Current work facilities do not meet the needs of modern work practice. Modern working methods demand spaces that offer flexible facilities to support multiple functions simultaneously, whilst meeting sustainability targets for a circular economy. We aim to solve this demand through the design of smart, adaptable, bio-based, furniture solution.
Flip-It creates the opportunity for one space to function as many. This mobile work surface can be easily and safely transformed into a room divider. Adjustable heights enable the surface to be tailored to your ergonomic needs be it standing, sitting, or somewhere inbetween. Made from a mix of ECOR panels, timber and recycled plastic, Flip-It is durable, circular and innovative. Modular applications, replaceable worksurfaces and passive acoustic functions make Flip-It the optimum tool for flexibility in the CEMEC makerspace.
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EXPLORING POSSIBLE FORMS
After spending a long time considering the practical aspects and function of the table, we decided to switch our focus to aesthetics and form. Below is the outcome of a design session that spanned most of the week where we brainstormed the form and shape of the table.
REPLACEABLE TABLE SURFACE
We also created models for other details including the build up of the table surface. The system seen below allows the first layer of the surface to be removed and replaced if it becomes to worn.
ERGONOMICS OF HANDLE
Another detail explored was the ergonomics of the handle used to engage and disengage a safety locking pin.
GEARS AND TURNING MECHANISM
We worked further on the gear mechanism modelling the turning mechanism as well as the (previously modelled) raising and lowering mechanism.
Next up, final products!
EXPLORING OPTIONS AND SIMPLIFYING THE DESIGN
The week began with a presentation to kick off building week. It was clear from the comments that our design had become too complex and was trying to achieve too much. After the presentation we created a SketchUp model of the “hybrid option”. As seen in the video bellow this modelled demonstrates the complexity of the design we were trying to achieve. The “automatic supports” option was also investigated, but we also found it to be over complicated.
SIMPLIFYING THE DESIGN
After the realisation that the design was becoming too complex we began to simplify the design. We returned to the “No Legs” option (seen in the week 3 update) and an option without the ability to just the table height. These options can be seen in the two videos below.
ADJUSTABLE TABLE HEIGHT MECHANISM
We continued to research how gearing mechanisms work (many YouTube videos were watched 💻) and began to test our ideas with scale models of the adjustable height mechanism.
WHOLE ROOM CONTEXT
We modelled a number tables at a smaller scale which we plan to use to demonstrate how the product can be used to influence a working space.
Next up, more modelling, more testing and more experimenting! 😊
TIME TO MAKE SOME DECISIONS!
This week the team focused mainly on consolidating our ideas and deciding on a future direction for development. This was achieved though trying to take a step back to consider all of our options. We then analysed these ideas against our original criteria using a matrix table.
BRING ON THE CONCEPTS
Below 8 different concepts for how the table could transform are outlined with pros and cons. The concepts are mainly focused on how the table legs function. All of the concepts utilise a raising table mechanism which was the focus of week 2 and which has become a core part of our design.
DEPLOY LEGS FROM CABINET
This option tries to resolve the issue that the legs on the right are obstructed by the table surface in “wall” mode. A mechanism is used to deploy the legs without making the user reach under the table surface.
DEPLOY LEGS FROM CABINET-BUTTERFLY EDITION
This option allows the user to reach both legs before the “wall” is tuned into a “table”.
DEPLOY LEGS FROM SURFACE
This option tries to resolve the issue that right of the cabinet is obstructed by the table surface in “wall” mode by deploying the legs from the surface of the table.
In this option turning the table deploys supports removing the need for a leg mechanism.
This option removes the need for a leg mechanism by increasing the size of the table turning mechanism.
This option removes the need for a leg mechanism by storing separate legs within the “wall” mode.
This option is a combination of the no legs option and the deploy legs from cabinet option. The asymmetrical design means that there is no need for legs on the right side.
Below is the matrix that analyses each of the options listed above against our criteria. It’s not drawn nicely but there is a clear winner, the hybrid solution. This option along with the runners-up, store-able legs and automatic supports, will be experimented with and developed over the next week or two.
Next up, modelling, testing and experimenting! 😊
THE DESIGNING STARTS!
Its been a busy week full of progress on the design. Following consideration of the design vision a large focus has been given to the adjustable height function of the table, with this aspect now being considered one of our primary design goals.
It was also decided that the storage function could be disregarded as it complicated how the product is used without adding great value. The acoustic and writable surface functions will be considered in greater detail as the design progresses.
This week was full of inspiration from a variety of sources. A list of the most inspiring things we found can be seen at the bottom of this week’s post.
