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Printable Furniture Gives DIY a High-Tech Update

Greg Saul has created a program that lets anyone design and print a flat-pack piece of furniture.

A young designer has produced what might be a glimpse of the future of everyday, at-home design: A program that allows you to easily create a 3-D model of a flat-pack chair, which can then be sent to a laser-cutter for fabrication.

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Designer Greg Saul worked with the JST ERATO Design UI Project in Tokyo to pull off the program, called Sketch Chair.

It’s simply a 3-D design program whose only function is to help you design a chair. That allows for a super-simple UI, which anyone can use–for example, you can add a curving, high back to a chair simply by clicking an dragging. And when you’re almost finished with your design, you can model the chair for how it would respond to a persons weight or see if its proportioned correctly by having the program to place your creation alongside real-world products.

When your design is done, you can then print out templates for cutting out a little paper model–and then send the drawings to a laser cutter, to realize your design in plywood.

Obviously, it’s gonna take a few more interations for programs like these to produce truly beautiful, polished designs, but as a first approximation of a Brave New World of DIY design, it’s pretty impressive.

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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