Follow in the footsteps of such designers as Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen and make your own furniture. Sounds too complicated? It isn’t with the new open-source software tool SketchChair.
This furniture is designed or customized using a simple 2d drawing interface. The program automatically generates a structure for your chair and lets you simulate sitting on it with a virtual model of yourself, so you can customize the furniture to your individual proportions.
That means you can make furniture in all sizes to adults, children or even to a doll house. A physics engine tests the stability of the chair, allowing you to ensure that the chair will stand and comfortably support you. But you aren’t restricted to designing chairs. You can use the tool to make tables, stools or even rocking horses.
The software automatically generates cutting profiles for the chairs, which can then be used to make physical SketchChairs. Using a cnc router, laser cutter or paper cutter, these parts can be cut from any suitable flat sheet material, and then easily assembled by hand. You can send your designs to an online digital manufacturing service such as ponoko.com to be cut, or alternatively a local community workshop or Fab Lab.
The flat-pack and lightweight nature of the chairs makes shipping them affordable, providing an opportunity to a wide audience of people to get their own customised SketchChairs.
SketchChair started as collaboration between Greg Saul and the JST ERATO Igarashi Design UI Project in Tokyo. He has now started the Diatom Studio with Tiago Rorke because he believes that personal fabrication is fundamentally changing the face of design, and that tools like SketchChair will be important steps towards making these tools accessible to anybody.
Download the software here