Designing mainly took place on Zoom where we shared ideas with the whiteboard feature and pushed our silky smooth mouse skills to the limits.
WE ALSO TESTED OUR IDEAS THROUGH MODEL MAKING
We progressed to a design solution that uses geared mechanisms to transform the product from a wall into a table and to adjust the height of the working surface. The video below demonstrates this initial concept.
CONTROLLED LOWERING AND RAISING SYSTEM
One of the soft criteria (mentioned in the week one update) was the need for a safe and controlled transformation from a wall into a desk. The main issue that we aimed to solve was preventing the table from falling if the raising mechanism was released by the user. To achieve this we carried out research into two systems, counterweights and self-locking gears.
The principal of counterweights is that the weight of the table is balanced by additional weights acting in the opposite direction. Through implementing this concept, if the handle used to raise the table is release the system will be balance and the table will not fall.
PARALLEL AXIS SELF-LOCKING GEARS
Another system that we researched and tested was self-locking gears. The principal of these gears is that the driving gear is able to turn the output gear but that the output gear is not able to tun the driving gear. If applied to our product the table would not be able to move (or fall) unless the crank handle is not being turned by the user.
The most common type of self-locking gears are worm gears however these would be very difficult to create with ECOR so we looked into other alternatives. We discovered parallel axis self-locking gears and carried out a number of test with grey-board. The concepts are briefly shown in the diagrams below, however, the gears are fully explained in the following paper: American Gear Manufacturers Association Technical Paper. (2010). Self - Locking Gears: Design and Potential Applications. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/22504083/Self--Locking_Gears_Design_and_Potential_Applications.
Conventional gears. Here the force acts to turn the other gear.
Self-locking gear. Here the shape of the gears means that when the right gear turns the force acts to prevent the left gear from turning.
Self-locking gear. When the left gear turns the force acts to turn the the right gear.
Example of helical gears usually used to increase contact ratio.
We encountered the problem that in certain positions the gears could slip, jump or spin freely in relation to each other. The paper referenced above explains this is due to a lack of transverse contact ratio. With metal gears this is usually rectified by using helical gears, like the ones shown above. However these precisely machined shapes would be complicated to reproduce in ECOR. We resolved the issue by adding two and then three layers of the same gear just slightly rotated each time (the result can be seen in the video above). This fixed the issue of skipping and jumping and the gears worked as intended 🥳!
Through all of these developments we have come to 3 separate options. The main issue which we need to resolve in the next week and which will allow us to choose an option is how the additional legs seen in the images below unfold.
|OPTION 1||OPTION 2||OPTION 3|
|Convenient for current leg design||It’s not really a wall||Full one piece wall||Accessing legs is a problem need a new leg design||Legs only need access from one side, fits current leg design||Won’t perform acoustically (not as bad as option 1)|
|Central centre of gravity, so stable||Won’t perform well acoustically||Suits concept best||Off-centre centre of gravity, less stable||Only have to position one set of legs - quicker||It’s not really a wall (easier to fix as option 1)|
|Symmetry in the design||Visually the design is not pleasing||Looks nice in table format||Increased complexity when adding charging points||Looks nice in table format||Off-centre centre of gravity, less stable|
|Good modular flexibility||Because of butterfly concept it needs to be raised to high position to reach 2m||Good modular flexibility||Asymmetry - doesn’t perform well in modular flexibility|
|Split tables could counterbalance each other||Symmetry in the design achievable||Much smaller, fitting less people|
|Could have access to writable surface from either side||Looks nice in table format|
|Gap in table surface could allow for charging points|
American Gear Manufacturers Association Technical Paper. (2010). Self - Locking Gears: Design and Potential Applications. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/22504083/Self--Locking_Gears_Design_and_Potential_Applications.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohyMRATOt5U- Homemade wooden scissor lift table
www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4-yOB3qFKI- Wooden counterweight rising desk
www.robives.com/blog/laser-cut-worm-gear-prototype/- Laser cut worm gear
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gjo-2k3X6O4- Brake winches explanation
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm1KhxC64SE- Homemade adjustable height desk that uses winch
www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RK_iuu6-Dg- Rack and pinion annomation
Thanks for reading 😅 I hope you are in love with gears as much as we are ⚙!
Tune in next week to see how far we progress!
WELCOME TO FLIP-IT!
The multi-table group decided to split into two groups, the #hangingtable group (them 💁) and a pivoting table group (that’s us 😊). Our primary concept is therefore a product that can transform from a vertical room divider into a horizontal table surface.
