Introduction: Space Saving Foldable Bed

About: I am a civil engineer and a full-time maker and YouTuber. I love doing innovation and making unique things that can entertain, inspire, and educate you. checkout my youtube channel for more awesome builds &…

This Instructables is all about building a foldable bed and I made this bed for my grandmother. These types of foldable bed are quite common in our country and widely used by the villagers and this is a single bed. Since in the summertime if people wanted to sleep outside in the night they just lay these beds and they are ready to go. Since it's made by weaving those straps you never need to lay any kind of mattress over them because they are very soft. Although not everybody like to sleep onto these beds because no matter how tight you weave after few uses the strap became little loose and some people don't like to sleep on them, but everything needs maintenance and care and if you kept the strap slightly longer then you can easily tighten it after every year. But I like to sleep onto it in the summertime because it remains airy. The reason why I made this for my Grandma because the one we buy from the market wasn't strong enough to bear a weight of 100 kg person. So that's the reason why I build this for her and instead of single weaving I made a double weaving bed and the advantage of this bed is that compared to single weaving process it doesn't losses that much. I made it with slightly thick steel so overall said it's very sturdy and even with the weight of around 220 kg this bed didn't sag that much, the one available in the market not able to bear a weight of 120kg so overall said I am really happy with this bed.


Material used

For the construction of this bed, I use the following material.

1. 1" square pipe

2. 2"X1" rectangular pipe

3. Tension spring

4. Plastic strap for weaving

5. M8 bolt

6. Few bar pieces of 1⁄4" thickness and 11⁄2" width

7. 3⁄4" diameter rod for making bushing.

Tools used

Following are the tools and equipment I used for making this bed

1. Welding set

2. M8 thread tap

3. Tap handle

4. Drill bit and drill machine

5. Angle grinder with a cut off wheel and grinding wheel.

6. Chop saw

7. Measuring tape

8. Sawhorses

9. Speed Square

10. Combination Square

Step 1: ​Material Cutting

I don't know whether it's a good point or bad but I usually not made any drawings of these kinds of builds unless I have to do an accurate work like building some machine or working onto CNC. For this kind of work, I just made design in my head and follow that design. Most of the time it always works but sometimes it's not but glad this is not that build, so that's why there is no design part for this bed. For the cutting of material, I am using my trusty chop saw and first of all, I started the cutting of inside pieces which onto which the strap is going to be wrapped. And the reason for making a double-sided frame is that it will provide strength and also protects that wrap from worn out. But one thing is to take care is that if you kept these beds for a long time in the Direct sunlight of Summer they are completely worn out no matter whether you use them or not. So after cutting down the inside frame piece, I provided a gap of 1⁄4" from both side and then cut the pieces from 1x2 pipe. And the reason for providing that gap is only to provide enough room for that strap to pass in between those pipes. Like the mainframe, I also cut down the pieces for the legs and also for the support structure for the middle of the frame which helps the frame from buckling inside if someone sits over the bed. The process for the legs is not as easy as the mainframe. There are a couple of things which can create problems in the bed due to legs. If I attached the legs in a vertical position and since they are made in foldable position and if someone sits onto them then and tried to change his/her position the legs folded and that might give some injury. So the only way avoids this thing is to make legs at an angle so that it becomes impossible for them to return on its original position if someone is sitting over them or trying to change his position. So there is a simple formula I made is that your slant height of the legs is not more than the 1⁄4 of your total bed length. Suppose your bed length is 72" and 1⁄4 of this length is 18" so the total length of your leg is 18" or slightly less than that. This formula is based on a condition is that if you are attaching the legs at a distance of 18" from both ends and if you folded them inward they just barely kiss each other. Otherwise, if you didn't have any problem if they overlap each other during the folding process than you can increase the slant height of the leg but then the design doesn't look that good.

