Prompt: Design a working seat out of cardboard.
Constraints: – must withstand 250 lbs. – must use only 4′ by 8′ of single-ply corrugated cardboard – the cardboard can only be cut into three separate pieces
This project was possibly the most hands-on project from this semester in my opinion. While we did do research on torsion, physics, and the strengths and weaknesses of corrugated cardboard, most of our understanding of the materials and the final product centered around trial and error.
I began with some quick concept sketches, and used these sketches to build some 1/12 scale paper models, then moving onto 1/6 scale 1 ply chipboard models. These were fundamental in helping me understand how to build strength with aesthetic appeal.
These designs focused on making the support visible, making it easy for the user to visualize and understand how the chair supports weight. While these designs were relatively supportive, they were also a bit simple and boring, so I experimented with angles and opposing forces at full scale.
The aesthetics of my earlier model (on the left) were very pleasing and resembled leaning back in a comfortable recliner, however I misjudged the angle of the back and the cardboard did not support much weight. To combat that I angled the chair forward instead of back, which would oppose the weight of the user. This became my final design.
I originally considered attempting to build the entire chair out of one continuous piece of cardboard, but found that without extra support the chair would collapse inwards. The outer bottom flaps folded inward to form a triangle (the strongest shape), and the thinner top flaps would fold over the triangles to form the seat and hold the whole chair together. The two rectangular pieces slot into the bottom of the chair before the assembly to create another triangle to completely support the user.