Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!


by OmlOml, published

R-chair by OmlOml Oct 22, 2012



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This is a CNC rocking chair. The bed is made from a single sheet of 18mm Birch plywood and the sides from another sheet of 12mm Birch ply. I was working with "living hinges" made from zig-zag cut wood and wanted to see if a whole chair could be made that was flexible enough to bend around the curved form but strong enough to support a person. The clamping joint and "T" peg that I designed for it make it super sturdy once it is assembled. It is really comfy to sit on and makes a wonderful lounger for watching TV, reading or just hanging out. An extra bonus - the lower bed is at pet-level. The family dog, cat or raccoon (some families are bigger than others!) can enjoy the ride with you!


I used a Shopbot to cut out this chair. The file took 10 1/2 hours to cut/print so be prepared to monitor it for a long time! I used a combination of 3mm and 6mm end-mill bits to cut out the upper bed (used the 6mm on the interior of the ends of the upper bed [ON THE LINES] and a 3mm bit on the exterior profile[OUTSIDE THE LINES] and the middle of the upper bed [INSIDE THE LINES]. For the bottom bed and the sides I used a 6 mm bit to cut the outside profile [OUTSIDE THE LINES] and the interior cut-outs [INSIDE THE LINES] ). I cut the upper bed in two phases: PHASE 1: cut out the pocket for the "T" notches (located at the outside ends of the ribs - they look like a square with mouse-ears on two of the corners) on the back of the sheet of ply used. (to do this I had to carefully set up the board so the Shopbot drilled placement holes in the center line and corners of the sheet. I used these to locate the board in the same position when I flipped it to begin phase 2. PHASE 2: Flip and align the plywood; Cut out the interior pocket cuts for the "T" joints; Cut the interior cavities of the pattern; Then cut the outside profile. My settings for the Shopbot were: Feed: 60, Plunge: 30, Passes 5, RPM 12000. The Pockets of the clamping end of the "T" joints were set at 9.25mm deep.

I only used a 3mm bit for the sides and the lower bed. I chose the 3mm bit because it gave a cleaner cut but it does take longer!

When you have cut out the four pieces you will probably want to lightly sand off any splinters from the cuts.

I assembled it by first laying the lower bed on a table and placing one of the middle "T" notches in the clamping joint. To do this I used 4 Irwin brand quick clamps to open and clamp the joint into place. This process took some time and it pays to go slowly so that you don't damage the parts of the chair. after working the first side into place I then set the lower bed on a low stool and let the assembled side rest face down on the work bench while I worked the second side into place using the same process - start in the middle and work to the ends

With the bottom assembled I set the partially assembled chair on a table and draped the top bed over the sides. Again, I started in the middle of the bed and worked toward one end then the other using the quick clamps to open the joints and slip them into place over the "T" notches. The only part that was assembled out of this order was the end with the tightest bend. This end didn't look like it would make the turn if the last clamp joints were connected. I put this in place after I fixed, by hand, the connection problem I mentioned in the warning section above. There are some pictures of the assembly process and the design process at: http://therchair.wordpress.com

This chair was inspired by: the Frank Lloyd Wright re-designed chair made at the Makelab ( http://makelab.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/dining-chair-inspired-the-wright-way/# ) , "Relax" rocking chair by Vernon Panton in 1974, and the work of Gregg Fleishman ( http://www.greggfleishman.com/furniture.html )

Special Thanks to the Fab Lab Wellington and to Massey University for the use of their facilities. https://www.facebook.com/FabLabWGTN
or see their thingiverse page:

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Hi every one. I make it. but it broke. now i change the structure and try to improve it. as soon as i will share my new product.

I'm attempting to make this in a high school drafting class, so we have limited programs to use. I'm using VCarve Pro to make the toolpaths, should I set the router bit on the line, inside the line, or outside the line?

It really depends on the size of the bit that you use and how you want to cut it. If you cut it like I did then Use a 6mm bit "ON THE LINES" on the interior top and bottom of the main bed (you will see that there are straight lines in these parts as opposed to long ovals)[note: this bit caused my plywood to "blow-out" and splinter the underside of the plywood- you may want to switch to a 3mm bit for this section and cut "OUTSIDE THE LINE" or do some tests to see if a slower speed and a brand new 6mm bit will cut it cleaner]. On the interior middle (the long ovals) I used a 3mm bit and cut "INSIDE THE LINE" On the exterior profile of the main bed I used a 3mm bit and cut "OUTSIDE THE LINE". On the sides and the bottom bed I cut the exterior profiles using a 6mm bit "OUTSIDE THE LINES" and the interior cut-outs by cutting "INSIDE THE LINES" - Hope this helps. Oh and, please post some photos of your chair when it is done and any comments on what could be done to improve it or the process.

Thank you! We have a CNC machine with a 2 1/2' x 2' bed so we have to tile the toolpaths. What do you think about cutting on the lines for everything, using a spiral down-cut bit on a new spoil board with each cut?

It looks very nice. I however don't have access to Adobe, but merely solidworks, mastercam, and a large CNC machine. Might it be possible to host files of a more vendor neutral manner (DXF is what the forums tell me I should import from AI to SW? Thanks
~one of many broke students

Done. Pls post photos of what you make:)

i have make this file in 6mm thickness

what should i do ?

can i use all for 6mm thikness

Not sure what you mean... I tried several different thicknesses of plywood and the only ones that worked for me were the thicker 18mm birch ply (read the blog that is linked to the description of the chair). I would think you would need to use steel if you intend to make it 6 mm thick.

i made in 4mm thik MDF for just show modl
where can i post that pic to u >?
on your email address ?

Great work! It looks really nice like that. I am sure it was faster to cut than on the cnc : )

i cut tht in laser co2

First of all, that's an amazing work! Thank you!

I am preparing a file for cutting it right now and I have a question - can you explain please why did you have to flip the board in the beginning? or did I misunderstood something?
I'm going to cut everything with a 6mm bit and I hope it will take less than 10 hours since it's an UpDown bit and I'm going to cut everything in a single pass..


Thanks for your compliment and good luck cutting it in one pass! Please post some photos of your finished work and comments on any part of the process or design that might need revision. I had to flip the board because the design has joints that rely on pockets -or- cut outs on both sides of the plywood. These don't go all the way through the wood so it needed to be flipped so that the CNC could cut them out properly.

As it sounds like you had to fight with the Shopbot software, would you mind also posting a copy of the actual Shopbot files that work without breaking bits etc.?

Dont have the shopbot files anymore. However, while I had issues with the software reading the files to start with that problem resolved itself when I started with an .ai format. Give the downloadable files a try and let me know if you have problems.

Please upload the corrected files! I want to give this a try.

Files have been updated and uploaded. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

Looking forward to the updated files so I can make one. My CNC machine work area is 100cm x 150cm I hope this will fit.

I don't think it will fit as the bed of the chair is cut from a 240 cm long sheet of ply.

Excellent work. I bet this will be around for a long time. I think you have set the standard for recliners

Very nice!
Maybe you could move the cnc files to this thing though, instead of each in a separate thing?

Fantastic job! That is a work of art. I wish I had access to a CNC mill so I could make one.