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V4 Product Design – Furniture

Tim Slab timslab

V4 Product Design – Furniture

21/05/2019 at 11:08

Hey people!
We are now embarking on the Product Design phase of the project. There are several ‘topics’ we are tackling and this one will be focused on Furniture design. We will share our thinking along the way and are open to your ideas and suggestions.

has created a topic about Product Development in which he speaks of the core “values” that Precious Plastic products should hold. We should strive for Precious Products to:
1. Change the perception of recycled plastic to a valuable and versatile resource.
2. Engage with new audiences by building excitement around the material.
3. Produce with techniques that encourage local high quality output.
4. Embrace the unique qualities of the material.
5. Share accessible tools that enable the community to overcome challenges.
6. Explore the world of possibilities that the machines can offer.
7. Commit to circular economy principles and not contribute to other problems in the long term.

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02/06/2019 at 19:01

3rd idea is a bench – either for indoors or outdoors.

This one is made of 2 sheets bent at almost 90 degrees, to create the spine of the bench and make it structurally sound, you can make both parts from one sheet. Then at the bottom bit, I’m looking at different solutions… some could be really straight forward, others a bit sharper.
Another solution for the bottom section would be using beams, but that adds a 3rd machine to the process and I wonder how many workshops are that complete really…

A nice thing about this design is you can attach one bench to another and make really long ones…

—Machines needed: 2 (sheet press & bending)
Number of pieces/parts: 5 (might need two sheet thicknesses)
Steps: 1.Make plastic sheet, 2.cut, 3.bend 4. mechanical fasteners or glueing(?)
Tools: Bandsaw or router, sander.

28/05/2019 at 19:15

Going modular is indeed a great concept.

Just provide the basic building blocks and ‘a table’ can adjust to the ever changing taste of its owners.

23/05/2019 at 22:03

with some luck we have permission and access to publish a receipt about mixing carbon fiber with polymers via v4 extruder, funded by a recycling company. i am still waiting for green light to build it in june, finger cross

23/05/2019 at 20:30

Exactly why the model should also allow ‘profit’ on the Intelectual Property, otherwise the machines will always be the end product, instead of the actual products made with the machines from recycled plastic.


To evolve the product designs must be able to become more than mere samples you get with buying/building the machine.


Again, not saying designs could not be ‘free’, just pointing out that when you demand “workspaces should be enabled to make a profit”, part of this profit should flow to the designer of the product, just as you pay wages for having somebody else build your machine.

23/05/2019 at 19:58

@2019, i know through friends that vanplestik does it; as soon stuff works just forget that those folks are contributing or sharing details (cry)

20/08/2019 at 23:20

Hey everybody!

I want to share with you some designs ive been working on.
Big Hugs!


15/07/2019 at 21:17

@leonheld , The testing does not have to get overly scientific. You just need to be able to repeatably and safely apply a measurable load in a way that’s meaningful to the joint you are considering. I made some suggestions in the joinery topic. http://onearmy.world/community/forums/topic/injected-joinery-for-modular-construction/
Your first picture in the July 15 post shows the issue you are dealing with. The beam second from the left, with the high void content will behave differently than a solid section beam and the joint evaluation could be skewed. You have several basic questions, first does the extruded material have the typical strength properties published for that plastic. Second, if you are borrowing woodworking designs, does the plastic have comparable strength properties to wood when grain orientation is accounted for.  Third, if the wood equivalent joint is bonded, does your heat bonding technique create a joint as strong as the base material.
Each of these can be tested with a fairly simple compression or tension test configuration. I think you have enough shop press type frames available that this is a capability that could be set up in PPHQ. If you have any mechanical engineers joining the group, they should be familiar with the techniques.

Without a way to get quantitative data, it gets difficult for users to adopt your results without doing a lot of prototyping.

That said, thank you for your work, I really like the peg friction weld technique.

10/06/2019 at 21:19

It was suggested I link this topic on Plastic Gridbeam here in case it might be of interest. Thanks.

10/06/2019 at 18:56


I have some of his books in Eindhoven, if you like to browse them. I could drop them by.
I’m also sure that if you contact him, he’ll be more than happy to share his skills in exchange for any info he could use. Bowyers are craftsmen, always interested in improving their skills!



The hotbox specs confusions are probably a ‘better safe than sorry’ scenario.

