeat... Now you need to do this about ... 70 times. Yes, it is going to take time. BUT this will turn out better than other methods, and this will give you the best cardboard chair of all time! Now that you have all the slices: Lets put them together! We used two methods, hot glue and wood glue. We found that the hot glue was fast and easy, but the wood glue made the most solid product. I would recommend a mix. You can speed things up by alternating a slice with small square inserts (See picture).
step 5: Sit and enjoy! This seat is actually VERY comfortable! You can improve this whole project by finishing the chair with fabric and batting. It would be very simple to do with this design. Enjoy! Yes, that's me.
Image Notes 1. Strong!!! 2. Need to get in the gym....
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Comments 50 comments Add Comment
view all 55 comments Sep 21, 2009. 2:05 AM REPLY
i love iv mad 3
Sep 11, 2009. 2:34 PM REPLY
I think this instructable is a great one! I would really like to try and make my own counter height chairs. I bought a counter height table that I got on clearance, but the chairs were sold out. All of my existing chairs are not tall enough. If I came up with an outline like this that would make these chairs slightly taller, I think it would work perfect! From my measurements, I have come up with my chair's seat would need to be 24 inches high. If I wanted to add cushions some sort of foam, would I need to compensate for this added feature in my overall height of my cardboard cut-outs?
I have access to an unlimited supply of really solid, three inch thick cardboard. Next door kids have had their "cardboard houses" standing out in our Washington state rain and still no real breakdown. What about a sawz-all or jigsaw and or core sander ? Is it all about the glue or the paper or a combination of both? I think your die was priceless. quilter2
Sep 7, 2009. 11:35 AM REPLY
There's an easier, safer, and cheaper way to do this.. Take your sheets of cardboard, glue together several sheets (within the area you wish to cut), do this multiple times for however many pieces you need, let sit for a while (24 hours?), and then cut out the pattern using a jigsaw.
Sep 4, 2009. 3:08 AM REPLY
i love chairs, and this is so far the best design i've seen! stools would be way easier i'm assuming :) more more....!
Sep 3, 2009. 2:16 PM REPLY
Right! This chair is just like the one Frank Gehry made. But still, this is a pretty rad (awesome) instructable.
Aug 7, 2009. 8:10 PM REPLY
Wasnt there a famous architect who made chairs out of boiled wood then shaped it like this? sorry i suck at architecture. :P
Sep 1, 2009. 6:44 PM REPLY
Frank Gehry? He made chairs like this, but they were cardboard too.
Aug 9, 2009. 9:32 PM REPLY
sweet! five stars and fav'd:)
Aug 7, 2009. 8:34 PM REPLY Ever since I happened to spot the original wiggly chair in my local museum, I've been dying to make one. You are my hero. <3 I'm not even in college, and have no plans to toss out my furniture unless forced to, but that so wouldn't stop me from having a bunch of cardboard chairs. Definitely a +1 from me!
Aug 7, 2009. 9:32 AM REPLY
your cutting die for the cardboard is one of those incredibly simple ideas that is just pure genius. I'm so impressed plus the chair is amazing
Aug 7, 2009. 5:10 AM REPLY
Aug 6, 2009. 11:02 AM REPLY Why didn't you hinge the two halves of the die? That way the two halves would be in perfect register with each other speeding things up a bit and minimize risk of blade damage if the two halves did not line up. Also a coat of urethane would make it waterproof, more durable and a little bit of structural strength.
Aug 6, 2009. 2:21 PM REPLY
Mugsy Knuckles says:
Aug 6, 2009. 5:42 AM REPLY
How is this sustainable? You have to grind up a bunch of trees to make the cardboard in the first place.
