Steampunk Tri-Fold Room Divider




I've long looked at room dividers as a sort of blank canvas.  Thanks to the Milwaukee Makerspace, I was finally able to build one; here's how:

The frames were made from 2x4's, ripped down, then cut with a dado groove down the middle to hold the screens in place.

The screens themselves were cut from 1/4" MDF on a friend of mine's 4x8' CNC router from a design I had made using Blender's Mechanical Gear generator. The gears were rendered, imported into Adobe Illustrator CS5, LiveTraced, and combined using the ShapeBuilder tool. Then the whole mess was exported as a .DXF.

The frames received a coat of flat black spray paint, while the screens were treated with Hammered Copper spray paint.  I relied on the porosity of the unfinished MDF to soak in parts of the paint. Because of this, you don't get the intended hammered metal effect; instead, some of the silver and some of the copper soak into the material, giving an aged, partially rusted look.

This is intended to be used as a backdrop for art events. I'm currently working on some hangers that will compliment the screens so that I can hang up some of my work without taking up precious table-space.

Just think, if I win the contest, I can produce more of these....


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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I hope you won the contest! This is so cool looking for a gearhead's man cave.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea! For the next one, try walnut for the frame and use curly maple for the will look rich and contrast well.

    3 replies

    That's a good idea, and I've considered using nicer wood (these were pine and MDF), but the biggest problem is finding planks the right size and thickness.


    And the price too. That hardwood isn't cheap - but will be rich looking when done. It'll look awesome. It shouldn't be too hard to find the sizes, look at specialty hardwood stores. They'll have all lengths and widths.

    You can also use mortise and tenon joints for the frame - but they're tricky if you haven't done them before. OR you can use pocket screws which are really fast, and easy. You can also cover the holes with plugs too. For the grooves in the stiles/rails - you can use a router with a straight bit and a straight edge for a fence. This way provides a bit more control of the cut if you're having any quality/safety issues using a saw.


    The original design called for everything to be cut on a CNC router, so I could be sure of having complete accuracy.

    I have actually designed a layered frame so that the entire thing is self-correcting once I lay the panel in place. I just need to get around to testing it out.

    As it was, a friend of mine made a last minute change when he cut the dado grooves in the frame pieces. Kinda threw me for a minute.

    What I'd REALLY love to do is make the panels out of burled oak...that would be a sight to see! However, I doubt it would treat our router bits kindly, and I'd also need to find something thin enough. I just can't bring myself to plane down a perfectly good 1/2" board of beautiful wood, just so I can get a 1/4" panel out of it....


    Supercool design! Would be interesting to use individual panels backed with something like Synskin as screens or window or door panels...
    with Steampunk, Japanese, Arts & Crafts, Celtic or even typographic motifs.
    Looking forward to your future projects. :)

    1 reply

    I actually have many more screens being planned including Celtic knotwork.

    I've considered the shoji screen aspect, but these are really more for delineating a space, rather than separating a space.

    Love the mention of typography. I hadn't considered that until now....


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I hope to do a step by step at some point, but it's rather complicated.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, kindly! I wasn't planning on turning this into an Instructable, but someone mentioned that I should enter it in the Furniture Competition.

    Here's hoping....