Our backyard bowyer is pragmatic (hey, my house didn’t burn down, it works!), while a manufacturer must off course be 100% idiot proof in their specs.

Selling these hot-boxes commercially, I don’t think so. Build your own DIY hotbox: Proof of Concept delivered!

10/06/2019 at 17:02


Might seem off topic, but this reminds me a lot of techniques used to build PVC bows.

This guy has done a lot of pioneering on the subject.

So I don’t know about this specific technique, but plasticsmithing can also be used on other plastics. And yes, it is strong. The drawweights of the bows you can build this way are more than sufficient to survive any Zombie Apocalypse!

02/06/2019 at 23:17

ETSY has a summary of the intellectual property topic https://www.etsy.com/legal/policy/copyrighting-and-protecting-your-work/242644599081 . It is based on US copyright law. EU probably has different definitions. It is interesting how furniture falls into a murky area because of its utilitarian application.

02/06/2019 at 19:03

This is a variation of the previous bench, with a different lower part (easier to cut)
+ an exploded view of both models.

02/06/2019 at 11:10

Hello @donald
Open source products is a hot topic and there is much to be discussed when it comes to how to make profit.
I believe that designers should earn something from each sell as they have made that possible in a way. However important it is this is not something we are referring here.
We shared this values in order to show what we stand for when designing for V4. Enable workspace to make profit is one of our clear focuses since we’ve seen people struggling with this, (long and slow processes, expensive collection system, not always the best output, lack of functionality…) This are problems that can be addressed from the designers point of view when a product has to be design. (Using the right amount of plastic, processes that are accessible yet gives a nice output, consistency through repetition and dividing production by stages to agilize the process…) This are all design considerations that will help enabling somebody who repeats the design make better profit on their products.
Having said that, this values are not ment to be a call for designers to give their designs for free. This is just to show what we stand for when designing products here in Eindhoven. If we ever make a platform such as open desk in which people can upload their designs, get tested and then accepted in our catalogues to produce wherever there is a PP machine then we can talk about designers rights. But that’s Butn the case now, maybe in the future. For now we are a bunch of designers contributing to V4 and that means that the same way we have engineers making a sheetpress we as a designers will make products as part of our contribution.
I hope this clarifies a bit what we ment by that even though I haven’t dig much into the open source topic. Thanks for sharing your comments.

29/05/2019 at 16:00

great stuff, with a few angle side brackets (from recycled aluminium 🙂 to enforce the angles you have a solid product 🙂

23/05/2019 at 22:28

@pporg , sounds like a great project. Looking forward to your results. When @timslab showed his tube rolling results I wondered how hard it would be to introduce a reinforcing fiber (tape). Sort of an in-situ resin transfer or prepreg process.
Good luck

23/05/2019 at 21:56

Yes, a freelance designer should always have a plan for managing their designs and other intellectual property. It may be easier to do with an engineered CAD file for a product mold than for a sketch of a chair. I think this forum and PP are promoting an open source environment but I’m not sure there are any restrictions about advertising custom design services in the Bazar.

15/08/2019 at 12:28

Hey @ramm thanks for the contribution.. nice take on using the flexibility of the plastic, instead of cutting so much a big sheet could even be heated and bent into that form. We’re currently doing quite a bit of development with bending, perhaps we can prove your concept and inspire another workspace somewhere out there to take your design into reality 🙂

15/07/2019 at 13:36


15/07/2019 at 13:07

Friction weld
maybe my favorite so far and a true advantage of plastic! I extruded a very thin round profile (ø10mm) from PP to get some proper dowels. A simple pressure fit didn’t maintain at all, so heat needed to be involved. After shrinkage, the dowels got a diameter of 9.5mm, I cut them into pieces and chamfered one side with a pencil sharpener. Then I put them into a drill at highest speed and pressed it with the chamfered tip into a 7.5mm hole. Friction will melt and bond the materials together, you can even see a mixed color ring around the dowel. Make sure to let the material cool down before removing the drill from the dowel to ensureproper bonding! Then just trim of the excess (and make sure to recycle it!) and give it a smooth finish with a sharp chisel or knife.
In the second example I combined it with a mortise joint, the last example uses the same technique to join a beam and a sheet, both incredibly strong. Both for the sake of a circular economy and a better bonding make sure to use the same resin throughout all pieces!

mortise and tenon
third example is the only one made from PS and it’s another level of difficulty. The material itself is pretty strong and useful for structural parts of furniture, but machining is a hell of lot more difficult as it melts fast and sticks to the blades and bits. In terms of the joint it’s crucial to give it enough tolerance as there is no such thing as flexibility with PS. A good way is to avoid hammering the pieces together, it will result instantly in cracks. The heat gun did a good job in bonding together! In terms of strength, the torque is insane!

