Creating classroom furniture with children is one example of a successful scaffolded fabrication activity that can be an empowering experience for young children. This experience includes adults working alongside children (ages four to nine) to design and make their own furniture for a Fab Lab or Makerspace.
TEACHER NOTE: This lesson uses an open source chair design, the Five to Thirty Minute Chair from AtFAB, as our base.
Cardboard – We use 0.14 inch thick cardboard boxes but now have found a steady stream of recycled cardboard large Dominos pizza box tops which measure about 0.10 inch thick.
Wood – ½ inch birch plywood from Home Depot
Screws #8 1-⅛ inch coarse thread
Digital Fabrication Equipment Details
Software: Vector design software for laser cutting Inkscape, and Corel Draw. Design software for CNC Vcarve Pro Shopbot Edition
Digital Fabrication Equipment:
50 Watt Epilog Helix Laser Cutter bed size 24 x 18
ShopBot Desktop bed size 24 x 18
bit used 2 flute ¼ compression
Step One - Can we make our own chairs? Create a Cardboard Prototype
TEACHER NOTE: Before class, use the laser cutter to pre-cut the parts of a scaled down cardboard version of the chair designs. There should be more than enough of each piece so that all students can design their own unique chairs.
Essential Question: Can we make our own chairs?
Step Two - Create a CNC Iteration of Chair
Fab Lab Tester Notes
– You need to use exactly the right size wood for the template files; otherwise, they will not fit together. If you have other wood in stock, you can adjust the templates as needed.
– This lesson requires a significant amount of prep time before and between sessions when students will be actually cutting out the chairs on the ShopBot.
NGSS Engineering Design Standards
Practice 1: Asking questions and defining problems
Practice 2: Developing and using models
Practice 3: Planning and carrying out investigations
Practice 4: Analyzing and interpreting data
Practice 5: Using mathematics and computational thinking
Practice 6: Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Practice 7: Engaging in argument from evidence
Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Common Core Mathematics Standards
Common Core English Language Arts
K-2 Speaking and Listening Standards
SL.K.1, 1.1, 2.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
SL.K.3: Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
SL.K.5: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
SL.K.6: Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
Digital Fabrication Competencies: I Can Statements
Thank you for your fab contribution!