Introduction: Tap Table

Picture of Tap Table

This is my first exploration into 3d-printed furniture components. The goal is to come up with a system of simple wood pieces and 3D connectors that can be easily assembled to make a variety of furniture types.

Step 1: Concept

Picture of Concept

I first experimented with the idea of 3D-printed components by making a 3-axis joint inscribed into a cube. It fits 1"x1" wood pieces. It turned out to be too clunky for developing into a furniture piece, but gave me a good idea for tolerances and friction fits.

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design

Instead of starting with the joint and figuring out how to fit it into a piece of furniture, I decided to work backwards. I modeled up a little side table in Rhino and designed the joints to fit the piece.

Step 3: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

I used a lot of tools for this project, but I'm sure a more experienced woodworker could make do with fewer. Since the table doesn't require any mechanical fasteners, the materials list is pretty minimal.

Materials

1. 5/4 wood planks, about 8" wide x 7' long. I used walnut.

2. 3/8" or 1/2" plywood sheet, about 2'x4'. This doesn't have to be fancy, it's just for the template.

3. Wood glue

4. #10 wood biscuits

Tools

1. Objet 3D Printer

2. Jointer

3. Planer

4. Table Saw

5. Chop Saw

6. Band Saw

7. Plunge Router

8. Big Clamps

9. Biscuit Joiner

10. Orbit Sander

11. Laser cutter (optional).

Step 4: 3D Print the Joints

Picture of 3D Print the Joints

I used an Objet Connex 500 3D printer to fabricate the joints.

Step 5: Make the Table Legs

Picture of Make the Table Legs

The legs are 23-1/4" long wood pieces with a cross section that's ever so slightly less than 1"x1". I jointed and planed the wood and then ran it a few times through the table saw to get the right cross section. Then I cut the 59.5 degree angle on either end on the chop saw. The wood should slide fairly easily into the joints but shouldn't be loose.

Step 6: Make the Table Top

Picture of Make the Table Top

Making the table top was the trickiest part of the project. I took the easy way out and cut out a plywood template on the laser cutter, but there are definitely more clever ways to do this (https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-A-Circle-Cutting-Jig/).

1. I first jointed and planed 3 pieces of wood, each about 7"x5/4" in cross section and 20" long.

2. I then biscuited and glued the pieces together, and clamped the heck out of it.

3. Once the glue had dried I ran the whole assembly through the planer again to get rid of any warping.

4. Using the plywood template and 2 roughly-cut pieces of ply underneath, I routed a circular groove 3/8" deep into the underside of the wood. This is for the top joint.

5. To cut out the rest of the circular depression, I clamped a guide to the wood and routed out the material line-by-line, moving and re-clamping the guide as I went. This took about 15 passes.

6. To cut out the exterior edge of the table top, I first took off as much material as I could with the band saw and then passed the router along the exterior edge of the template.

Step 7: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Now to the easiest and most rewarding part. Assembling the parts took about 1 minute! I placed the table top upside down, inserted the top joint into the circular depression, and slid the legs into the second joint. Done.

Next step....casting joints?

Comments

JonathanC188 (author)2016-09-20

I've done some stuff like this but never something that placed so much weight on the joint itself. What material did you use for the print?

aleza84 (author)2015-10-15

Hey!!! NIce table, Do you have any link to the 3d files?

Martinventurado (author)2015-03-03

Wow, very interesting!!

gabrieltaft (author)2015-01-15

This turned out so well! Nice job.

thelostspore (author)2014-12-14

This is awesome

ClenseYourPallet (author)2014-12-12

Such a beautiful project. Very well done!

Porda (author)2014-12-11

Great looking table! I'm excited to see what you come up with next. Any tips on sizing a 3D-print to fit around a wood piece?

shurly (author)Porda2014-12-11

Thanks! I designed the opening in the 3D print to be .01" larger than the table legs. This was easy to do as I had access to a really nice planer. If you don't have that, I'd recommend making the wood and the 3D print the same size, and sanding down the wood until it fits snugly in. A tight fit is super important if your design substitutes a 3D print for traditional wood joinery.

ninjanody (author)2014-12-10

I am always excited to see smart concepts like this. Also the cost of this project even if you don't have a 3d printer and have only some basic wood crafting skills is too affordable. Hope to see more project like this for everyday usage.

teganles (author)2014-12-07

I never would have thought that today we can print tables on printer

tomatoskins (author)2014-12-07

I've never thought of this. Great idea with a great use of your 3d printer!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Vera Shur has a background in architecture, with special focus on exhibition and furniture design. Her investigations focus on the unexpected qualities of everyday materials ... More »
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