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Product Design for the sheetpress (V4)

  • This topic has 17 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Stan.
Vicente Varella v-varella

Product Design for the sheetpress (V4)

17/10/2018 at 12:26

Hello community!

My name is Vicente and I’ll be designing products for the upcoming sheet press that we are developing for V4. During the next weeks I’m going to be researching in this areas:
1. Products made by sheets –> in order to identify different product ranges that we can achieve.
2. Plastic sheet properties & techniques –> in order to understand better the material and it’s capabilities. Also unions.
3. Workshop interviews –> in order to get in depth with the actual status and demands of the community.

My intention is to keep track of all the product development process here. And hopefully get some feedback and insights from you. So as a starting point I will upload now my brief research about products made by plates/sheets.

Please feel free to share your thoughts about the different ranges options that I gathered. Would it be cool to make furnitures/toys..? yes, no? why? What ranges of products do you think of when thinking on flat surfaces? …
Any constructive opinion is welcome 🙂

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17/10/2018 at 12:27

Extra pictures

18/10/2018 at 21:02

Nice  thanks!

18/10/2018 at 21:36

Based on the results shown above I figured you found out that there’s a lot of inspiration to be gained from the wood-working/furniture making industry regarding this. Search for cnc-produced or lasercut products and you’ll gain more inspiration than you wish for.
That said, I could be interested in buying sheets of recycled plastic if they’d be available, to offer to my clients or to just try and make some products out of them. Preferably solid pieces, not flexible sheets.

24/10/2018 at 16:44

Hi, thanks for the input @siemenc. Indeed with CNC and plastic sheets the possibilities are endless. We are currently building a CNC milling machine for this purposes so I’ll keep you updated ;). For your information we are already making a sheetpress and we have started testing different materials and thicknesses. Our goal is to show how to build one by the end of July.

Regarding the research during the next weeks I’m gonna try different techniques and ideas in order to learn how the material behaves. I’m gonna keep posting the progress here.

24/10/2018 at 16:45

And more…

24/10/2018 at 16:53

Good stuff! Let me know if I can help out, I got quite a bit of experience with cnc-machines. (that is, using them and designing parts and drawings for them. Not building.)

26/10/2018 at 22:24

to shred and extrude plastic toys to create other toys?my opinion is that they must be transparent ….. improve the quality of the recycled plastic product making it transparent.I think the plastic design is art ….

04/11/2018 at 09:43

Hey @v-varella , great job there with the joints and beautiful plastic sheets made. Also really liked your references, so..

Here are two of mine recent design-for-plywood-but-could-be-plastic furniture design projets, that i would like to share w/ you. The ropes and textile are made from recycled plastic,  here in Brazil, so probably there would be no problem to find similar to sell up in Eindhoven.

Looking forward to see great things getting exponential cooler soon 🙂

07/11/2018 at 20:27

Hello everyone,
This week we have structured a little bit the way we post in the forums and we concluded that the tests that we’ve been doing so far could become a topic itself. So people can find all the properties of the plates and experiments that we make in the same place. So please follow this link if you are interested in this specific topic.

For now this topic is going to stick with the topic of product design for the sheetpress. And most probably I will put here all the joinery for the products and designs that we come up with.


09/11/2018 at 18:36

Design test: Trying to reproduce Enzo Mari open chair

Objective: Learning how easy/difficult is to make a chair by the user with raw material.

Material: PP

Tools: Caliper, pencil, clamps, Jigsaw, table saw, miter saw, Sanding Machine, drill, three size screws, countersink drill bits.


Past week I found this short book called <i>”Proposta per un’autoprogettazione“</i>. It talks about the project done by Enzo Mari in 1974 in which he designed +20 open source products to teach people how to make their own furniture. By doing this he wanted people to understand the real value of the products they buy. So in a way he wanted to help people create their own criteria around consumer goods.  He says in one of the texts that <i>”…the method is extremely simple and is the one used by carpenters to build their work benches and scaffolding, a semi-spontaneous method which is very easy to learn.”</i>

I wanted to try this and learn from the users perspective. The reason why I did it is because I’m interested in the relation that the user has with his objects. And I think that by forcing the user to build it, In a way it already establish a different relation with the object.


Well, the book says that with a nail and a hammer you could make it easily. But that’s not the case with plastic. I tried just for fun, but didn’t work out. So instead I used screws. Following the conclusions of the first test I had to prehole everything before screwing on it. I wanted to use only one sheet (75cm x 105cm) but ended up using spare parts of previous sheets as well. I used different cutting techniques. Among all, the table saw and the miter saw were the ones I used the most. And It was certainly easy to make all the parts. The output result was a little bit rough and unpolished but still useful for a simple chair. The worst part was to make sure all the parts were tighten in the right angles. And that made me think about the demand of a more intuitive joinery system.
Here you can see a video I did following the process.


