Introduction: Woodpunk Chair

About: I was a chef for 14 years, Was Gainfully unemployed for a year doing side projects and carpentry work. Now I work for myself doing Software Development

First of all to give credit where credit is due.  I was searching for steampunk on instructables one day and I came across Jeff-o's lamp and loved the design and the idea of calling it "woodpunk" Visit his stuff. Its awesome!

I saw and liked the idea for wood ball bearings; but I didn't use a lathe because I wanted to make a really big one that could hold my weight. I weigh about 190lbs this week. Next week? Maybe more, Maybe less. :)

This is a Woodpunk chair. I have always loved the Punk Genre(Steampunk/Dieselpunk) and the design style. If you are interested in my approach to the design and wish to learn a little more about my background I'm going to put all that stuff at the end of the instructable. I just don't want to get in the way of your work, you have plenty to do when it comes to building this! I promise it's a lot of fun!!

          I have been racking my brain trying to figure out the best way to help you draw out and make some pretty precise cuts. I think I have come up with some fun and innovative ways to help you do just that. 

          Whether you make this on a ShopBot CNC or just in your basement go get a pair of calipers I have a cheap pair of digital calipers that cost me around 10 dollars. Just make sure they go out to at least 3 decimal places, and measure at least 6".

          First let's talk about material. This chair is designed for use with .75" plywood. I would recommend AA which is nice and ready to finish on both sides, or AB which is ready to finish on one side and clean and smooth on the other but not ready to finish. Take your calipers with you when you go shopping; measure the thickness at both ends try to find a sheet of plywood that is consistently between .69" and .72" The closer you get to .75 the tighter the chair will fit together. (.72" will fit snug and you probably won't have to sand too much.) Also make sure the board is nice and flat you can check this by looking down the side of the board if it curves grab another, I got lucky and found a good straight board about six sheets down. The people at the Home improvements stores are pretty understanding and helpful with this.

          I've broken this Instructable up into two parts; Those who choose to make it manually, or those who have a ShopBot CNC machine or have access to one. If you have a ShopBot Read Step one then go skip ahead to step 10.

This instructable is rather simple if you have a ShopBot CNC and a copy of AUTOCAD 2012. But if not you will have to make this the hard way! Hopefully this will show what a powerful tool  a ShopBot could be.

Okay, all you John Henrys out there looking to do it the hard way continue through the scenic route step by step.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

Drill press
Electric sander or Right Angle Grinder (for removing excess material for a better fit.
Table Saw
1/4" router bit
3/8" router bit
1/4" Drill Bit
1/2" Pilot point drill bit
Jig Saw
Tape Measure
1/2" dowels
36" wire or string
Router table
Hand Drill
Brad nailer (1.25" brads)
Wood Glue


PRS Standard 96-48-6 ShopBot CNC machine
AutoCAD 2012
Hand Drill
Router Table
Brad nailer (1.25" brads)
Wood Glue

Hardware needed 
4  (2" long .5" bolts)
2  (3" long .5" bolts)
12  (.5" washers)
12  (.5" Nuts)
8  (2" long .25" bolts)
4  (3" long .25" bolts)
24  (.25" washers)
12  (.25" wing nuts)
 4   (2" wood screws)

(21) 1" oak craft balls 
Your choice of casters

Step 2: All About Some Blanks

What is a blank? These are the pieces of wood you will be making into the various parts. Cut out of 3/4" Plywood

3pcs    18"x18"          - outer races
8pcs    15.25x10"      - legs   
4pcs     6.5"x6.5"       - inner races
4pcs     2.5" x3"         - setting blocks for legs
4pcs     3"x3"             - caster blocks for legs
4pcs     1.5"x3"          - joining blocks for legs
3pcs     4.5"x18.25"  - back support brackets 
4pcs     6"x4.75"        - lumbar support brackets
4pcs     20.25"x6"      - seat bottoms
12pcs  1.5"x18"         - seat stringers

Don't be scared yet. Take it one piece at a time, set up an assembly line for yourself on the table saw, and "get er done!" In hind sight I should have taken a picture of all the blanks, but I gathered them all from scrap at work. sorry. But I did include an artistic picture of the aftermath of what you'll do to these poor blanks.