Step 2: ​Chamfering & Welding the Main Frame

Before starting any welding project chamfering is the basic part of that build and it helps to provide a stronger joint between two bodies. So I chamfer these piece with 120 grit flap disk and ready them for the weld. For welding the mainframe I first lay my sawhorses and then to increase the surface area I lay some pieces over the sawhorse. And then place the 1x1 square pipe pieces over that and then start the squaring process. Squaring the frame is can be easily done with speed square or set square but the problem with them is that they are not long enough to provide a square joint for the pipes. In that case, I use the diagonal method to square up the frame and I think this will provide much more accuracy than that. After that, I just made a few tacks and then start the welding process of this frame. Then to provide an equal gap for the second frame I use some pieces of 1⁄4" thick bar and then weld them at fixed intervals so that it will provide equal space between both the inner and outer frame. Then it's important to grind down the welds and make it completely flush because for the next frame we need a reference from the inner frame. Then it's time to weld the second pipe around the perimeter of the inner frame and for that, if the inner frame is in the square then there is no need for squaring up again. Then I just tack the outside pieces along with the frame and starts the weld. During the weld, I found that the one side is slightly bowed inward so to remove that I have to climb down some pieces under the frame. And then clamped it from all side so that it remains completely flushed until the tack welds completed. Then the final work is to complete the weld joints.

Step 3: ​Constructing the Middle Brace.

So the middle brace is an important part in providing stiffness to this whole structure because if someone lay on the bed then this piece is going to prevent the whole frame from collapsing. And for this, I am using one by one square tube. The dimension of the middle brace does not play an important role in the bed so you can choose whatever design you want but one thing you need to keep in mind is that the distance from the top of the bed to the the the bottom part of the structure is around 5 to 6 inches. In my case, I go with 6 inches distance. Constructing the brace is a pretty easy process, first of all, you have to mark the centre onto the mainframe and also onto the longer pipe. After that mark the distance that how deep you need your brace from the top. You can make a mark on to the sidearm. Thereafter measure the diagonal distance from longer pipe to the point which you marked onto the sidearm for the reference earlier. Now cut down that length so that you can weld it. For the joinery you can do two things, either cut down the equal angle on both the pieces and then weld them or you can just make a mark on one side and cut it according to that which I did in my case. Just place two-piece overlapping each other and then trace the outline. For this method, you need to cut only one piece and the joint is ready for the weld but Before that, I need to cut the ends at an angle which is 45°. Then I mark the centre onto the mainframe and weld this brace to its position.

Step 4: ​Constructing the Legs

So this part is a little tricky to do for me because during the cutting process there are some small pieces left which are the small section in the legs. For my bed I decided to kept bed height around 18" and I planned to build bent legs. So I cut down two different pieces one is 15" long and other is 7" long. To join these pieces together so that they will provide a height of 18" I made a layout on my workbench and clamped down some end stops. Now I know that I need a height of 18" so I made some marks onto the table where I need to place long pieces and where to put the shorter piece. Then I start the marking process and in my case, I need marking on both the sides and to sort out that problem I made a template which will ease my work. With the same setup, I just placed a piece of cardboard between two overlapped pieces and then draw the layout onto the leg and cut it with the angle grinder. Like the middle brace, I again use the same technique so that I have to cut one piece only. Once you have made a template from the setup you no longer need that setup. Now the template is your main key. And this is the first time I do this joining method. Earlier days I used to cut the same angle on both pieces and then weld them together, but sometimes I lost that angle because it's hard to repeat the same angle again and again on both pieces and a slight change in degrees changes the whole outcome. But this process is much better and I found that the error is also reduced to some extent. The marking on both sides is not necessary if you have a metal band saw. Since I don't have that and I am going to use the angle grinder to cut the excess portion that's why I need the marking on to both sides. From thereafter I will the pieces together grind them and leg is ready to be installed.