Aug 6, 2009. 7:19 AM REPLY
Good question: Basically the idea is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. What most people do not realize is that this motto is in order of importance. You want to reduce before you reuse and reuse before you recycle. This is due to the energy needs of each: Reduce = ZERO, Reuse = SOME, and Recycle = MOST. SOOO, our point is that we are reducing first (use this before using new futons, etc.) and reuse cardboard. Finally, in the end it can all be recycled, but in
the process you have extended the "lifetime" of the cardboard and you have circumvented the use of futons and other throw-away college furniture. Thats the logic but, of course, as with most projects the message is more important than the product. We want people to think about sustainablity in an innovative way that causes them to reconsider some... preconceptions. :-)
Mugsy Knuckles says:
Aug 6, 2009. 8:31 AM REPLY
"Thats the logic but, of course, as with most projects the message is more important than the product." well, if you think the message is more important than actual facts, there's a word for that too. but I'll stick with "I like your die cutting technique"
Aug 6, 2009. 2:19 PM REPLY
lol you're goofy
Aug 6, 2009. 7:03 AM REPLY Be serious , he is taking cardboard that was already used and reused it again . Also after using it as a chair it can be recycled again .
Mugsy Knuckles says:
Aug 6, 2009. 7:12 AM REPLY I am being serious, that's not what "sustainable" means. This is called "reuse" or "recycling". Words have meanings. Just because "sustainable" is this weeks eco buzzword doesn't mean what ever anyone is doing is that all of the sudden.
Aug 6, 2009. 7:31 PM REPLY Just do some of your own research . Obviously you really don't care what the answer is you get ; you just want to argue . How about this word for you " conservation " that was used by my favorite ultra-conservative Teddy Roosevelt and many others, before it became fashionable to make common sense care of your resources into fads .
Aug 6, 2009. 7:47 AM REPLY But even using that semantic logic, cardboard *is* sustainable. Virtually all cardboard is made from fast growing pine trees, discarded paper, lumberyard waste, and cornstarch glue. The major cardboard manufacturers maintain their own forests (the trees are much cheaper when you own the land) and replant seedlings for each tree they cut down. They also use discarded paper and wood pulp that might have been sent to a landfill. Since the definition of "sustainable" is "conserving an ecological balance by avoiding the depletion of natural resources," even virgin cardboard can qualify as sustainable.
Mugsy Knuckles says:
Aug 6, 2009. 12:49 PM REPLY
You got something to back up that claim about where cardboard comes from?
Aug 6, 2009. 1:46 PM REPLY I certainly do: Check out Elliot S. Rohde's "Producing Corrugated Containers Profitably" and "The Corrugated & Paperboard Container Industry: An Analysis of Current Markets and Prospects for Future Growth" from Business Trend Analysts, Inc. for starters (hint, you'll probably actually have to go to a library and probably get a inter-library loan to read them). I can produce 7 more sources for my information and data if you demand, but before I do so, tell me what sources you would accept as valid and authoritative? Your closedmindedness (indicated by your "kool-aid" statement) seems to me to indicate that you won't accept any data I give you on whatever grounds you can imagine. I happen to own a small craft soapmaking company, and I've done quite a bit of study on packaging materials because I wanted to make sure I was using the best combination of price and ecology--to the point where if I needed to, I would manufacture it myself. I may not be the best expert on the subject, but I *have* done my homework on this subject. If your homework consists of just listening to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, then I suggest you actually learn about the manufacture of kraft paper and cardboard (which is multi-ply kraft paper glued together with cornstarch glue--cornstarch because it's by far the cheapest industrial paper glue, and it just happens to be a sustainable resource in this country).
Mugsy Knuckles says:
Aug 6, 2009. 8:31 AM REPLY
In that case, a chair made of regular wood is sustainable too.