Step 3: Making the Ball Bearing Pieces (part One)

Ah the ball bearing makes the world go round; or at least a chair.
Follow the pictures and cut out:
(2) 17" circles with a interior dia. of 7.349"
(1) 17" circle with an interior dia. of 8.099"
(2) 6.151" circle (one for bearing one for spacer)
(1) 5.651" circle

This leaves one more circle to cut but we will do this on the next step. Here is a video of how I cut out the outer races. Notice also how I set my drill press at different depths starting off shallower during my first few passes.

Step 4: Making the Ball Bearing Pieces (part Two)

Step 5: The Legs

Okay if you like playing battle ship you'll love this next part. Or if you like connect the dots.

First of all, follow the pictures and here are the measurements for the grid. 

These measurements are all pulled from the left edge towards the right.
Line 1 - is the left edge
Line 2 - 4.5"
Line 3 - 6.5"
Line 4 - 8.75" 
Line 5 - 10.125"
Line 6 - 11"
Line 7 - 11.625"
Line 8 - 12.25"
Line 9 - is the right side edge

These measurements are all pulled from the top towards the bottom
Line a - Top edge of part
Line b - 2"
Line c - 3"
Line d - 5.5"
Line e - 6.25"
Line f  -  7.25"
Line g - 8.5"
Line h - bottom edge of part

Step 6: The Legs (part Two)

Cutting out the legs. I used a 10" table saw set to the highest depth possible. I did this so  I wouldn't have to use my jig saw as much in the corners. Follow the pics.

Step 7: Lumbar Support Brackets

Take your time with each piece work your way down. Oh, and this video was sped up drastically it would have been an 8min, video, and a boring 8 minutes too.

Step 8: The Back Support Brackets

Okay here is the back support brackets follow the pictures. We will have to go to the next step before finishing this part, it has to do with  aligning some holes. So you won't get the instant gratification we are all so accustomed to. ;( 

Step 9: The Seat


Here is the DXF or dwg file for the CNC. I recommend not cutting through all the way. Leave an "onion skin" of about 1/16" then trim with a flush trim router bit.

Step 11: Assembly- the Ball Bearing

Okay so now you are ready to assemble!

Let's get started by assembling the various components that will make this chair work.

If you're like me you want to start with fun first. Let's start with the wood ball bearing platform that connects the seat to the base.  Follow the photo tags. If there is an order to the steps on the photo the tags will be numbered accordingly.

Step 12:

When Putting these legs together; understand this: You can put them together two different ways dependent on which way you start assembling. Follow the pictures and you won't have to change them around to get the ball bearing and the legs to fit together.

Step 13:

Step 14:

4  (2" long .5" bolts)
2  (3" long .5" bolts)
12  (.5" washers)
12  (.5" Nuts)
8  (2" long .25" bolts)
4  (3" long .25" bolts)
24  (.25" washers)
12  (.25" wing nuts)

Step 15:

Every time I design anything it starts off on a blank sheet of paper. I try to work out as much of the math and idea before every touching the computer. Here is a Video of the ball bearing in action. This is the part where you can stain the chair. I took it all apart and put a nice red chestnut stain on it. Then I used lacquer. The last few images here are of some other concepts or variations you might want to try. I only had time to assemble and stain this one chair. The chair I made manually still needs to be sanded and dressed before I can assemble it. just one more reason to use a ShopBot!

Step 16: Why I Want to Win the ShopBot

I am constantly making or building something. In the past I always had ideas but never the skill sets to implement them.  I started wood working about five years ago, and haven't stopped since. It started with a Valentine's Day present for my wife, a wine rack. I've been trying to learn new ways of thinking about problems and trying to think in 3 dimensions ever since. I hope to continue to learn and progress, always thinking outside the crate. I think having a ShopBot would give me the ability to try some very exciting projects; some of which I haven't even conceived yet! Also I included a picture of where my wife said I could build my new workshop if I win the ShopBot! That alone should make me a good candidate for winning, right?! right? Thanks for taking a look at my instructable I hope everyone had fun!

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