The week began when the group met (over zoom 😔) to decide the pros and cons of different design options. Below is a table we created before settling on a design which is moved around on wheels 🎡.
|Wheels||Fixed Wall||Rails||Deploy Tables From Wall|
|Maximum flexibility||Wheels could be challanging to dtail||More robust||Wastes space along the wall||More flexible||Might not be possible in ecore||More robust||Harder to transform tables|
|Can be used in any office||More unstable||Easier to design||Design of division of spaces required||More robust that wheels||Less flexible than wheels||Stability for tables in upright position||Relevance of the wall? Should we just design a table|
|Clean concept||Opportunity to influence space permanently by creating new walls. Cupboards could be accessed from one side||Table positioning limited by proximity to wall||Bespoke solution required for each installation||Opportunity to influence space permanently by creating new walls. Cupboards could be accessed from one side|
After establishing the focus of our product we spent the weekend coming up with ideas for our Problem Statement, Design Statement and Design Criteria (not to mention creating the beautiful logo 💁 and an Instagram – go on give us a follow! 😅).
The Design Problem and Design Statement can be seen above and below is the specific criteria we set out.
- Room divider that turns into a table
- Easy to transform
- Easy to transport
SECONDARY FUNCTIONS /SOFT CRITERIA
- Acoustic function
- Whiteboard (creative idea sharing) / notice board / peg board
- Storage solution that is useful/accessible for when in wall or table position
- Replaceable work surface
- Showcase ecore (bendable, bio-based, circular)
- Print on surface (patterns, ruler markings, grid, colour that differentiates the table top from legs)
- Disassembles into smaller components for easy shipping and assembly
- Changeable height
- Sturdy, robust, bottom-heavy (in wall function)
- Lockable in vertical and horizontal positions
- Controllable transformation to avoid product falling on user
- Tables should fit next to each other to form larger tables without leaving a gap and remaining flush
- Transformable in 30 seconds
- Transportable with 2 people
- Can fit through door (2.1 - 2.3m)
- People should sit around at least 80% of the the perimeter of the table, on all four sides
- Repel coffee (liquid) for 1 minute
- Adjustable height to 700mm and 1100mm
- Lockable wheels
- Sturdy, robust, bottom-heavy (in wall function)
As outlined in the Design Statement our next step is to research the feasibility of integrating storage, writable surfaces, acoustic properties and adjustable surface heights.
Tune in next week to see how we do! 🤪
Edmund Thomas Green
INDIVIDUAL ELEVATOR PITCHES
The CEMEC makerspace will house seminars, lectures and meetings, as well as design and build workshops. But how can those noisy activities possibly function at the same time, in the same space as the quiet activities? That’s where the Axle Wall comes in.
Let’s say you want to divide a noisy activity, like a workshop, from a quiet activity, like a lecture. Simply align the axle walls between the two activities and they will provide an acoustic barrier.
Now you need the whole space to teach? The axle-walls are equipped for that too. Remove the stools, wheel your walls into place and spin them into tables!
ECOR is lightweight, durable and easy to laser cut, making it the optimum material for innovative furniture solutions, such as the axle wall.
Quick and easy to transform. Storing stools for any occasion. Providing break-out work surfaces and an acoustic barrier.
Now, in classrooms everywhere, one space can function as many.
With an ever-growing population, spaces need to supply a greater amount of people and functions then ever before. This means that a space needs to be multi-functional and that furniture needs to be flexible. We don’t want that boring office furniture that we see everyday, we need furniture that inspires and enables our creativity. ECOR is perfect for this, I want to showcase its incredible potential to bend and create playful elements.
Therefore, I designed a modular furniture that is both flexible, multi-functional and showcases ECOR.
This is a seating furniture which shape originates from a circle and is bend into shape. It can be arranged in for example; a lounge area or a private conversation space.
It consists out of two elements, a seat, and a backrest that can be attached and detached according to the needs of that specific moment.
I want to curve the way to a new kind of office furniture that fits any companies’ interior and broadens the visibility of ECOR.
Ecore’s new design center, like other co-working environments, needs to be flexible and cater for groups of varying sizes. In addition there is a growing demand from office spaces around the world for bio based, circular and flexible furniture.
In response to these challenges I propose the solution of HotDesk. The concept is a piece of furniture that transforms from a white board or room divider, into an individual working environment , as well as a group working environment or meeting space.
These configurations mean ecore can accommodate any combination of desk space needed by the users of ecor’s building. Beyond ecore this desk is a simple and effective solution that could provide co-working environments and makers spaces around the world with flexible and bio-based furniture.