Aug 6, 2009. 9:47 AM REPLY If it's made of fast growing trees that are replaced at the same rate they are consumed, instead of old world forests which are not replaced at the same rate they are consumed, then yes, according to the definition of "sustainability" which I assume you and I agree on, a chair of "regular wood" is sustainable. If the chair made of "regular wood" is made from a resource that is not replaced at the same rate or a greater rate than the rate in which is was consumed, then it is not sustainable. That's why virtually all bamboo products are sustainable: because bamboo grows so fast that it is easily replaced. Redwoods and maples can be sustainable if you severely limit production for several decades, since they grow very slowly. Pine grows faster, so it is a decent sustainable material. Heck, if we reduced our national consumption of oil to one barrel per year, oil would be a sustainable resource, because new oil would be created very slowly. My point was that your comment about cardboard not being sustainable was inaccurate. Cardboard is a very sustainable material, and the companies that make cardboard wouldn't be able to make it as cheaply as they do if it weren't sustainable. To further your suggestion: if the furniture companies planted their own forests to harvest the wood to make their furniture, and replentished their forest after harvesting the lumber, then their "regular wood" furniture would be sustainable. Same if the furniture manufacturer got it from a lumber manufacturer who practiced sustainability by only harvesting fast growing trees that were replaced with seedlings after harvest. However, it is a small (but growing) minority of lumberyards that actually practice that kind of sustainability--many loggers still participate in clear-cut logging that doesn't replace the removed wood. The desire for old-world-forest hardwoods far outpaces the growth cycle of those trees. Cardboard, on the other hand, is almost completely sustainable because of the factors I mentioned earlier: the major cardboard manufacturers do their own logging from their own forests, and replace the harvested wood as it is logged.
Mugsy Knuckles says:
Aug 6, 2009. 12:50 PM REPLY And you're going to have to back those claims up. It's a cool chair, there's no reason to cover it in hippy paint by claiming it's some super eco-freindly product. Stop drinking the Kool-aid.
Aug 6, 2009. 2:29 PM REPLY
I didn't paint it silly billy!
Aug 6, 2009. 2:22 PM REPLY See what I wrote above. No kool-aid here. Just careful study of packaging products before this instructible was ever written...including 9 resources that are not readily available on the internet (but are available through your interlibrary loan or your local college library). However, I doubt you'll accept even those sources, because your own Kool-Aid has blinded you to anything that doesn't agree with your narrow-minded worldview. And I'm no hippy--far from it. I'm a card-carrying dues-paying member of the Libertarian Party and have voted LP since 1988. I share my knowledge freely, because that's how you change things. If you deny reality, you can't change it. You're of this right-wing Kool-Aid mindset that if it's environmentally conscious, it must be left-wing liberal anti-business. That's far from the truth when it comes to paper manufacturing. Some parts of the paper making process were VERY environmentally damaging in the past--but the water and air pollution from the mills has been dramatically reduced since the 1970s. That environmental damage wasn't in the acquisition of the raw materials. The cheapest way to get the raw materials happens to be the most environmentally conscious way, too: grow them yourself close by and replace them. The companies also conveniently get more control over their product when they choose this way. It's a win-win. Paper manufacturers are LOVING the current "environmental" trend, because it's easy for them to put "recycled" on their products because they were that way to begin with!! (Post-consumer content recycling is another matter, since the raw materials have to be obtained from garbage, but pre-consumer recycling has always been a part of the paper industry to maximize the amount of product (and profits) from the raw materials.) It's like all those potato chips that claim "zero cholesterol" to appeal to anyone concerned about their health ... potato chips never had to be changed to get zero cholesterol unless they were fried in lard or tallow, and most weren't because other oils were much cheaper. Why NOT make an eco-claim if your product already is?
Surf Monkey Coconut says:
Aug 6, 2009. 10:59 AM REPLY Good, great! but what you have created here is copyrighted work by Frank Ghery, granted the quality isn't as good as the originals, but this is kind of a thinice instructable... This is similar to teaching people how to make Kate Spade bags, Burberry patterns or Gucci eyeglasses. Wiggle chairs are still available on the market today, I think Knoll owns the design. I would REALLY do your research before commercializing these as you mentioned in an earlier comment.
Aug 6, 2009. 12:56 PM REPLY
hes not selling them, hes just teaching you how to make them. if you go into a furniture store and see a desk you like, but make your own instead of buying it, its not illegal.
Surf Monkey Coconut says:
Aug 6, 2009. 1:17 PM REPLY Its just a cautionary point that needs to be considered. In the August 4th comment, there is a small discussion about selling these. This is a great instructable, I love the behind-the-scenes process behind it, but I knowing a little about 'Intellectual Property' rights, and names as big as Knoll, it may be a good idea to create your own original chair designs rather than copying existing works. After its not illegal to copy someone's work, but it will hurt when they find out about it.
