Cardboard Rocker Prototype




This cardboard rocker is a quick prototype of an idea for a low to the ground, full body rocking chair to activly stretch in. The seat dimensions are similar to that used in sports cars and is quite supportive. Geometry should work well for mid to taller adults as adapted from the Measure of Man ergonomics study.

Physical construction is designed to be as accesible to as many people who may have interest in replicating it. For this reason it was constructed out of found cardboard with individual part size kept to a minimum. Overall Rocker dimension are 68" x 28" with width determined by material.

Design inspiration was drawn from Douglas Schoeffler's and Frank Gehry's work as shown in Nomadic Furniture volume 1 by James Hennessy and Victor Papanek.

Materials list:

1. Spray adhesive

2. Boxcutter

3.1 gallon wood glue and 2" chip brush

4. Found cardboard 26" x 17" x 9" works well

5. 4-6 Sharpies

6. Tiled or plotted print of patterns

7. Painters drop cloth

Step 1: Collect Cardboard and Create Templates

1. Download and print out patterns. They are formatted for 36" plotters but can be easily tiled.

2. Collect cardboard, enough for patterns and for parts needed (covered in next step). I was able to find a nice quantity of 26" x 17" x 9" boxes which worked very well for me.

3. Create templates of all parts for both "A" and "B" patterns. I used spray adheasive to adhere patterns to cardboard (The rocker is constructed by layering two patterns with staggered joints to avoid continuous weak points).

4. Carefully cut out all parts and check that they are as precise as possible. I used a box cutter to slowly and carefully create the template parts.

Step 2: Transfer Patterns and Cut

1. Determine the width of Rocker you would like to create. For this prototype I used .17" cardboard, 30 layers (15 "A" and 15 "B") resulting in a just over a 5" wide chair. A width of 12" - 14" is suggested for a bit more comfort but will require quite a lot of cardboard and cutting time, in that case use of a laser cutter or thicker material such as plywood or mdf may be a better choice.

2. Carefully hand trace the template patterns "A" and "B" to cardboard. Be sure to label parts to keep it organized.

3. Cut Cut Cut and then cut. To speed up the process I used a 16" scroll saw. Carefully follow the traced patterns, cut on the inside of traced lines at joints to avoid excess material when butting parts together, and cut thought the middle of lines for overall form.

Step 3: Final Assembly

1. Carefully organize all cut parts. lay down first layer of "A" parts to create a full side profile of the rocker. I used a stapler to attach pieces together so they would not shift when starting the glueing process.

2. Apply a layer of wood glue then carefully align all parts for "B" layer on top. Continue repeaing "A" and "B" profile layers until desired chair width is achieved. Alow to dry overnight, if possible place a few large heavy objects on top to help ensure bonding between all layers.



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    6 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Nice concept! Someone in the 70's was selling patterns for plywood also. Here is/was my final design. It rocked to reading, relaxing and with legs in the air health benifits.
    Doug Schoeffler


    2 years ago

    Looks cool maybe one in plywood


    2 years ago

    also very similar to the Banana Chair manufactured in Nottingham in the 1990s one of which I have and use daily.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Intresting thanks for the tip i will look into that.


    2 years ago

    This is really neat, I haven't seen a rocking chair like this before :)

    1 reply