–  The chair is pretty solid, thanks to the simple but good design.
–  It’s very comfortable but a little bit unstable (wavely) because of the PP beams I cutted.
–  Cuts still has to be polished after in order to achieve good output.
–  Cutting is a process that needs from big machines. And most people don’t have access to them. So parts should be provided to the user already prepared to assemble. What the user do have is screw machines and hammers.
–  The need of a more easy, intuitive joinery system that does not lead to confusion to a non experienced user is real.
–  The large beams I cutted from the sheet are not ideal because they are pretty flexible.
1. A possible solution could be trying other materials HDPE could be one.
2. Maybe using extruded beams instead could improve the rigidity along the profile.

24/12/2018 at 18:02

Hi Vicente ,
for the (wavely movement) you can use cross beam legs like this pic its called Valoví Chair one of opendesk design you can check them too https://www.opendesk.cc/

18/03/2019 at 14:47

So I’m new here, just found you via the youtube videos…

One of the flaws I see is that the HDPE isn’t quite stiff or strong enough to support the weight of a person- so even if you change the design, the stiffness isn’t the same as a piece of wood that originally was used for the furniture.  Given the threads I’ve looked over, the cause is a combination of things- but the two leading ones are inclusions (bubbles) and just material properties.

Since I’m new here, I’m not sure if anyone has seen this paper that I just found this morning- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/pen.10053


This will address the physical properties of the HDPE, and given the blending, it will also include other waste streams into the mix.

edit- btw, again, not sure if people know this or not, but CaCO3 is what mostly makes up eggshells.  It’s pretty easy and common to get as a waste stream.

But I think the other suggestion was brought up in one of the threads I read- where you need to process the chips into more manageable and consistent parts via the extrusion machine- which will also allow you to blend the waste materials to achieve a better physical property mix.    If you add a small, well timed, chopper at the end of the extrusion machine, and drop the plastic into water, that would work really well.

Here in the US, I’ve seen many chairs made from recycled plastic, and I’ve not looked into how they blend it- but using that blend and method, the chair in the above gif would likely be stiff and strong enough.

18/03/2019 at 19:03

@alfadriver unfortunately, that paper appears to be behind a paywall

18/03/2019 at 20:07

That is interesting and unexpected- as it comes up….  So not knowing what the copyright rules are, I’m pretty sure I can post the title, authors, etc..

“Improvement of the Mechanical Propertiesof an HDPEPS Blend by Compatibilizationand Incorporation of CaCO”


Centre des Matteriaux de Grande Diffsion [CMGD)
Ecole des Mines d’AlIes
6 auenue de Clavieres, 30319 Ales Cedex, France

Materiaux a Flnalites Specifiques (MFS)
Universite de Toulon et du Var
BP 132, 83957 La Garde Cedex, France

Hope that information can help find a copy of this paper that looks to be relevant to development of the sheet plastic, as well as the whole plastic project as a whole.  It appears to be a public paper.

If someone knows copyright laws in the EU, perhaps they can figure out if this is a public paper or not- which means one can turn it into a pdf and post it someplace accessible by everyone in this project.

19/03/2019 at 01:48

So can one upload PDF files?  I found a few more that may be helpful-
HDPE + Clay- https://ac.els-cdn.com/S1319610310000335/1-s2.0-S1319610310000335-main.pdf?_tid=4e95db37-39c2-4f71-afb2-9690b3915960&acdnat=1552952405_f6c77b94283b807576eab08cc1cc23f4  This is from Iraq and for pipe making

HDPE + talc and carbon fiber  https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/6/9/4122/pdf

Plastic + wood fibers has a Wiki page- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood-plastic_composite

Not sure if all of those links work- but the idea of making a composite material before melting into a plate may make it a lot stronger.  While Carbon Fiber isn’t something even I can find, wood and natural fibers are.  And CaCO3 is cooked and very ground egg shells.   And with the right combination, the sheets may become more structural for things.

19/03/2019 at 02:01

The topic of fiber reinforcement is an interesting topic. @lagrenouille is using it for surfboard fins http://onearmy.world/community/forums/topic/surfboard-fins-by-injection/  While there is some discussion about future recyclability, it definitely expands the possible applications for recycled plastic.

Thanks for the links

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