Hey, thanks very much for checking out my blog!
Last week I promised to discuss the influence of Chuck Taylor shoes on my chair design. However, I need to take a short break from my rocker to create a bench for a block-improvement effort in the Dayton’s Bluff Community.
In this post, I will describe the bench design and invite you to help build it! Interested? Shoot me an email at [email protected]!
All participants will learn how to solvent weld PVC. The skill is used to build many exciting maker projects from potato launchers to musical instruments like the ones played by the Blue Man Group. In fact, the bench that we build can be used both for rest and to play a few tunes while waiting for the bus!
To make construction easier, I designed the bench in 6 sections. Each section is 39 inches long and 19 inches wide. Five of the sections are identical (just oriented differently) and one section is unique. Once I have all of the sections on site, I will bolt 3 pipes from each section to 3 pipes in an adjacent section.
The design uses PVC pipes of 5 different lengths with the longest pipes serving as the legs of the bench. Standard bench height is 18 inches and each section of the bench has four 18 inch-long pipes. Placement of these bench legs will be important for balance and stability.
Hey, thanks for checking out my blog! Last week I promised to write about creating the exterior of my chair. Below, I describe my thought process around editing the seat shape, choosing a color and an exterior finish. I also discuss the mistakes I made and how I corrected them.
First, I needed to ensure that the ergonomic seat I had just carved from spray foam and covered in body filler would be comfortable for any adult. Minne-faire was approaching, so I decided to display my unfinished chair in order to collect some data about the comfort level of the seat and whether or not I needed to edit the shape. My carving mistake was quickly revealed: every woman who tried the seat loved it and every man found the back half of the center ridge too high! Oops! Luckily, that was an easy fix.
Second, I considered the color. I could not decide between bright orange and white so when I invited visitors to try out the seat, I also asked them to vote for a color. Their choice was clear: classic bright red!
Third, for a sleek, contemporary look I decided to give the chair a fiberglass finish. Most of the chair received one layer of fiberglass and 4-5 layers of resin. The seat and back were coated with 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and 5 layers of resin. Between each layer I sanded the resin from 80-150-220 grit which turned out to be a mistake. Each non-final layer of resin should only be sanded to 80 grit so that the next layer will easily adhere.
The extra sanding did help by yielding a perfectly smooth surface before applying the next layer of resin. However, despite the smooth application surface, each new layer of resin consistently produced substantial mars & dents. I seemed unable to pour a smooth layer of resin which made me wonder if I was ever going to be happy with the finish.
I thought that using fiberglass resin would negate the need to paint the chair because the resin can be tinted with universal pigments (the kind that your local paint store uses). The hardware store where I bought the resin threw in the pigment for free and I combined them in a plastic bucket. The resin color looked perfect in the bucket! But once on the chair I realized that resin is super translucent because it contains no opaque base. Therefore, the 2 different colors of body filler I used on the seat were very visible, even through 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and resin!
If I ever do this again, I will make sure that the color of my chair before laminating is consistent throughout. With an even-colored base, the tinted resin and fiberglass cloth would have been adequate coverage. Still, to get a smooth surface I would have to spray the resin rather than pour or brush it on.
The difficulty in achieving a smooth surface combined with the translucency of the resin made me realize that I must paint the chair. After pricing High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint spray guns ($180), primer spray guns ($50), paint ($100), and the rest of the equipment I would need to do the job myself, I decided to save some money and have my chair painted at an auto body shop ($250). But this will be my final step and there is a lot more to do before I get there.
Next time, I will discuss the influence of Converse All Star sneakers on my design.
Twin Cities Maker is going to have a Mini Maker Faire at the Hack Factory on February 13th, 2010! Come one, come all! We’re planning to have the fun start at 2 PM with local makers exhibiting and playing in the newly acquired space. We will also have an Art Show and Party later that night for people to come and experience the space and have some refreshments.
We are looking for you to join us and we are also looking for people to exhibit! If you’re interested, please contact us at [email protected] so we can reserve a spot for you! Also come to our regular Wednesday night meetings if you would like to help us out or get some ideas for your table.
ADMISSION IS FREE!
There will be raffles throughout the day for maker stuff. Light refreshments will be provided at the art show and party.
Makers for the day include:
Please join us to support the Hack Factory and local makers by becoming a member or making a donation.
Mini Maker Faire 2-6 PM
Art Show & Party 7-11 PM
Refreshments are being provided courtesy of CazTek Engineering , a local design and engineering firm.
Click one of the images below to get a full page PDF copy of a promotional flyer.