David Azar

New York

Engineer & Creative Technologist

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Nightstand - CNC Furniture

Fabrication of a nightstand using CAD/CAM techniques and plywood
Tags: Design, Fabrication

About the project

The complete cycle of designing and fabricating furniture is extremely enjoyable. Nightstand is a piece of guerilla furniture built using CAD/CAM techniques.

I needed a nightstand for my apartment and wanted to make it myself to give it more character, as well as to have it exactly the way I wanted it; something portable, that assembles easy and that uses no glue or screws.

This design is simple, yet it offers two different compartments that let me store things with different hierarchical value to me. The top compartment is meant for things that I frequently use when I'm relaxing at home such as a book, a cup of tea or my phone. The bottom one is a more private section where I can place things that I use less often such as a magazine, an accessory or something else.

Tools

Sketchup

Vectorworks

CAM Suite

CNC Router

Birch Plywood

3D model of the assembled nightstand. This helps me understand the relationship between the pieces and the overall dimensions

How was it made?

I started by loosely sketching some ideas in paper and played with cardboard prototypes to test the mechanics and structural logic of the joins. I designed this with the intention of it assembling like a puzzle, where the joins are holding the structure itself.

Having understood how the pieces work together, I 3D modeled a version of it in SketchUp to visualize it better and iterated over measurements until a nice structure was achieved. Once the design was ready, I ported the parts to VectorWorks to get the necessary precision, and to account for the material's tolerances.

After the CAD files were ready, I used Master CAM and configured the CNC router with the required settings. 

Left: quick cardboard prototype to validate the joints I had in mind.

Right: testing material tolerances with a rough prototype for the designed joint.

Left: CNC router with sheet of plywood cut.

Right: testing assembly of the parts

Final words

I found this process to be really inspiring and soothing. There is something unique about designing and fabricating something that can live in your home, and that is tailored to your needs. I will continue to design and fabricate furniture in the future.