Intro: Screwless Hexagon Table Using 3D Printing
Welcome to my DIY tutorial for making a screwless hexagon table. In this tutorial, I'll be showing and explaining step by step how to achieve this unique table.
Things and skills you'll need:
- Broom sticks diameter 24mm, preferable as little as diameter deviation
- 3D printer capable of printing PLA plastic. Look on 3D hubs for a suitable printer if you don't own one. Keep in mind these pieces are pricey (~72gram each)
- MDF plate or other plate material thickness of 12mm. The size depends of how big you want your table.
- (Cheap) wood glue
- D4 wood adhesive
- (Spray) paint matching your 3D piece colour
- Table Saw
- *Optional* Hand saw
- Tape measure
- Sand paper, medium rough (120) and fine (400+)
- Heavy weights
- Long ruler/wooden beam for drawing straight lines
Step 1: Fire Up the Printer
What do you need when you're building a table with the aid of 3D pieces? The 3D pieces. So download my .STL file and print this piece 6 times.
You'll need to add supports from the print platform upwards. Like in the last photo. The holes and stability beams are normally okay to print. The beams are bigger than the max printing angle for most printers.
After the 6 prints are done, go ahead and remove the support. One individual piece should weight around 72 gram with support material. This can give you an idea of how much it will cost for you. My support was printed firmly onto the piece, so I used a thin hex key (matches the theme) to pry it off.
Place the pieces in a hexagon shape like pattern to visualize how big you want your table.
Step 2: Dimentioning
Grab a pencil and ruler, maybe a protractor as well and a sheet of paper. Draw some hexagon shapes on a scale of 1:10. Experiment with proportions of lengths.
I do not suggest a table higher than 50cm. Because the broom sticks are kinda thin and won't be perfectly 24mm. This affects the stability.
For my table, I used 2 sizes of sticks. 2 80cm sticks and 10 40cm sticks for frame and legs of the table.
Step 3: Remeasure the Broomsticks
It might sound silly but remeasure your broom sticks to look for diameter deviations.
This is important because when your stick is 23.7mm, you'll experience great stability issues. Try to mark the zones which are smaller than 23.95mm. Then draw your cutting lines on the stick avoiding the marked areas. The most important dimention is the end of each and every stick. If the diameter deviation is bigger in the middle, it's not that much of a problem. The stick must fit as tight as possible into the 3D piece.
Step 4: Chop It Up
Cut your sticks up to size you prefer. Dubbel check if you haven't made any mistake and if you have enough to actually make the table.
Step 5: Sand Your Ends
Create a 45°-ish angle on the ends of the sticks. It will inserting the sticks much easier.
Step 6: Check Up
When all your 3D pieces are printed, and your sticks are at the right size, construct your table. It should be able to stand on it's own without any glue at all.
If the shape is alright and you haven't made any mistakes, continue to the next step. If not, rearrange the shape and/or correct your mistake.
Step 7: The Actual Hexagon
Place your frame onto your MDF plate. This should fit completely onto the plate. Keep the frame in place and draw outlines with your pencil at the corners of the frame like in the first photo. Connect these lines to become your hexagonal table top. Cut along these lines with the table saw and try fitting it onto your frame.
It's not a big problem is you came 2-3mm short. The pieces won't connect properly with the table top so it's only a cosmetic problem.
Step 8: Test Your Table
Go on, stand on it. It feels kinda scary but it should hold. The weakest part of the table is the MDF plate. The 3D piece is designed in a way it won't suffer that much from vertical forces. I haven't tested it yet how much it can hold but I know the 6 pieces can hold more than 75kg.
Check if you can live with the stability. If not, shorten the legs.
Step 9: Paint Your Plate
For painting MDF, it's mandatory to use a primer. MDF is really moist-sensitive and will lose a lot of it's strength if wet.
I didn't have a wood primer close by, so I used an other trick. I poured (cheap) wood glue over the plate. Then I used some kind of ruler to spread out the glue and waited for it to settle. Then I used fine sand paper so smooth it out. As a result, the surface had lines, but I liked it more than a comletely flat surface.
The glue prevents the MDF to suck up the paint and making it look horrible.
If you don't like the surface, just pour some more wood glue over it and repeat. After you're sure the glue is dry, paint your plate with the same colour as your 3D pieces.
Step 10: A Sticky Situation
After you cut your broomsticks, printed 6 pieces, cut out the table top and painted it, it's time to get sticky. Start by gluing the frame first with the D4 glue. Slide the corners slightly outwards so you can see a gap between the stick and the 3D piece. Pour some glue in it and slide it back in. Better to much glue than to little.
After you did every corner. Glue the legs onto the 3D piece as well.
Step 11: Adding Pressure
When everything kinda sticks to eachother but not good enough, carefully turn your frame around and make it stand upright. Position the legs as equally outwards and place some heavy weights on it. The more pressure, the stronger the glue will get.
Try to leave the table alone for as long as possible so the glue has enough time to heal.
Step 12: Cleaning Up
The D4 wood glue will swell up, expand and leak outside the holes. The glue is pretty weak when it doesn't touch anything.
That's why using a knife is an easy way to clean up the messy parts. Be carefull for your fingers.
Step 13: Done!
Add your MDF plate onto the frame and position it where you want. The table is fairly lightweight.
Invite some friends to show off your modern table. Have a beer or 2 and listen to all the compliments you'll get.
Thanks for reading/making and enjoy the table!