Step 5: ​Mounting Bracket for Legs

Once the legs have been constructed I need a bracket onto which I can mount them and bracket is wide enough that the leg can easily move inside that. For that, I go with three-part construction. The middle part is kept a tiny bit larger than the thickness of the pipe which is around 1 inch. So that pipe can be easily moved inside that u bracket. Once I made the bracket I marked the location onto the bed and the location must be kept around 1⁄4 of the total length of the bed from the ends and every time you made a mark for the bracket to mount you have to measure 1⁄4 of the whole length of the bed from the closest end. After marking I made a tack weld and check the position. The bracket was out of square so I set it again and made a final weld to secure it. During the welding of that, u bracket make sure that you are aware of that orientation. The middle piece in the bracket needs to face towards the closest end. Image clears you much better what I am talking about.

Step 6: ​Constructing the Pivot Legs.

To construct the pivot legs you need two things rounded end and a pivot point. First with the the help of 2" round pipe I made a semi-circle onto the end and then cut it with the help of angle grinder. Make sure to mark the location of the hole before making a rounded edge. Then I drilled the hole to the marked location and to provide some strength to that area I welded a piece of round rod inside that and then with the reference of that previously drilled hole made a through-hole inside that bushing.

Step 7: ​Attaching the Legs Together

To attach the legs with the mainframe I first clamped it with the bracket and set it to my required height and I found that it sets what I exactly needed for my design. To mount them into the bracket I measure the point onto the bracket which is 3⁄4" from both sides and then I centre punch and drilled a hole to create a pivot point and these holes I am going to tap with M8 thread tap. The holes into the legs are drilled 9mm. By doing this I can move the leg inside that bracket. But to move it up to the end I need to cut down backside little bit and for that, I do trial and error method. Cut down a little bit and then check back and then repeat again and again until I get the desired height. Then I measure that cut and transfer it onto all the remaining 3 brackets. Then I install the legs and made a pair for each side so that if they rotate both legs rotates simultaneously.

Step 8: ​Attaching the Spring.

Spring is an important part of this whole build. It helps to prevent legs moving outward or inward because it kept them in tension and if you placed the bed vertically then you can notice that one leg remains in a downward position and this is not going to open but another leg-mounted against gravity and it will fall out if you are not going to install the spring. The right way to install this is that the holding point which lies onto the bed remain away from the centre. The one to the leg is placed in the centre. Then tension is kept according to the spring you are using. More the tension more will be the stiffness. But I highly recommend to kept tension high. One is always better than two that's why I installed them on all the 4 sides of the legs.

Step 9: ​Painting

After that, I made two coats of black over the entire surface. I found that if you thin down the paint a little bit then it provides you with much coverage and also cures a lot much Faster. For oil paints, I always use turpentine oil to thin it a little bit and I usually kept a ratio of 4:1(4 part paint and 1 part oil)

Step 10: ​Weaving

This is the time-consuming part of this build. I have to do the same thing again and again and sometimes this job bored me a lot. I never did this process but saw someone doing that. So to weave the strap I first chose the long side. And then wrap the strap to the inner pipe which is 1x1. Once the wrapping on one side completed I cut down the strap slightly longer and then secure it's one end by sewing. This will help to tighten the cage once it's finished. For the second weave, the process is little different and for that, there is a basic funda is that if you entered from the top of a strap then for the next line you go from the bottom then from the top and then from the bottom and repeat this continuously. Always make sure to keep your eye onto the pattern because some time it slips and that makes a huge mess. It's not going to affect the structural strength but it's going to affect the look of your bed. During up and down movement make sure that for the next row it needs to be opposite to the previous row pattern in terms of ups and downs. This is the easy way to find the flaw in the weaving. In the starting you don't need to keep the strap tight but once you finished then secure one end and then start stretching them row by row and then secure the last end by sewing. Now your bed is ready to place where ever you want. The overall weight is around 19.7kg which is a little heavier than what people sell here but the one I made is much stronger.

Step 11: Take a Sleep and Enjoy

If I personally give my opinion then I really love this bed and the one main reason is that I himself like to sleep on to this kind on the bed. Overall said a 20Kg of bed is capable of bearing a weight around 220 kg, which I think is bang on. Tell me what you think

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