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V4 Product Design – Furniture

This topic contains 44 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Eric Hunting 6 days ago.

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.

@v-varella 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 19:15

Some references from furniture I have been looking at…

02/06/2019 at 20:00

A cabinet
A simple cabinet that could be made with variations in height and with/without doors. The two sides are cut and bent to become the structural part and the shelves (min 2 – there could be more) ‘passed through’ the sides. The idea is to avoid screws here and do all the joinery with the material itself (still not fully designed).

Both sides can be made out of 1 sheet.

The way I see it, it could be rather nice if the sides were made in speckled, multicoloured plastic, and the shelves and doors (if any) in translucent plastic, so when you put stuff in it, that changes the colour of the cabinet.

—Machines needed: 2 (sheet press & bending)
Number of pieces/parts: 5 (7 with sliding doors)
Steps: 1.Make plastic sheet, 2.cut&router (router only if sliding doors) 3.bend 4. assemble
Tools: Bandsaw or router, sander.

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?

02/06/2019 at 21:56

Those are some brilliant ideas.
Again I like the modularity.
Every part an optional colour.
no piece needs to be the same!

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.

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?

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 09:08

And to bring it back on topic, here is how EUIPO defines design:

Please also note the statement about the added value of design…


Their databases are also a good source for public domain / expired registrations.

This forum and one army are covered under EU copyright law, at least as far as the EU is concerned.


@frogfall : registration of designs or proofable ‘prior art’ also act as lawyer-repellent. They are mostly used to prevent you getting sued over copyright infringements.

I work with copyrights on a daily basis, have registered and unregistered (but published) designs and have even registered my own Tradename. None meant to go in the offensive, all useful to prevent having to go to court 😉

10/06/2019 at 16:41


So we want to make good quality products that uses easy to reproduce/ interesting processes to make the output apealing for the consumer eyes.
One of the processes that I’ve been digging in since quite a while it’s Bending since it uses one of the peculiarities of the material. You cannot bend metal or wood that easily. But a bending machine it’s expensive and quite especific to consider it accessible for people. What makes us think about another way of bending. The process it’s similar to thermoforming but instead of using vacuum to shape the piece we use a simple two-sided mould that presses the piece after being heated in a conventional oven.

*A little bit of an overkill for such a simple bent but honeslty the accessability makes it worth it.


In order to proof the concept we just described we desided to test a simple stool that implies bending in order to see how does it feel the end result.
– Is it strong enough?

– Does it look good?
– How easy is it to actually make it?
– What things went wrong?

– Can we use it in other materials than just PS?
We wanted to answer all this questions before deciding this is the direction we want to follow. And if we follow it what that actually implies. How much time would we need to refine the process, what is the scalability of this specific method…



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!

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!

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 18:56


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 21:19

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

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