29/06/2019 at 15:36

I agree with @S2019 , Heatwelding might be the finishing touch on this kind of join.
These kind of joins come from green woodworking which is dependent on the fresh wood to ‘shrink’ as it dries out.
Short of plastic doing the same, some extra ‘convincing’ will be needed to keep the join steady.

Other joineries are also good options, but as the question was about this kind of joinery, my answers is limited to ‘yes, but weld’.

29/06/2019 at 01:10

here the shrink wrap variant, doesn’t affect the support material when broke, enables also easy fix. PP wise that requires a ~750W Extrusion with some addons, a 2Kw shredder, mostly semi-automatic. other than that, there are 3D prints. i guess the target audience is then well established studios or shops … I think I still have some catalogs on the subject; let me find it and check how it fits to v3 and v4 and the rest of the gang 😉

28/06/2019 at 20:54

Do you plan to do any quantitative strength testing of the joints? It does not look like there is a lot of material left in the mortise part, or do you plan to heatweld the joint?

10/06/2019 at 18:29

@donald , Thanks for the link…Just what I needed, another hobby rabbit hole to investigate. I did find it interesting how he picks the PVC for toughness in this video (1:45) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTkNNbZk5Ms . I always thought of PVC as brittle, this may open up some options in addition to the obvious Zombie prep. Also the use of dry wall as hotbox liner is interesting. The actual specs are confusing. For example the fire rated drywall get a 3-4 hour fire rating but the manufacturer states to avoid prolonged exposure above 52 C.

10/06/2019 at 18:13

Thanks for the reference @donald

For the upcoming week I’m going to research more in the process and see what can we learn from already used processes. Glass slumping, wood bending, plastic forming and all sort of different processes that might share some similarities in order to have a broader perspective of it.

I’ll keep updating!

03/06/2019 at 00:09

The Etsy summary is good – but I notice it skirts around details of the Design Patent (known as a Registered Design in other countries).

In the EU there is also Unregistrered Community Designprotection – which is shorter, but doesn’t involve the same cost as a Registered Design.

None of them are much use if you haven’t got the money to take any infringers to court. 😉

03/06/2019 at 00:05


Copyright law is effectively Global, through treaties, just not enforced the same everywhere…


Furniture (or indeed any utensil) are indeed harder to grasp than e.g. literature or ‘art’.

The difference is however in the ‘design’.

Is it just meant to be functional, it’s an invention (a device to levitate thyne arse off the floor).
If it is however primarily aesthetic, not just functional, it is design, and as such copyright. An aesthetic variation on the invented utensil. You’d have the copyright over the variation, even though you might not have invented it.


Think Lego: they patented the blocks they invented. Patent expired after 20/30 years, oh sh*t.

Their little ‘man’ they however copyrighted. A lego brickhead is not just technical, it is also aesthetic (designed): copyrighted until XX years after the death of the creator.

Noticed how they are now marketing there ‘brickheads’ instead of bricks?

How a chinese factory got closed because of pirating starwars-lego, not the lego in itself?

02/06/2019 at 21:48

I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.
This topic is a call for designers outside V4 to share.
And  more importantly @timslab has already answered my question.

He asked for more designer input. I asked my designer friends and contacts to help, but they ALL replied with “why are workshops allowed to make money, but we are not?”.
well, you need free designs to bundle with the machines. Fine. I can’t help with this.

what’s the problem?

19/12/2019 at 20:21

I’ve been working on a concept concerning the customization and distribution of  designs. What if it would be possible to build a platform, library or database of high-end customizable designs and models ready for anyone to use and produce. The precious plastic community would be a great platform to implement parametric design in a large decentralized manner.

I’ve made a separate topic in which I elaborate.




30/09/2019 at 04:17

We liked the detailed discussion about copyright which I was grappling with, is the general consensus that once you download a mould and make a product one should acknowledge the source of that mould and would be enough?
The modular concept is awesome

03/09/2019 at 20:27

@teslaecotech , that is a great point. I need to find out what they do with the old blades on this side of the planet. A great source of high quality structural material.

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