I see how you misinterpreted my statement, it was unclear. We are a student group designing a method for building cardboard chairs. Not this specific design. You can see more about the project and our goals on my site: http://users.etown.edu/h/hypnarowskj/Projects_cardboard.html
Aug 6, 2009. 2:14 PM REPLY thats true, if he didnt know about the other chair (which I'm sure he does and got the idea from it) and decided to sell these, thats where a problem would occur
Surf Monkey Coconut says:
Aug 6, 2009. 3:13 PM REPLY
Excellent! Cardboard rocks!
mr monoply33 says:
Aug 6, 2009. 10:57 AM REPLY
don't know whether to expect it to be heavy or light lol
Aug 6, 2009. 6:23 AM REPLY what happens when that awkward college guy spills his beer all over it? Does it become trash? I semi-agree with JMikeB but I would rasp the fuzzies flat & then use thin (1/16") wood veneers to cover all the exposed cardboard edges and then apply a nice finish to it. I know it's an extra step, but it would help the longevity of the piece and make it look like as solid as it apparently is. Otherwise, it has a sort of "let's just chuck this when we graduate" look about it, because it doesn't look like it would survive much abuse. Nice design, though.
Aug 6, 2009. 5:59 AM REPLY
What you made is called a steel rule die. They are used for cutting all sorts of material and are VERY cheap to make. Good one
Aug 6, 2009. 5:52 AM REPLY
I've always wanted to make one of these! Now that you've conquered this one, maybe you'd like to try another one of Frank Gehry's designs - it looks very comfy! http://www.netropolitan.org/gehry/chair2.html
Aug 5, 2009. 8:38 AM REPLY
You could save the world one green ...(cardboard lol) chair at a time!!!
Aug 4, 2009. 8:13 PM REPLY
No doubt about it. The way you figured out how to cut the cardboard pieces is pure genius!
Jonny Katana says:
Aug 4, 2009. 5:05 PM REPLY
Just a thought about upholstering this... Since you're using this cool, squiggly design, you could simply sew up a long "tube" of fabric (i.e., fold a long piece of fabric in half lengthwise, sew one continuous stitch down the length of the non-folded ends, and turn the whole thing inside out) and slide the tube all the way down the back of the chair, and work it down through the squiggles that compose the seat. From there, pull tight to remove any slack, cut off the extra, and sew shut both ends of the tube. It would take a little bit of fiddling to make sure the fabric hugged the chair tightly (perhaps using semi-elastic fabric would do the trick), but I think this would be a good way to finish off the chair. Very nice Instructable!
Aug 3, 2009. 11:39 PM REPLY I do think that the way you're cutting the cardboard is a novel idea and it does seem to work very well. The only real problem I have is that it seems really expensive at the same time ( from the stats you gave, about $60-$90). Good idea, I just don't personally have the scratch lying around.
Aug 4, 2009. 1:38 PM REPLY Yes, it is not the world's cheapest. We were shooting for a commercial product that could withstand many, many uses. This is only a prototype, but proves the concept.
Aug 4, 2009. 4:58 AM REPLY Wow, that is a brilliant way to cut the cardboard! When you show some problem areas in the video, were you able to amend those somehow so they didn't keep happening?
Aug 4, 2009. 1:32 PM REPLY Well. Somewhat. We began using more and more force to make the process faster (i.e. a sludge hammer) however this ended up destroying the die... So dont do that. I would say that a simple design, and less artistic lines the problems would go away. Less blade = more force per linear inch of blade It was a good prototype though!
Aug 4, 2009. 11:51 AM REPLY
Very cool, and a nice looking chair too! HOWEVER, it would look much nicer if you finished it. It's not going to take the time of upholtering or anything like that. Since you're using paper products (cardboard) just finish with paper mache!
Aug 4, 2009. 10:51 AM REPLY
This is genius...
n8r0n says: It looks like bacon. Tasty bacon cardboard chair!