The San Jose Museum of Art was having an 80's night, and requested a Hot Tub facade for a photo booth. We talked about what they wanted, and came up with a slightly curved surface made out of redwood slats.
I used TechShopSan Jose to do the work.
scrap plywood (for frame rails)
2x4 (about 8')
13-14 redwood fence boards (these were about 7.5" wide)
fasteners (3" deck screws, small gauge brad nails)
Step 1: Simulate Design on Autodesk Inventor
I drew a quick preview using Autodesk Inventor, to get the idea of what it might look like, and also to estimate the amount of material required. It looks better on the screen when you can rotate the image and see it from several angles.
Step 2: Cut Top and Bottom Rails on Shopbot
I found some scrap plywood from a previous project that was actually two pieces of 3/4 glued together. The slim piece is the upper rail, and the larger one is the base.
I used VCarve to create the tool paths to cut the arcs out. It was to be about 6 feet wide, so I drew a large circle (about 94" radius) and then trimmed it to be 72" wide. The shopbot CNC router made much cleaner cuts than I can do by hand with a jigsaw.
If you don't have access to a CNC router, you could draw a pair of arcs using a piece of string and pencil. The arcs I used were about 90 and 94" radius for the top piece.
Step 3: Build the Frame
Next I cut the 2x4 into four equal length pieces. I clamped the two rails together, then marked four places for the supports. Using the drill press, I drilled holes thru both pieces, so they will line up when assembled. The 3" deck screws are used to attach the supports to the rails.
Step 4: Cut and Plane Rough Redwood
Since I was doing this on the cheap, I bought a small pile of rough redwood fence boards. I ripped them in half which creates boards about 3.5" wide. I ran these through the planer and made one side pretty, then cut the boards to about 42" long. I varied the lengths just a little bit, since I wanted it to look like a rough redwood hot tub.
Step 5: Nail Boards to Front of Frame
I used a brad nailer to attach the boards to the front of the frame.
Step 6: Photo Time!
Time to take some awesome 80's photos.